Richard Odeon/Odom/Odium- Will the real one step forward?
- I am a participant in the Odom DNA study and find myself, along with
four others, in a very distinct subgroup compared to the remaining 60
participants. As I am a proven descendent of William Odeon I whose
will was proven in Norfolk Co.,VA in 1662, through his son William II,
this would seem to place the individuals who claim descent from
Richard Odeon, the younger son of William I, in a real quandry. I
would like to offer a possible explanation in this issue.
Those of you who claim descent from Richard usually cite the 1728/29
will in Chowan County, NC which lists Richard Odeon/Odom/Odium with a
wife Anne and children (sons)Richard, John,Jacob,Aaron,Abraham
(daughters)Ann,Sarah,Elizabeth,Jane and granddaughter Ann Vann.
Numerous genealogies trace back to this Richard Odeon. Even Mrs.
Hollowell's listings wherein she had the original wills of William
Odeon and my line state the same. However, I maintain that there are
some basic incongruities in this assumption.
First, there were four adult Richard Odeons/Odoms living concurrently
prior to 1708 in the rivers of "Olde Albemarle" or early North
Carolina. Two were fathers named Richard and two were sons of these
fathers and all were adults.
Secondly, the often cited and farfetched age figures given for the
1728/1729 Richard are not believable for that time and place.
Third, and most poignant. most of the early records of lower Virginia
perished in a courthouse fire in 1734 so there will never be "proof"
for some of these questions.
The "other" Richard first shows up on a will proven in Bath County
(later Beaufort County) NC in 1708/09. Richard Odeon also appears as
Oden in the will. Bath was originally part of Pamlico Precinct and was
the "newest" of the four precincts of Albemarle, being formed as a
county in 1696. It was settled primarily by settlers of lower
Virginia. This Richard listed a wife Elenor and sons William, Richard,
John, Asa, and Charles. Charles was apparently the eldest as he
received his father's plantation there in Bath county. However,
William received (and this is significant) "my land in Virginia
whereon I formerly lived".
The wife "Elinor Oden" was still living in 1715 as she appears on a
corn tax list as "widow Oden". Her will is listed in the Will Book 2
(1712-1722) of Beaufort County although I have not actually seen it.
I submit that this may more likely be the "real" Richard, son of
Let's look at the age issue. There are some incredible claims in
various genealogies for the Richard of 1728/1729. Some, and there are
many who slavishly copy these dates, claim he was born 1625. This
would of course, place him at age 103 on his deathbed. This sort of
advanced age is rare even now and in a region of rivers and swamps at
that time, where malaria was rampant and the cause unknown, it is not
believable. Real longevity in those regions and at the time was not
usual.In fact, almost an impossibility. We know that William I's will
listed Richard a minor, either age 17 or under age 17 in 1662.
Therefore, he could not have been born before 1645. Even that date
would make him 83 in 1728. Very unlikely.On the other hand, the
Richard Odeon of Bath (Beaufort) County would have been 63 or under at
the time of his death in 1708. This is more realistic and probable for
the sone of William Odeon I. I would also point out the fact that
this Richard named a son William whereas the 1728 Richard did not.
(though an early death for a William in that family is not impossible)
I don't expect that this will solve the quandry, especially since the
early records are gone for lower Virginia and I have not spelled out
all the entries that I have in the interest of brevity. But I am
putting my money on the Richard of 1708 as the true son of William I.