Martha Amy Odell

Name: Martha Amy Lee Odell
Born: 12 October 1849 / Dallas, Oregon
Died: 22 April 1941 / Portland, Oregon
Parents: Nicholas Lee & Sarah Hopper Lee
Spouse: John Albert Odell
Married: 31 May 1866 / Dallas, Oregon
  • Odell (Infant) (d. 1868)
  • Frank W. Odell (1870 – 1955)
  • Albert Lee Odell (1880 – 1967)
  • Sara Lulu Odell Humphrey (1882 – 1962)

Martha Amy Lee Odell

Martha Amy Lee Odell was born in Dallas, Oregon on October 12, 1849. Martha was born ten years prior to Oregon achieving statehood.

Martha’s father, Nicholas Lee, was a prominent Methodist clergyman, Cooper (wooden barrel and cask maker), and dry goods merchant in nearby Dallas, Oregon. He and his wife, Sarah Hopper Lee, came to Oregon in 1847 overland via the southern route, wintering in Eugene. The family first settled close to Monmouth, where Martha’s older brother (and prominent politician) Joseph Lee was born. In 1849, the family settled on a Donation Land Claim 2.5 miles south of Dallas where Martha and an additional five Lee children were born. Nicholas Lee was a Methodist preacher in Polk County for 25 years. Nicholas Lee also helped found and served on the Board of Trustees for the LaCreole Academy, a liberal arts college located in Dallas, Oregon.

Martha married John Albert Odell in May of 1866. Given that they both belonged to families with strong ties to the Methodist Church, it is possible if not likely that they met at one of the popular Camp Meetings or some other Church-related activity/affiliation.

In January of 1868, Martha bore a son who, sadly, died shortly after his birth. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Odell Pioneer Cemetery. Martha and John went on to have three other children, all of whom survived to adulthood.

Martha Odell was a member of Dayton’s Naomi Rebekah Lodge. Service organizations such as the Rebekahs (the female branch of the Odd Fellows) were a popular way for women and men of the era to socialize and provide service to the community. Martha was the oldest surviving charter member of Dayton’s Namoi Rebekah Lodge when she died at the age of 91.

John Albert Odell died in 1918, 23 years before Martha. After his death, Martha lived first with her daughter Sarah, and then with her son Frank.

Martha Amy Lee Odell was the last recorded burial in the Odell Pioneer Cemetery.

Descendants of Nicholas and Sarah Lee Reunion, 1921:

Sunday Oregonian, 26 June, 1921

Several Odells are pictured in this photograph; Martha Amy Lee Odell is in the second row, 6th person from the left.


Mrs. Martha Amy Odell, 91, of McMinnville died at her home, Tuesday, April 22, after a six months illness. She was born in Dallas on October 12, 1849. John Albert Odell, whom she married in 1866, preceded her in death.

She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Sarah Humphrey of Ventura, California, two sons, Frank W. of McMinnville and Albert L. of Portland, two sisters, Mrs. J. W. Bean of Ventura, California, and Mrs. V. A. Williams of Washington, D. C.

Services are at Whitfield’s McMinnville Funeral Home, Saturday, April 26, at 2:30 P.M., Rev. C. C. Barnes officiating. Internment will be at Odell Cemetery.

– Telephone Register, April 24, 1941

Capital Journal, 26 Apr 1941, p.10

Do you have any information about Martha Amy Lee Odell? Or, do you love researching and would be willing to donate your time to the Odell Pioneer Cemetery Research Project? If so, please contact:
Reference: Lang, H.O., History of the Willamette Valley. Portland, Or: Himes & Lang,1885, p.680 | Evans, Elwood, History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington, vol. 2. Portland, Or: North Pacific History company, 1889, p.425 | | 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 United States Federal Census | Oregon, County Marriage Records, 1851-1975 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. | Oregon State Library; 1966-1970 Death Index; Reel Title: Oregon Death Index A-L; Year Range: 1931-1941 | Early Oregonians Index, 1800-1860 | U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.