Jonathan Odell

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Jonathan Odell, New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, NB

Jonathan Odell (25 September 1737 – 25 November 1818) was a Loyalist poet who lived during the American Revolution.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Odell was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1737 to John and Temperance Odell. He graduated from Princeton University (at the time known as the College of New Jersey) in 1754. Although he had studied medicine, instead of becoming a doctor he joined the Church of England ministry. As a minister he preached at parish priest at Burlington and Mount Holly, both in New Jersey.

The American Revolution[edit]

When the revolution broke out Odell became a strong loyalist and wrote poetry promoting the loyalist cause. He was brought before the New Jersey Provincial Congress for such actions and on July 20, 1776, he was ordered to sign a loyalty oath and remain within eight miles of the Burlington County courthouse. In December of that year, he fled to New York, with the help of local citizens, and served as an administrator and satiric poet-propagandist for the British. After the war in 1784 he emigrated to New Brunswick, Canada, where he received the post of provincial secretary as a reward for his loyalty.[2] He remained in New Brunswick and died in Fredericton.

His daughter Lucy Anne is buried in the Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

Odell was portrayed by George Sanders as a highly intelligent but cynical loyalist in the 1955 Hollywood film The Scarlet Coat.


  1. ^ Edelberg, Cynthia. Jonathan Odell, Loyalist Poet of the American Revolution. Duke University Press, 1987. (ISBN 0822307162)
  2. ^ "Jonathan Odell Collection, 1750-1780: Finding Aid C1151". Archived 2010-07-14 at the Wayback Machine Accessed December 5, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Edited by Winthrop Sargent. The Loyal Verses of Joseph Stansbury and Doctor Jonathan Odell Relating to the American Revolution. J. Munsell, 1860.
A digitized copy of this book is available on Google Books. (link)

External links[edit]