James Odiorne's Biography (Photos)
James Odiorne, son of Ebenezer and Sarah Barrett Cunningham, was born in Malden, Massachusetts on Dec 26, 1816. He was brought up in the stationary and book business in Boston, Massachusetts but relinquished it and studied medicine. Because of his familiy's financial position, he was enabled to have the best of professional education
He married Miss Sarah Frances Faulkner of Orange County, Virginia. The ceremony was performed in Hawesville, Kentucky on Nov. 11, 1844. Dr. Odiorne settled in Illinois, and was engaged there several years in the practice of his profession. Later, he moved to Kentucky, and continued to practice medicine. While he lived in Bewleyville, Kentucky, he was elected Bishop of Royal Arch Masons. In 1857, Dr. Odiorne and his family moved to Texas and settled at Moulton in Lavaca County. One year later, they moved to Hopkinsville in Gonzales County where they lived two years.
Moving to Blanco County in 1860, he brought with him a large flock of registered sheep which he had moved from Kentucky. In partnership with Mr. Thomas Morgan, he owned about seven thousand acres of land on Miller Creek and owned a home on McCall Creek. The next year, 1861, he was elected County Commissioner for the central portion of Blanco County. he lived there until his wife's death, February 25, 1863. Soon afterward, he moved to Blanco, where he set up practice and owned a drug store in conjunction with J.D. Rust. In December 1863, he was elected Worshipful Master of Blanco Lodge 216, A.F. & A.M. of Blanco, Texas.
While serving as a surgeon in the Civil War at Ft. Mason, Texas, his children were in the care of the two older daughters, Ida Cunningham Odiorne and Virigina Faulkner Odiorne and a negro woman who lived with them. After the war, he resumed his Blanco County practice, living in Blanco.
Dr. Odiorne was appointed to the office of Chief Justice of Blanco County August 28, 1865 (this office now known as County Judge) by Andrew J. Hamilton, Provisional Governor of the State of Texas. He received his Commission and took oath of office on August 28, 1865 and served until elections could be held in 1866. In the seventies, he removed to his McCall Creek home and had ranching interestes in sheep, cattle and horses but continued his practice in the Blanco area or anywhere he was called. No call for assistance, whether for alms or professional assistance, was ever refused by Dr. Odiorne.
In 1881 he moved to Johnson City and established a practice with office and drug store adjoining the general store of W.D. thompson. Within a short time he acquired a printing press and located it on the east side of the square near the site of the present printing press. The paper published was "The Mountain Echo" and the editor was A.T. Maupin. Believe it or not, the subscription rte in 1887 was $1.50 per year.
On the night of Monday, July 4, 1887, his drugstore and its contents were consumed by fire which was caused by an explosion of alcohol while Dr. Odiorne was compounding medicine by the light of a kerosene lamp which had no chimney. He suffered untold agonies for more than twenty-four hours before death's release the following night, July 5. He was buried with Masonic Honors in the Miller Creek Cemetery, July 6, 1887.