Collection Number: 04447

Collection Title: Odum Family Papers, 1955-1977

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.

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Size 1 foot of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)
Abstract Odum family of Robeson County, N.C., included Malcolm E. Odum (1884-1954), who raised tobacco, cotton, and corn as cash crops, and his daughters, who rented out shares to tenants after their father's death. The family sold their farm in 1986. Correspondence, financial and legal items, notes, and other material relating to the fifty-acre farm of the Odum family. Records are arranged by fiscal year; this arrangement scheme was established by Estelle Odum Bullock, who managed the farm accounts from 1955 through 1982. Annual statements provide detailed documentation of the farm's income and expenses for the year. Check register volumes include detailed descriptive information indicating why each check was written. Other noteworthy items include a drawing of the farm and scattered correspondence and debentures reflecting the Odums' stock in the Farmers Cooperative Exchange, Inc., Raleigh, N.C.
Creator Odum (Family : Robeson County, N.C.)
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Odum Family Papers #4447, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Marshall Bullock of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in May 1986.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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William ("Billy") Bullock Odum/Odom was born in Marion County, South Carolina, to Archibald Odum (1792-1839) and his wife, Martha Bullock (1792-1872).

Archibald Odum was a member of a large family that had moved from Edgecombe County, North Carolina, in the 1740s to the western section of Bladen County that was partitioned off to form Robeson County in 1787. The Odum family was one of the large landholders and small slaveowners engaged in farming and in the naval stores industry. Martha Bullock was the daughter of Charles Bullock (d. 1827), a native of Sussex County, Virginia, who by 1770 had moved to Bladen (now Robeson) County where he became a prosperous planter.

Because of the frequency with which he bought and sold land in Bladen and Robeson counties and in Marion and Horry counties in South Carolina, it is thought that Archibald was involved in the naval stores industry, buying timberland, harvesting it, and then selling it. His Marion County, S. C., plantation appears in the 1825 atlas of South Carolina by Robert Mills. Shortly after his son William's birth, Archibald purchased a tract of land near St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in northern Robeson County where he was living at the time of his death in 1839 (according to family tradition, he was killed during a deer drive). A number of Archibald and Martha Odum's descendants still live in St. Pauls, a small town that developed in the twentieth century on the former Odum farm.


William Odum married Susannah Prevatte (1827-1879), daughter of James Prevatte (d. 1862), a prominent farmer in the Raft Swamp community about six miles northwest of the county seat of Lumberton. Also in 1849, William purchased 126 acres of his father-in-law's farm for $100 to establish as his own homesite.


A. S. McKay of Richmond County sold to William B. Odum for $80, 80 acres on east side of Holly Swamp..adjoined property of Odum and James Prevatte.


James Prevatte deeded 4 acres of land for the site of the community school and for the Raft Swamp Baptist Church, of which he and his daughter Susannah Odum were founding members. Today, the church remains the "family" church and is the site of the Odum Annual Reunion each October. The church cemetery contains the graves of William and Susannah, and those of many of their descendants.


Ernest Malcolm Odum born to William and Susannah.


Charity E. Prevatte sold to William B. Odum for $60 her interest in 1/3 of 120 acres claimed by Thomas Prevatte adjoining land of William B. Odum (Thomas was Odum's brother-in-law; it is not clear whether Charity was Thomas's sister or mother).


Thomas J. Jarves, Governor of North Carolina, sold to W. B. Odum for 12 1/2 cents per acre, 50 acres on the west side of Raft and B? swamps.


Against the wishes of his father, Ernest married Olive Jane Lowe (d. 1929), daughter of the station master at Lowe, a small railroad station near the Raft Swamp community. Because of this marriage, William disinherited Ernest.


Jacob C. Baxley and wife Sarah sold to William B. Odum for $130, 43 acres on southwest side of White Oak Branch adjoining Odum's land.


William Odum died. Ernest began to purchase from his brothers and sisters their various shares of his father's farm, and acquired most of it by 1900. In the meantime, Ernest and Olive Jane became the parents of Mary Susan, Malcom Ernest (1884-1954), Cornelius, Berry, John David, Archie, Alexander, Lawrence, Howard, and Bernice.


Malcolm Ernest (known to family and friends as "Macom") married Mary Eliza Stokes (1891-1926) of McColl, South Carolina. Ernest gave Malcolm, his oldest son, a farm of slightly less than 50 acres taken from the original 1849 tract of 180 acres. The farm was divided by the old Red Springs Road (now N. C. state road 1521), and was bounded on the west by Holly or Holy Swamp, a small tributary of the Raft Swamp. William Odum's antebellum dwelling still stood on this 50-acre tract, but was used as a tobacco barn. Malcolm and Eliza built a rambling farmhouse with a wrap-around porch across from William's house, but their house burned circa 1930 and was replaced by the present two-story, bungalow-style dwelling.

Malcolm and Eliza were the parents of six daughters and one son, of whom four lived to adulthood:

Lillian Belle (b. 1912), married Dr. Frank B. McGrath; lives in Lumberton.

Eunice Catherine (b. 1914), married Wilton Smith; lives in Lumberton.

Marie Judson (b. 1918), married Wallace Wishart; lives in Lumberton.

Mary Estelle (1920-1982), married James F. Bullock; lived in Fuquay Varina, N. C. James was the great-great-great grandson of Charles Bullock, his great-great-grandfather Richard Bullock being the brother of Martha Bullock Odum, the wife of Archibald and mother of William.


Malcolm Odum died from the results of a gun accident. For forty-four years he had raised tobacco, cotton, and corn as cash crops in addition to other garden crops to sustain a self-sufficient farm. He was aided in the farmwork by a black tenant family that lived in a small house near his, by his four daughters, and, during the summer months, by his numerous nephews who lived in the community and in St. Pauls and in Raeford.

The farm was inherited in equal shares by Malcolm's daughters who rented it on shares to Hilda and Wilby Tyner; Hilda was the daughter of Malcolm's brother Berry. After the Tyners left the farm, it was rented to Mr. Carson Paul, a Lumbee Indian, who proved to be an excellent tenant. After his retirement, the farm was rented to Otto Recher, who was less than satisfactory as a tenant. The sisters then rented the farmland to their first cousin Donald Odum, son of Malcolm's brother Lawrence who lived on the adjoining farm. The farmhouse and the tenant house were rented to various tenants, usually black or Indian families. For most of the period from 1955 to 1982, the farm accounts were managed by Estelle Bullock; after her death in 1982, the books were taken over by her sister Lilliam McGrath.


The surviving sisters, Lillian, Marie, and Eunice, and the children of Estelle (Marshall, Mark, and Mike Bullock), sold the farm out of the family. By this time, most of the crop allotments had been sold to the Farm Bank with the exception of the soybean and corn allotments, and a tobacco allotment of less than three acres.

Some recurring names in the accounts:

Tyner, Wilby and Hilda--First tenants of the farm.

Odum, L. P.--Lawrence Prevatte, brother of Malcolm. Wife, Lucy. Children, Donald and Janet. Lived on the farm adjoining Malcolm.

Odum, Howard or H. M.--Youngest brother of Malcolm. Lived in the Ernest Odum homeplace adjoining farm of Lawrence. Wife, Annie.

Odum, Berry or B. E.--Brother of Malcolm. Father of Hilda Tyner. Wife, Annie.

Tyner Oil Co., Red Springs--Owned by Ted Tyner (his grand-mother was a Odum) whose wife Marcella, was a daughter of Archie Odum, brother of Malcolm.

Biggs, K. M. Co.--Hardware and farm supply store, corporate farmer in Lumberton. Once possessed the largest tobacco allotment (1,000 + acres) in North Carolina.

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Correspondence, bills, receipts, accounts, notes, insurance forms, a drawing of the farm, check registers (volumes 1-4), and other material, documenting the operation of the Odum family's fifty acre farm. Arrangement is by fiscal year from December through November; this arrangement was developed by Estelle Odum Bullock, who managed the farm accounts from 1955 to 1982 after M. E. Odum's death. Most folders have an annual yearly statement, providing detailed documentation of the farm's income and expenses for the year. The check register volumes include detailed descriptive information indicating why each check was written. Other items worthy of note are a drawing of the farm (folder 7), and scattered throughout is correspondence and debentures reflecting the Odum's stock in the Farmers Cooperative Exchange, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Odum Family Papers, 1955-1977.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Volumes, 1955-1957, 1964-1971.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Connie Cartledge, with processing assistance by Angela Abbatiello, August 1986

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, January 2010

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