HON. DANIEL WELDON ODELL. It is a notable fact that the lawyer figures more prominently in public life than any other one class of citizens. The reason is evident and needs no explanation here, for the qualities which would fit one for successful practice—analytical power, keen discernment and logical reasoning—also equip him for the mastery of the important questions relating to the welfare of county, state and nation. Mr. Odell, practicing at the bar of Cleburne, has gained a large clientage and in public life has wielded a wide influence, various public honors having been conferred upon him.
He is a native of Crockett, Houston county, Texas, and a son of Judge J. M. and Arabella (Murchison) Odell. The father was born in Tennessee, in 1832, and came to Texas, locating in Houston county, which was his home until 1871. He then removed to Cleburne, where he has lived since that time, and he served here upon the bench. His wife, also living, was born in Mississippi.
Hon. Daniel W. Odell was a young lad when his parents came to Cleburne and in the public and private schools of this city he acquired his education. He took up the study of law in the office of Crane & Ramsey, the partners being Hon. M. M. Crane and Judge W. F. Ramsey, constituting one of the strong law firms of the Cleburne bar and after thorough preliminary reading he was admitted to the bar in 1892. Here he has won a creditable place as a member of the legal fraternity, having manifested strength in argument, strong logic in his personal force and thorough familiarity with the principles of law involved.
Mr. Odell has also figured prominently in political circles and was the Democratic nominee of the legislature in 1892. In 1894 he was elected county attorney and was re-elected in 1896, but resigned in 1897 and the following year was chosen to represent his district in the state senate. In 1900 he was a delegate at large to the Democratic convention at Kansas City, where W. J. Bryan was nominated for the presidency, and in 1902 and again in 1904 he was a member of the Democratic party. In the state senate he served as president pro tem, was a member of judiciary committee No. 1, chairman of the committee of state affairs and a member of other important committees. He took an active part in much constructive legislation and was interested in the various questions which came up for settlement, giving to each his earnest consideration and then supporting or opposing with force, as he though best for the interests of the state. He became most widely known perhaps through his opposition to the payment of money under the Hogg fee bill. Returning to his home he resumed his practice of law as a member of the firm of Odell, Phillips & Johnson and they have a large and important general practice.
Mr. Odell was married to Miss Birdie C. Murchison, whose parents came from eastern Texas to Fort Worth, and they now have three children, Arabella, Mary and Weldon. Mr. Odell is a man of dignified demeanor, modest and unostentatious, but his ability is widely recognized in the liberal law practice accorded him and the public honors that have been conferred upon him.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 164.