The Descendants of
James Odum
Mary Thomas
Bulloch County, Georgia
1799 - 1847

James Odum married Mary Thomas in Bulloch County, GA, on February 27, 1817. James is said to have been a farmer and lived all his life in Bulloch County. However, I have not been able to identify James' parents nor the parents of Mary Thomas. Both James and Mary were probably born in the late 1790's.

James first appears on the 1820 Bullock County, GA, federal census, but Mary is not shown in the household, nor is she listed separately. The 1830 and 1840 censuses for Bulloch County show no record of James, but Mary is shown as the head of the household in both. I have found no records regarding any divorce, death or burial of James Odum, nor any evidence of what happened to him. On May 2, 1841, Mary Odum married Andrew Kicklighter, Sr., of Bullock County. Mary died between then and September 6, 1849, at which time an entry in the Bulloch County court minutes reports her as deceased. Mary's place of burial is not known.

I have been able to identify four children connected with Mary Odum through the Bulloch County Common School Fund records. These records represent bills submitted by individual teachers to the county and list their students (including birth dates and parents or households) for given periods of time, usually three months. The records began in 1841 and continued for an unknown time. The available compilation of these records does not list specific time periods with the identified children. Mary Odum's children are listed in these records and James Odum is not mentioned. The four children identified with Mary Odum were either listed under her name or that of her second husband, Andrew Kicklighter, Sr. These are:

  1. Leonard Odum, born 20 Nov 1826, also shown as 30 Nov 1825
  2. Isaac Odum, born 28 April 1828, also listed as "Oscar" with same birth date
  3. Godfrey Odum, born 22 June 1832
  4. Henry Odum, born 10 Sept 1838, also shown as 10 Aug 1838

The 1840 census shows six children in Mary's household. The two additional children are probably:

  1. Eliza Lavicy Odum, born Sept 1825
  2. Eveline Odum, born about 1834

The relationship of the Kicklighter family with both the Odum and the Thomas families is important. Two of Andrew Kicklighter, Sr.'s sons married Thomas women: Jesse Kicklighter married Vicey Thomas June 10, 1823, and Andrew Kicklighter, Jr. married Nancy Thomas November 11, 1824. The relationship between Mary, Vicey and Nancy Thomas is not known. The 1830 census shows Mary Odum (with 3 children and no husband) living adjacent to William Thomas, indicative perhaps that as a single parent she moved to be near her parent(s) or sibling. There were only a few Thomas families in Bulloch County for both the 1820 and 1830 censuses: two William Thomas and two John Thomas families in 1820 and John, Ryall and William Thomas families in 1830. The decrease in the females in these households between 1820 and 1830 is such that I have not been able to determine which of the familes from which Nancy and Vicey may have come. It is probable that Mary is a sister of at least one of the other two.

Also, Eliza Lavicy Odum, thought to be Mary's daughter, married Frederick Kicklighter (another of Andrew Sr.'s sons) March 18, 1841. This was just two months before Mary married Andrew, Sr.

A final Kicklighter connection comes after Mary's death in 1849. The 1850 census shows Mary's sons Henry (age 13), Leonard (age 22), and Leonard's wife living in the same household in Liberty County, GA. Eveline Odum, age 16, was then living in the household of Henry Kicklighter (and wife), two households away from Leonard and Henry Odum. Since there were no Odums (or spelling variations) in Liberty County on the 1840 census, Henry and Eveline could well have followed Leonard there from Bulloch County after their mother's death. Also, there were no other Odums (or spelling variations) on the 1850 Liberty County census.

Leonard's younger brother, Isaac Odum, was living with his wife in Wayne County, GA, in 1850. The 1850 census shows his as the only Odum (or any spelling variation) family then in Wayne County.

Mary's remaining Odum child, Godfrey, was accounted for after her death in the Bulloch County Court minutes. On May 7, 1849, the Bulloch County court appointed James Rimes guardian for "Godfrey Odum, the minor orphan child of Mary Odum, deceased." A year later, on the 1850 census, Godfrey was listed as a farmer in the household of Ezekiel Clifton and his wife, Sarah Clifton, in Emmanuel County, GA.

The 1820-1840 Odum census information with my best guess as to the identities is as follows:

1820 (James)

Age Group >> Under 10 10 to 16 16 to 25 26 to 45 over 45
Males: -- -- 1
-- --
Females: 1
-- -- -- --

1830 (Mary)

Age Group >> Under 5 5 to 10 10 to 15 15 to 20 20 to 30 30 to 40 40 to 50
Males: 1
-- -- -- -- --
Females: -- 1
-- -- -- 1

1840 (Mary)

Age Group >> Under 5 5 to 10 10 to 15 15 to 20 20 to 30 30 to 40 40 to 50
Males: 1
-- -- -- --
Females: -- 1
-- -- -- 1

Based on the above, all indications are that James Odum died before 1830.  The increase of 3 children (Godfrey, Eveline?, Henry) between 1830 and 1840 with no adult male in the household is noted. In an 1895 biographical article, Godfrey Odum said that James Odum "was a farmer who lived in Bulloch County until he died," so there is no obvious occupational explanation for James' absence on the 1830 and 1840 census records. In that same article, Godfrey said that James and Mary Odum had 10 children, 8 of whom lived to be grown, and further confirmed that his mother was the same Mary Odum who later married Andrew Kicklighter, Sr. I have not found any explanation for the descrepency between the number of children reported by Godfrey Odum and the children shown on census records.

At some point after 1841, the Common School Fund records show both Godfrey and Henry Odum were in the household of Calvin Rushing in Bulloch County and Godfrey is noted as "illegitimate." Calvin Rushing did not marry until June 1838 when he married Sarah Nevil, and it is unknown if he is the father of any of Mary Odum's children.

Eliza and Eveline Odum are not mentioned in the Common School Fund records.

Mary Thomas Odum Kicklighter, had one child by her second husband, Andrew Kicklighter, Sr. That child was Mary Magdalene Kicklighter, born 10 Dec. 1841. Andrew Sr. died in Bulloch County sometime before January 1863, which was when his will was filed for probate. He named his children in his will, including Mary Magdalene. No Odum children were mentioned or provided for in the will.

After 1850:

  • Eliza Lavicy Odum and her husband, Frederick Kicklighter, moved to Bradford County, Florida.
  • Leonard Odum and his wife, Sarah Dukes (or Dykes), moved to Volusia County, Florida.
  • Isaac Odum and his wife, Elizabeth Warner, disappeared after 1850 but their son, Leonard, married Martha Harrison and stayed in Wayne County, Georgia.
  • Godfrey Odum married Rebecca Moody of Liberty County and settled in Wayne County.
  • Eveline Odum, also known as Emaline, married William Harvey of Bryan County about 1855. They moved to Appling County and finally settled in Wayne County.
  • Henry Odum married Rosamond Summer, moved to Pierce County, and finally settled in Wayne County.
  • Mary Magdalene Kicklighter was in Andrew Sr.'s household on the 1850 and 1860 census. She married James Harvey about 1861 and they settled in Bryan County, Georgia.