Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Odolphus Ham Waddle (1851-1918)

From the Confederate Veteran, Volume XVIII, published in 1910.

   Born in Pulaski County, Kentucky on March 4, 1851, Odolphus Ham Waddle carved a successful career for himself as an attorney and civic leader, and in 1912 served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago. The son of William and Maria Ham Waddle, this oddly named Kentuckian received his schooling in his native county and went on to attend the Masonic College in Somerset, Kentucky.
  While still a young man Waddle decided upon a career in law, and in 1872 began the study of his profession under Judge Thomas Z. Morrow. Waddle was admitted to the bar the following year and later removed to Louisville to continue his study at that city's law school. After his graduation in 1874, he relocated back to Somerset and here established a law practice that would continue for the remainder of his life. In January 1875 Waddle married in Somerset to Mary Austin Hall, and this couple would later become the parents to nine children, who are listed as follows: Edwin Morrow (1876-1949), Robert Bruce, Katherine, Lucille, Grace, William, Andrew B., Benjamin L., and Stanley.
  Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, Odolphus Waddle built up a successful law practice in Somerset, and "rose high to the ranks of his profession", according to Connelly's History of Kentucky, Volume 5. This same work also notes that Waddle was a "participant in many political battles, though only once was he a candidate for important office, making a race on the democratic ticket for commonwealth attorney." For the majority of his public life Waddle was an avowed Democrat, but in 1896 changed his political stance and was afterward "affiliated as a Republican."
   In 1912 Waddle served as a member of the Kentucky delegation to the 1912 Republican National Convention in Chicago and is listed under the name "O.H. Waddle" in the Official Report of that convention. However, his service as a delegate is under scrutiny by me, as there happened to be another Odolphus Ham Waddle residing in Somerset, Kentucky at the time! This Odolphus (born in 1882 and died in 1962) was a lifelong Pulaski County resident and looks to be either a nephew or cousin of the man profiled here, and is buried in the same cemetery as our subject. Nicknamed "Dault", this second Odolphus would have been around 29 or 30 during the 1912 Republican Convention, perhaps a bit young to serve as a delegate. On the other side of the equation, Odolphus Ham Waddle (born in 1851) would have been around sixty at the time of the convention, and, seeing that he was a prominent lawyer and civic leader in Somerset for over thirty years, is the most likely candidate for the "O.H. Waddle" listed in the convention report below. If any possible descendants of either these men stumble across this posting here, I do hope you'll contact me with any information you might have on them.....you may be able to help clear up the confusion!!

   Despite having little information on his life, Odolphus Waddle is recorded as being a prominent figure in the local Masonic fraternity, as well as the Odd-Fellows lodge. The earlier mentioned History of Kentucky Vol. 5 notes that he died at a "hospital in Cincinnati" on December 29, 1918 at age 67. Waddle was later buried in the Somerset City Cemetery and is memorialized by a plaque in Somerset denoting that "his lasting monument is the graded schools of Somerset."

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