Robert Odom was born in the state of Tennessee in the year 1846, and immigrated to Hopkins County with his father in the year 1850. His father, Jesse Odom, settled nineteen miles southeast of Sulphur Springs and four miles west of Winsboro. The county was new and uninhabited; therefore Robert had not educational training. Growing up amid the wilds of the country, he was surrounded with all the environments common to a pioneer life. At the age of twenty-two years he met Miss Lucinda Lambdin, a Texas girl who was visiting friends in Mr. Odom’s section. He became attached to her at sight, and the result was marriage.
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By this union eight children were born to them. They are all living at this time. Six of them are married and live in Hopkins County. Mr. Odom now lives near Cumby, old Black Jack Grove. Lynch is his postoffice address. He is a well known and useful citizen of the county. He is a zealous and ardent advocate of education. Having been denied the benefit of educational advantages, he has studiously sought and striven to educate those dependent upon him. Therefore he has been a strong supporter of schools in every way possible. He and his family are members of the Presbyterian church. He has ever been moral, and religiously inclined, and has set this example through life. He is a kind-hearted, sympathetic gentleman and has the full confidence of all who know him. He relates an incident of a great revival of religion away back in the early fifties. This revival took place on the exact spot where Charley Taylor’s residence is located. Rev. Johnson, a Methodist circuit rider, from Upsher County, in passing the home of Mr. Odom’s father, left an appointment to preach at a given time.
Young Odom and a companion were sent out in all directions to inform the settlers of the appointment. The meeting continued for eleven days with astonishing results. Ben Elder, a Baptist minister, aided Rev. Johnson in conducting the services. The outgrowth of this great revival was the up building of the County Line Church, situated a couple of miles south of where this meeting was held. The people gathered from all directions and all sections of the country. They came in ox carts, in wagons, on horseback and on foot. Rev. Johnson closed an unusually solemn sermon with a powerful exhortation to every one present who wanted to escape hell and the awful groans and screams of the damned that were then burning in hell fire, and who wanted to meet him in heaven, to signify it by a clap of the hands and a shout of glory. It is said that when the signal was given the clap of hands and shout of glory sounded like a thunderbolt and was loud enough to waken the dead. This scene beggars description. The confusion and the great noise stampeded the horses and the oxen, put the dogs to fighting, and frightened what few Negroes were present out of their wits. The Negroes said: “De worl’ is shore comin’ to de end; let us all pray too.”
Preachers and people evidently believed in the reality of heaven and hell, and showed their faith by their works. There was no such thing as playing at religion with them. Whether a man shouted, danced, jumped, jerked or laughed in these religious exercises, it was the work of the Holy Spirit in him. The man who doubted that such things were produced by the Holy Spirit simply had to be close mouthed or he would be ostracized from society, abused by the preachers and bitterly persecuted by the whole country. How different in this day! People give close attention to what the preachers say, and care nothing for their actions in the pulpit. People are calling for less sounds and more sense from their preachers more mind and less muscle, in this day and generation. Such songs as “I’m on my journey Home,” “Lord, I want more religion,” do not have that electrical effect on an audience in this day of scientific thought, reading and understanding that they did fifty years ago. People do not suffer their emotions to overflow like an artesian well as of yore. They have learned that the application of common sense to all things pertaining to religious matters is the most effective and beneficial in the end.
Mr. Odom is not responsible for a pact of the foregoing statement.