Robert O’Dell III, United Empire Loyalist

At Riverdale Historical Society, Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 6:30 pm

Announcements in the History of Canadian Science and Technology.

First posted Friday, September 23, 2022 / Yom shishi, 27 Elul, 5782.

By David Orenstein, Emeritus, Danforth CTI, Toronto

Last week I wrote here, that having seen Robert O’Dell’s talk on “Postal Cancellations” at the “November 5-6, 2021, CSTHA online Conference…. I thought that he would be a perfect fit for the Speakers’ Series of our local Riverdale Historical Society (RHS).”

It’s now set for Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 6:30 pm, EDT. Just a few days from now. (See the Links at the end of this post.)

If you had followed the link to “Robert’s Extended Biography from RHS”, in last week’s post, you might have noticed that it’s entitled “Robert O’Dell III, U.E.”

“U.E.” What’s that?

It’s a standard abbreviation for “United Empire Loyalist”. It denoted, originally, all those British subjects who remained loyal to the Crown, after the disloyal colonies where they lived, had risen in revolt to eventually become the United States of America. “U.E.” later, as it is now, became an inherited honour.

Many migrated to the loyal colonies of British North America, especially the mainland section of Nova Scotia (which became New Brunswick) and that portion of the Province of Québec along the upper St. Lawrence River and the lower Great Lakes (later Upper Canada, then Canada West, and now Ontario).

After I had first seen Robert’s bio and noted his U.E. status, I was on my front porch drinking a beer I had had delivered from Hamilton’s Collective Arts Brewery (something I’ve done since the beginning of the Pandemic) and reading one of my hefty volumes of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography / Dictionnaire biographique du Canada.

 It was Vol. VII, for Canadians who died between 1836 and 1850, and I came across the entry for William Franklin Odell (1774-1844), son of the Rev. Johnathan Odell, loyalist poet and scholar.

So, I wrote to Robert:

“Since you put ‘U.E.’ in your bio, I wonder if there’s a connection?

“Here’s the online version:

“Yours truly,



He replied:

“My ancestor was a loyalist named Jonathan Odell from New Brunswick.”

I answered:

“Dear Robert:

“Jonathan Odell, of course, is also in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography / Dictionnaire biographique du Canada. And here are his entries in both French and English.

«DBC / DCB, Fr/Eng, for Jonathan Odell:

“Yours truly,


Clearly, the DBC / DCB is an excellent resource for the study of Canadian History, including the History of Canadian Science and Technology.

But that’s another story!




Riverdale Historical Society Links:

  1. Riverdale Historical Society.

  1. RHS Notice of Robert’s Talk.

  1. Robert’s Extended Biography from RHS.

  1. RHS Sign-up to get on mailing list for Zoom link.

  1. Previous Robert Odell post. Posted September 16, 2022.


Dictionary of Canadian Biography / Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, Links:

 DBC / DCB Home page:

  1. “Odell” in DBC / DCB.

  1. Prince Pyotr (Peter) Kropotkin in DBC / DCB.

  1. William Logan (1st GSC Director) in DBC / DCB.

  1. “William Logan” Article in DBC / DCB. (fr./Eng.)