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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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ROBERT ODENWELDER, who is well known throughout Northampton County as an influential citizen of Forks Township, is a member of a family long connected with the history of this county. He is the descendant, in the fourth generation, of the founder of the family in America, who emigrated from his native Germany and settled in what is now known as Palmer Township. The parents of our subject, Jacob B. and Mary A. Odenwelder, were natives of Northampton County, where the father followed the occupation of an agriculturist in Palmer Township until his death. A man of strict integrity and kind heart, he had a large circle of friends in this community, and was frequently chosen to represent his fellow-citizens in official capacities.

Born in this county September 28, 1835, the subject of this biography was educated in the public schools of Palmer Township and in a private school in Easton. After leaving school he was engaged in teaching for a short time. January 27, 1859, he was united in marriage with Miss Catherine A. Ott, a native of this county and a daughter of Samuel Ott. Of the six children born to this union but one is living, Mary A., wife of E. J. Richard.

For several years, in connection with farming, Mr. Odenwelder also carried on a mercantile business. In the spring of 1884 he moved to Forks Township, where he has since made his home. As a farmer he has been very successful, and also met with success as a dealer in agricultural implements, in which he was engaged for a time. In politics he is a Republican, and upon that ticket has been elected to numerous local positions. He has served as Overseer of Roads for his district, and also filled the office of School Director of Palmer Township. It was largely through his influence that macadamized roads were secured in the township of Forks. In religious belief he is a member of the Third Street Reformed Church of Easton.

The present estimable wife of our subject was Mrs. Sabina Sandt, daughter of Charles J. Messinger, formerly a resident of Forks Township. She was born in this township October 27, 1838, and her parents, Charles J. and Nancy (Bonten) Messinger, were also natives of Northampton County. It is said that the first representative of the family in this locality was her great-grandfather Messinger, who was a pioneer of Forks Township. Her father for many years engaged in farming, also served as a Director in the Northampton County Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and was a man of prominence. In politics he was a Democrat. He was a member of the Board of School Directors of Forks Township and for several years was its Secretary. In religious belief he was connected with the Reformed Church in Forks Township. Of his children the following survive: Sarah A., wife of Aaron Dewalt, of Forks Township; Josiah, a resident of Palmer Township; and Sabina. The latter was first married to Stephen Sandt, and by that union became the mother of two children, namely: Matilda, wife of Harry Rolling, and John C. Mr. Sandt died in October, 1867, in the faith of the Lutheran Church, to which he had belonged for many years. Mrs. Odenwelder is a lady of amiable disposition and many graces of character, and with our subject occupies a high place in the confidence and regard of the people.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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