Charles M. O'Donel
b. 1860, d. 20 December 1933
- Charles M. O'Donel was born in 1860 in County Mayo, Ireland.
- He married Elizabeth Pollard Ellerbe, daughter of George Herbert Ellerbe and Virginia Scott Lee, on 23 February 1927 in Denver, Colorado, with C. H. Brady officiating.
- Charles M. O'Donel and Elizabeth Pollard Ellerbe appeared in the US federal census of 1 April 1930 in Chavez, San Miguel County, New Mexico. Also in the household were Charles daughters from an earlier marriage, Louisa Nuala (age 19) and Elizabeth (17).
- He was employed as manager of a ranch farm, according to the 1930 census.
- Charles M. O'Donel died on 20 December 1933 in Bell Ranch, San Miguel County, New Mexico.
- His wife Elizabeth Pollard Ellerbe became a widow at his death.
- From the guide to the Charles M. O'Donel Papers, 1860-1978 (bulk 1919-1935), University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research:
Charles M. O'Donel, ranch manager, was born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1860. Following his education "on the continent, he graduated from Sandhurst Military College, Britain's "West Point." O'Donel resigned a position as captain in the British army to come to the United States with his brother, Manus. They arrived in New Orleans; Charles continued on to Texas, where he started working as a cowboy in 1885.
O'Donel arrived at the Bell Ranch on June 2, 1898, as general manager, succeeding Arthur J. Tisdall who had died 2 months earlier. Shortly after O'Donel's arrival, the Bell Ranch was bought by the Red River Valley Company. O'Donel operated the ranch primarily as a cow and calf ranch, with the priority of continually improving the quality of the herd. For most of his tenure, O'Donel had the opportunity to shape policy and develop his own interests, essentially molding the operations of the Bell Ranch. He is credited with using technology and science to turn the Bell into a forward-looking, well-planned modern cattle operation.
Charles M. O'Donel was active in local and national livestock related organizations. He served as president of the New Mexico Cattle and Horse Growers Association from 1924-1926. He was a member of the American Cattle Growers Association, the National Live Stock Association, and the American National Live Stock Association (ANLSA). O'Donel was elected president of ANLSA in 1926, but had to step down in 1927 because of failing health (O'Donel suffered from sciatica).
O'Donel was married three times. His first wife died of complications related to childbirth shortly after he began work at the Bell Ranch. In 1908, he married Louise Harral of New Orleans. They had two daughters, Nuala and Bette. The family maintained a second house in Denver, where his wife and children would live during the school year. After Louise's death, he married Bettie Ellerbe of Denver, CO.
In 1932, Charles O'Donel retired from the Bell Ranch, but stayed on as vice president of the Red River Valley Company. Philip C. Garrett replaced him as manager, under an unwritten arrangement in which O'Donel would run the office and Garret would manage the outdoor operations. Garrett's tenure was short. He was succeeded by Albert Mitchell, who managed the Bell Ranch from January 1, 1933, until the Red River Valley Company sold it in 1946. O'Donel died at the headquarters of the Bell Ranch on Dec. 20, 1933.
- Last Edited: 14 Sep 2015