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Oden papers

Identifier: MS 0178


This collection contains the papers of Benjamin Oden, a tobacco merchant and landowner of Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County, Maryland. Earliest materials show the conditions of Anglo-American trade, and subsequent items concern land sales and acquisitions; tobacco sales and cultivation; slaves and slave management; banking; and family matters.


  • 1755-1836


Conditions Governing Access

Public use restricted to microfilm: see Manuscripts Department microfilm collection Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations, Reels 7 and 8.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

Benjamin Oden (1762-1836) began operations in Prince George's County as a business agent for Stephen West, Jr. (1727-1790), eventually marrying two of West's daughters and acquiring substantial lands in his own right. The home plantation and a store Oden owned were in Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County.


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Language of Materials



This collection is divided into series A-F and is arranged chronologically within each series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of the collection was originally probably part of the Walter Bowie Collection (MS 0086), donated by Mrs. Bowie in July 1941. Eleven letters were purchased from the Carnegie Book Shop on October 22, 1959.

Related Materials

MS 2380, Benjamin Oden collection, 1766-circa 1900

Scope and Contents

The collection is divided into six series:

Series A: Business Papers of Stephen West and Miscellaneous Plats and Accounts

Among thse papers is a series of letters, 1772-1775, from William Manduit, a London merchant. Other letters are from Daniel Dulany, Manduit, Wright & Co.'s agent in Maryland, and from John Hobson, West's London partner. The letters illustrate the strained conditions of Anglo-American commerce just before the Revolution.

Series B: Land Documents of Stephen West, Benjamin Oden, and Others

Includes documents and correspondence, 1818-1821 and 1828, about disputed property in Wood County, (West) Virginia, inherited from Stephen West.

Series C: General and Business Correspondence of Benjamin Oden

Many of these letters are from two of Oden's sons-in-law, William D[uckett] Bowie and Baruch Mullikin. Others are from William Duke, George Thomas, and John P. Ingle. Subjects of the letters include the raising and sale of tobacco, slaves, banking, and family matters, but only rarely politics. There are also three letters each from Luther Martin and Samuel Chase, Jr., and one from Reverdy Johnson.

Series D: Bonds, Accounts, and Other Business Documents of Benjamin Oden

Series E: Oden Family Letters

The majority of these letters are from Oden's daughter, Maria West Jackson, and from her son Benjamin Oden Mullikin. Of note is one from B.O. Hodges in 1836, describing his business difficulties in the wake of Jackson's war on the U.S. Bank, and referring to his son, Benjamin Hodges, an artist, who had just painted a portrait of Washington.

Series F: Material relating to Robert Bowie, Washington Bowie, and Others

Materials include correspondence, notes, and accounts.

Guide to the Oden papers
Under Revision
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2020-06-18: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States