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date: 17 May 2021

O’Daniel, W. Leelocked

(11 March 1890–11 May 1969)
  • Lewis L. Gould


O’Daniel, W. Lee (11 March 1890–11 May 1969), Texas governor, U.S. senator, and radio performer, known as “Pappy,” was born Wilbert Lee O’Daniel in Malta, Ohio, the son of William O’Daniel, a farmer and worker in a plow factory, and Alice Ann Thompson Earich, a seamstress and laundry woman. His father was accidentally killed working on a bridge construction project when O’Daniel was a baby, and he lived with his mother’s third husband, Charles H. Baker, a farmer, outside of Arlington, Kansas, after 1895. O’Daniel attended local schools and then studied one year at a business college in Hutchinson, Kansas. Afterward he entered the flour milling business and worked at a variety of office jobs in Kansas towns. In 1916 he started the Independent Milling Company, and his firm soon operated into Texas. He married Merle Estella Butcher, with whom he would have three children, in 1917; the marriage exempted him from the draft in World War I....

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