Governor Odell's Industry
( Originally Published 1902 )
WITH a few exceptions, no man of his State has ever been promoted in official life so rapidly as Benjamin B. Odell, Jr., the able Governor of New York. He has qualities of mind and of heart which justify his promotion. Like almost all men who succeed he has been a hard worker. I called at the ice office of Newburg, N. Y., and met his father, B. B. Odell, Sr., who began the ice business about forty years ago, and who, by the way, is a politician himself, having filled the offices of Alderman, Commissioner, Sheriff, and Mayor of his city ten terms. I said, " Mr. Odell, I understand that your son, the Governor, for years got up at four o'clock and worked hard till the day's work was done." " Yes, that is true," he replied. I continued, " Can you remember any incident illustrating his fondness for work? " He said, " Yes. One day, Robert Phillips, who kept a store at the corner of Second and Water streets, in Newburg, came to me and said, ` Mr. Odell, you are making a great mistake in allowing your boy Ben to go on the ice wagon. He is not more than fourteen or fifteen years old, and lifting those large cakes of ice will injure him for life, I am afraid. This morning he lifted into my ice-box a piece no one man ought to have handled. I offer the suggestion, not as a complaint, but because I think so much of the boy and do not want him to get hurt.' At the first opportunity I called the boy to me and said, ` My son, Mr. Phillips thinks you are too young to go on the wagon, and that the heavy lifting will injure you. I have been wondering, myself, whether you were strong enough for the work, though you seem to be, and you have insisted all the time that you were.' The boy said, ` Father, it is kind in Mr. Phillips to take an interest in me, but do not give yourself any worry. I am a boy, but I am as strong as a man, and I can do as much work as a man, and I want to stay on the wagon, and help you drive the business for all it is worth.' I let the boy stay on the wagon, and no harm came to him ; he got stronger all the time."
Governor Odell has a strong mind, a liberal education, a good character, is a keen judge of men and has a splendid power of organization, but much of his success can be attributed to his enormous capacity for, and intense love of hard work. The genius for hard work has much to do with success in the spiritual as well as temporal world, in the Church as well as in the State.