James Odam, of Dubuque, Well-Known in La Crosse, is 101 Years Old Today Dubuque, Ia. - (Special) -- A hundred and one years old Sunday. That is James Odam, an old-time seaman, now residing n Dubuque, who for over 60 years sailed to the four courners of the earth, and who is known in every river port from New Orleans to the Twin Cities. No particular reasons are given by Mr. Odam for his longevity. but he naively admits having "drank my share" and still finds comfort in a battered briar pipe. He is a "a little under the weather right now" as he puts it, but despite this and his advanced age, he is hale and hearty, to use that time-worn phrase. For the past five years, Mr. Odam has lived at St. Anthony's home here. He likes it, with the association of other venerable old-timers, and enthuses over the view.
Born in Ireland. Born in County Carlow, Ireland, on March 18, 1827, James Odam came to America with his parents when he was two years old. His parents settled at Kingston, Ontario, when they first came from Ireland, and then later moved to New York. As near as he can remember, Mr. Odam started his life on the water when he was about 27. There is hardly a port in the entire world htat he has not visited. He went around Cape Horn twice, before the Panama Canal was opened. He has travelled the entire Mississippi river and all its tributaries. All this time he served chiefly as steward or cook. For sixty years, "off and on," he has gone up and down the Mississippi or on ocean-going vessels. He recalls old-time residents, especially in Dubuque and La Crosse.
Because of his many years spent on the Mississippi, James Odam is an interested follower of the attempts to revive river traffic. In his opinion, the government, by the installation of dams, has ruined the river "It would have been better the way it was," he contends. "I remember how we could start out from St. Louis on about April 15, and the river would still be navigable November 15. The flood in New Orleans last year proves that the dams ruined the river. They had to dynamite the dams out." Advantages of river traffic, however, were pointed out by Mr. Odam, who said that with the average daily production of 100,000 barrels of flour in Minneapolis, the same can be sent to the gulf cheaper by water than by rail. He also sees another vantage point in that goods shipped by water require less handling.
Mr. Odam has not allowed his travels to decrease to a minimum since he has been living at St. Anthony's home. It was only Thursday that he walked down town, and any Dubuquer knows the hill that must be descended -- and climbed later -- to make that walk possible.
Visits Daughter. Last Christmas Mr. Odam visited his daughter in Chicago, Mrs. Mary E. Duffy, where he enjoyed the company of his great grandchildren, Mary, Jack and Billy. He made the trip from Dubuque to Chicago alone
And in connection with the old river-man's hundredth Christmas, although the Volstead followers may object, James Odam celebrated the day with a drink of good Irish whiskey. He has lived a long and eventful life, and durning an interview did not give the slightest hint that he expects his 101st birthday to be his last. He looks back on his life with satisfaction. He said: "I would not criticise any man for doing anyting I have done."