O'Donnell is on U.S. Highway 87, the Santa Fe line, and the Lynn-Dawson county line. It lies mostly in southern Lynn County. It was established in 1910 by a group of promoters involved with the construction of the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway from Slaton to Lamesa. The brothers T. J. and A. F. O'Donnell allied themselves with Charles Doak, former sheriff of Lynn County, and H. E. Baldridge to form a town on the new railroad; it was to be called O'Donnell City. In June 1910, lots were sold and a town began; by 1912 the town had a post office, a gin, a hotel, a real-estate office, and a general store. At first the local economy was dominated by cotton farming and ginning. A bank opened at the town in 1919, when the population was 300, and a movement began for incorporation, which occurred on May 5, 1923. By 1930 the town had 1,026 residents; it grew to 1,187 by 1940 and to 1,238 by 1980. O'Donnell was the home of Dan Blocker, who portrayed "Hoss" Cartwright on the popular television series "Bonanza" during the late 1950s and the 1960s. In 1990 the population of O'Donnell was 1,102.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Donald R. Abbe, The History of Lynn County (M.A. thesis, Texas Tech University, 1974). Donald R. Abbe, "The History of Lynn County," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 60 (1987). Donald R. Abbe