Bio. of William W. Osburn-1612
History of Frederick County, Maryland, L.R. Titsworth & Co.,
1910. Page 1580. (transcript)
THE OSBORNE FAMILY.
OSBORNE is a name which has appeared at different times in its history as
Osborn, Osbern, Osbourne, Osburn, Oseberne, Osbeorn, Osbiorn, Aspern and
Aspirn. The last two forms were common in Germany, the eighth century.
Asbiorn is old Norse and Osbeorn, Anglo-Saxon.
The derivation of the name is said to be Saxon, from "us" or "hus,"
pronounced "os," and "bearn," meaning a child; an adopted child; or a child
taken into the house.
Then there is the old Norse "as" or "os," meaning a hero; and "bjorn," or
the old German "berin," a bear.
The first upon whom the name was bestowed proved himself "the hero of the
bear hunt," possibly, and from that time on was honored by the bestowal of
this name, which became a patronymic.
Os, implying a hero, is a common prefix; for example, we have Oswald,
Oskood and Osbert, and many similar names.
There is a story, which you may have for what it is worth, that the name
Osborne originated at the battle of Hastings.
It was this way: Walter, a Norman knight, and a great favorite with his
master, William, was playing chess with him on the banks of the River Ouse,
and won all. The king threw down the board, saying he had nothing more to
"Sire, there is land," quoth Walter.
"There is so," replied the king, "and if thou beat me this game, also,
thine be all the land on this side the bourne or river which thou canst see
as thou sittest."
Walter had the good fortune to win -- or else where would be this story
-- and William, clapping hom on the shoulder, said, "Henceforth thou shalt
be called Ousebourne."
In Domesday Book the name occurs frequently, in various forms, as that of
tenants in chief, in different counties. Osbernus is one form.
The family has been prominent in Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk and London. The
Lord Mayor of London, 1583, was an Osborne. Peter Osborne was keeper of the
privy purse of Edward VI.
Two ancient seats of the family are Osborne House, Derbyshire, and Tyld
Hall, Essex. The Duke of Leeds, Yorkshire, is an Osborne.
One of the Pilgrim fathers, probably the first here, was Richard, who
came from London, 1634, settling at Windsor, Conn. He was the founder of
the New England branch. His grandson and namesake, of Ridgefield, was
justice of the peace, and what is much more interesting to note, he walked
to Danbury, a distance of ten miles, when he had rounded his century of life
and one year over.
His grandson, Josiah, of Lenox, was a minute man of 1777, and the son of
Speaking of "war and rumors of war," Richard, the Pilgrim father, was in
the Pequot war, and for his services received a grant of eighty acres of
land at Fairfield, Ct.
His descendants will note this fact with gratitude if they have leanings
toward the Society of Colonial Wars.
William was a freeman of Salem, 1638; when he died he was worth 1000
lbs., a princely fortune for those days of simple living. About the same
time Christopher was living at Duxbury and Thomas was one of the settlers
of New Haven.
John and David were freemen of Fairfield, and William of Trumbull, Conn.
In Fitchburg, Mass., the family has been one of importance since the
earliest days. Abraham and Ephraim, the latter a surveyor, are name we
Favorite feminine names all along the ages has been Patience, Mercy,
Recompense, Cynthia, Increase, Bezaleel, Asenath, Dolphin, Septimus and
Prusha. Marriage connections have been with the Bennett, Fellows, Aldrich,
Pease, Talcott, Morris and Eggleston families.
John Osborne, who was one of the founders of the Long Island family, was
from Kent, England. Of this line was Thomas, born at Easthampton, and a
captain in the Revolution, Josiah, of Ridgefield, Ct., a descendant of
Richard the Pilgrim, was a minute man of 1777.
Others from the Nutmeg State who shouldered their muskets in the name of
liberty were Lieuts. John and Stephen and Ensign Samuel.
The Osburns (please note the orthography) were large land owners in
Virginia. Balaam, born in Loudon county, married into that well-known
family, the Chews, of Maryland, his wife being Mary, daughter of John Chew.
The family has also been of prominence in Pennsylvania, particularly in
Chester county, since earliest day. Richard Osborne, who died in 1729, was
the progenitor of one branch. His sons were John, Jonathan, Nicholas and
One of Benjamin Franklin's near friends was "John Osborne of New Jersey,"
but living at one time in Philadelphia. Franklin refers to him in an
account of our trip from England to Philadelphia. John Osborne's daughter,
Sarah, married Thomas Laidley, or Laidlaw, of Lancaster, Pa. The Senator
of the Osbornes belongs to the New Jersey branch.
Characteristics of the Osbornes are sterling integrity, superior
intelligence and good judgment. The family had twenty college graduates by
the beginning of the nineteenth century. It has its poets, authors,
journalists, musical composers, professional men of prominence and
statesmen, also its philanthropists. It has had two admirals of the English
navy. One was also an explorer, Sherard Osborn (no "e" if you please,) son
of Lieut.-Col. Osborn, of the Indian army. Admiral Osborn commanded one of
the ships sent in search of Sir John Franklin, and published an account of
the voyage in "Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal." When in one of the
wars which occur with much regularity in China, the admiral, as commander of
the Furious, performed the remarkable feat of proving the navigability of
the Yang-tse River by taking his ship 600 miles up the river. After
retiring from public life he wrote several books. One was entitled "The
Last Voyage and Fate of Franklin."
The arms reproduced belong to the family of Kent county, England, and was
born by the Lord Mayor.
It is quarterly, ermine and azure, a cross or.<sic>
Crest, a tiger, passant, argent, crested and tufted sable.
Motto -- Pax in Bello -- Peace in war.
Heraldic charges, borne by different branches of the family, are the
dolphin, pelican, lion, unicorn, and the supporters of one coat are eagles.
THE GENEALOGY OF THE OSBURN FAMILY.
First Generation. -- Richard Osborne, reported to have died in
Nottingham, Chester County, Pa., in 1729, leaving four sons named below, of
whom the two last named moved to Loudoun County, Va., in 1734 or 1735, and
changed the Surname to Osburn -- was born in New Jersey about 1660, and was
a descendant of Osbornes of East Hampton, L.I., said to have been a man of
prominence and wealth. Randall Osborne, Jonathan Osborne, John Osborne,
Richard Osborne was buried near Philadelphia, Pa.
Second Generation -- John Osburn, born in Chester Co., Pa., in 1712, died
in Loudoun Co., Va., in 1787. Married Sarah Morris, daughter of Thomas
Morris, of Virginia, about 1740. The mother of Sarah Morris was a Miss
Howard, of Maryland. Richard Osburn, Samuel Osburn, John Osburn, Jr.,
William Osburn, Ann Osburn, Sarah Osburn, Elizabeth Osburn.
John Osburn was buried in Loudoun County, Va.
Third Generation. -- Richard Osburn, Sr., born in Loudoun Co., Va., in
1739, died in the same place, in 1795. Married Hannah Pursel, daughter of
Thomas Pursel, of Virginia. Reported to have been a captain in the
Revolutionary Army. Morris Osburn, John Osburn, Thomas Osburn, Richard
Osburn, Joel Osburn, Mary Osburn, Sarah Osburn, Hannah Osburn, Joab Osburn,
Precilla Osburn, Balen Osburn, Milly Osburn.
Richard Osburn, Sr., was buried in Loudoun County, Va.
Fourth Generation. -- Balen Osburn, born in Loudoun Co., Va., May 2,
1792, died in Jefferson Co., W.Va., August 23, 1861. Married Mary Chew,
daughter of John Chew, Sr., of Alexandria, afterwards Loudoun Co., Va.
Adeline Osburn, Margaret Osburn, Franklin Osburn, Robert Osburn, Elizabeth
Balen Osburn was buried in Loudoun Co., Va.
Fifth Generation. -- Franklin Osburn, born in Loudoun Co., Va., May 8,
1821, died in Sewickley, Pa., August 7, 1904. Married Henrietta W. Warner,
daughter of Griswold E. Warner, of Allegheny City, Pa. James W. Osburn,
Frank C. Osburn, Jennie M. Osburn, Mary E. Osburn, Harry G. Osburn, Robert
D. Osburn, William W. Osburn, Louise W. Osburn.
Sixth Generation. -- William W. Osburn.
WILLIAM W. OSBURN, a talented violinist, now an instructor in the Women's
College of Frederick, was born in Pittsburg, Pa., October 4, 1871. He is a
son of Franklin and Henrietta W. (Warner) Osburn.
The grandparents of William W. Osburn were Benjamin<sic> and Mary (Chew)
Osburn. Mrs. Osburn was a member of the well-known Chew family, that was of
English origin and resided in Philadelphia, Pa., where it had long been
Franklin Osburn, father of William W. Osburn, was born in Loudoun Co.,
Va., May 7, 1821. He received his early education in the Quaker School of
Ben Hallowell, at Alexandria, Va., one of the famous schools of the State,
and at an early age began his business career as a teacher. Later he was
engaged in several large and successful business ventures. Under General
Rodgers, his first employers, in his large country store in Middleburg, Mr.
Osburn's birthplace, he received the training which secured for him success
in carrying on a similar store of his own. In partnership with his cousin,
Atwood Osburn, he opened a general store at Bloomfield, Va., and from 1846
to 1850 he conducted a large store at Kabletown, Jefferson County, W.Va.
Mr. Osburn was the owner of Avonwood, a beautiful place situated in
Jefferson county, in the Shenandoah Valley, where he spent most of his time
from 1850 to 1875. Owing to his family and business connections in
Pittsburgh, he was enabled to carry on successfully large farming
enterprises. Politically, Mr. Osburn was a Democrat and a Southern
sympathizer, but was opposed to the dissolution of the Union. During most
of the time that General Philip Sheridan occupied the position at
Winchester, Mr. Osburn was one of the few men who could raise and furnish
supplies for the army and for the people of that city. Later he was a
dealer in lumber in Pittsburgh, Pa., and, from 1860 to 1870, he dealt in
cotton in Steubenville, Ohio. He was for several years a direcotr and
vice-president of the Second National Bank of Pittsburgh. After 1870, he
was not actively engaged in business, his principal interests being in real
estate in Chicago, Ill., where he had invested the bulk of his capital. As
a Southern gentleman, Mr. Osburn's hospitality was unlimited. His door
stood open and his board spread for his friends at all times. Franklin
Osburn was married, December 4, 1851, to Henrietta Warner, daughter of Judge
Griswold Elliott and Maria (Sheffield) Warner, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who was
the founder of the Second National Bank of that city. She was a descendant
of John Elliott and also of Roger Williams, of New England Colonial fame.
Soon after their marriage, Mr. Osburn and his wife removed to the borough of
Glen Osburn, which was named after the Osburns. Their children are: 1,
James Warner, of Los Angeles, Cal.; 2, Frank Chew, a well-known lawyer of
Pittsburg; 3, Clarissa Elliott, deceased; 4, Henry Augustus, deceased; 5,
Jennie Maria, the wife of William Olmsted, of Los Angeles, Cal.; 6, Mary
Elliott, the wife of J. Hunter Miller, of Ocean Park, Cal.; 7, Adelina
Beatrice, deceased; 8, Henry Griswold, of Los Gatos, Cal.; 9, Robert Dudley,
of Riverside, Cal.; 10, William Warner; 11, Clara Louise Williams, the wife
of Samuel R. Wilson, of Sewickley, Pa. On December 4, 1901, Mr. and Mrs.
Osburn celebrated their golden wedding when they added greatly to the
pleasure of the guests by their music, Mr. Osburn playing the violin and his
wife accompanying him on the piano. Franklin Osburn died in Sewickley, Pa.,
in 1904, aged eighty-three.
William W. Osburn, son of Franklin and Henrietta (Warner) Osburn, was
brought up and educated in Pittsburgh. He has devoted a large share of his
time and attention to music, and is one of the talented violinists of
Maryland. He is an instructor of the violin in the Woman's College in
Frederick, Md. He is highly respected in Frederick where he is well-known.
Politicaly, Mr. Osburn is independent. Fraternally, he is a member of
Frederick Lodge, No. 684, B.P.O.E.
William W. Osburn was married, in October, 1899, to Miss Rose Schley
Chapline, daughter of I. Thomas and Laura Schley Chapline, of Shepherdstown,
West Va. (See biographical sketch of the Schley and Chapline families
published in this volume.) They have three children: Laura Schley Chapline;
Robert Dudley; and Rosalie Warner.
Bio. of V.A. Osburn
History of Butler county, Kansas, Vol. P. Mooney, Lawrence, KS,
Standard Pub. Co., 1916. Page 407-408. (transcript)
(Contributed by Jere Osburn)
V.A. Osburn, an extensive real estate dealer of El Dorado, is a native of
Illinois. He was born at Tallula, Menard county, that State, July 3, 1863,
and is a son of Alfred M. and Amanda J. (Arnold) Osburn, the former a
native of Virginia and the latter of Kentucky. They located in Menard
county, Ill. at an early day and came to Butler county, Kansas in 1884,
locating in Augusta, where the father was successfully engaged in farming
and stock raising during the remainder of his active career. He died in
March, 1915, aged eighty-eight years, and the mother died in March, 1913,
aged eighty-six. They both died in Wichita, where they had resided since
1910,the time of the father's retirement from active business.
Alfred M. Osburn was a real pioneer of the West. In 1849 he made the trip
overland to California, with a party of about 150, from Springfield, Ill.,
and the noted Indian scout, Kit Carson, was the guide of the expedition.
They went by way of the southern route. Mr. Osburn remained in California
about two years when he returned to Illinois and was married. In 1864, with
his wife and family, in company with two or three other families, when
V.A., of this review, was nine months old, he started on his second trip to
the Pacific coast, this time over the northern trail, through Nebraska and
over the mountains. They remained on the coast, however, but a short time
when they returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York City.
Shortly after that they came to Butler county, as above stated.
V.A. Osburn was one of a family of five children, three of whom are
living. Mr. Osburn received a good common school education in the public
schools of Illinois and upon coming to Butler county engaged in the stock
business, and later was engaged in the mercantile business at Augusta for
six years. In 1905, he engaged in the insurance and land business at El
Dorado and has built up a profitable and extensive agency in both these
lines. He makes a specialty of handling large stock ranches and has
handled some of the most extensive deals of that character that have taken
place in the county since he has been in business. He is also extensively
engaged in handling oil properties.
Mr. Osburn was married June 12, 1889, to Miss Hattie Safford, of Augusta,
and six children have been born to this union, as follows: Spencer, manager
of a lumber yard, Clayton, New Mexico; Ruth, married Earl Brandon, El
Dorado; Clara, a graduate of the El Dorado High School, class of 1914,
resides at home; and Frank, Harriett and Robert, all residing at home and
attending school. The wife and mother departed this life in September 21,
Mr. Osburn is a Democrat and has been a conspicious figure in Butler county
politics for a number of years. He served two terms as clerk of the
district court. He was chairman of the Democraatic central committee for
ten years. He is a member of the Masonic Lodge and is a Knight Templar. He
also belongs to the Knights of Pythias; the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is a member of the Christian
church, and is one of Butler county's most substantial citizens.
Bio. of John Morgan
History of Lee County, Iowa, Chicago, Western Historical, 1879.
(Green Bay Township) Page 882. (transcript)
(Contributed by Mark Osborn)
Morgan, John, Sr., farmer. Sec. 15; P.O. Wever; born in Montgomery Co.,
Penn., in 1806; at 12 years of age, with his parents moved to Cincinnati,
Ohio, thence to Dearborn Co., Ind. At the age of 23 Mr. Morgan married
Mary Osborne, who was born in Ohio in 1808; in 1839, they came to Lee Co;
settled upon and improved the land (240 acres) where he now resides; in
1864, his wife died, leaving seven children-Elizabeth, born in Indiana
Sept. 30, 1831; Joel, born in Indiana Oct. 9, 1833; Edward, born March
1835; Abraham, born in Indiana Aug 4, 1837; Priscilla, born in Indiana
Sept. 30, 1839, and died in Lee Co., Oct. 27, 1840; Sarah, born in Lee Co.
Aug 27, 1841; Eli, born in Lee Co., Dec. 18, 1843; John, born July 28,
1849. April 6, 1874, Mr. Morgan married Catharine, wife of David Strunk,
one of the early settlers; she was born in Hunterdon Co., N.J., in 1816.
Mr. Morgan's children are all married and settled on farms, except John,
who is a machinist in Burlington. Mr. M. is a Democrat in political belief;
he has been a Deacon in the Christian Church for forty-seven years; his
wife and three of his children are also members of that church.
Obit. of Abraham Osborn-7099
Weekly Democrat, Albany, Linn County, Oregon 11 Feb 1926
(Contributed by Mark Osborn)
LINN PIONEER OF 1852 IS CALLED
SCIO, Feb. 9 (Special)-Abraham Osborn, 80, one of Linn County's oldest
pioneers, died Sunday night at the home of his son, Lafayette Osborn, two
miles northeast of Scio, from heart trouble following an attack of
Mr. Osborn was born August 14, 1840. With his parents, he crossed the
plains from the east in 1852. His father settled on a donation land claim
in Fox Valley, near Lyons, later moving to Scio where he engaged in the
blacksmith's trade. Abrahm Osborn followed this calling and built one of
Scio's business buildings on Main street. Later bought a fruit farm which
became his home until his death. Mrs. Osborn died in 1923.
Three sons survive. They are Lafayette, Commodore and A. D. Osborn, all
living at or near Shelburn.
The funeral will be held Wednesday morning at 11 o'clock at the home.
Burial will be in the Miller cemetery.
Obit. of Lafayette Osborn
Albany Democrat March (12?) 1948
(Contributed by Mark Osborn)
Lafayette (Lafe) Osborn of Rt. 2, Scio, died at the family home March 5.
He was a retired farmer. Funeral services were held Tuesday, March 9 at
2 p.m. in the Scio Baptist Church, in charge of the Fisher Funeral Home.
Rev. Victor Loucks officiated and burial was in Miller cemetery.
Bearers were C.D. Trexler, Mel Arnold, Walter Wyman, Weibe Kulken, A.L.
Seamen and Ed Burdick.
Mr. Osborn was born Nov. 7, 1865 near Scio, and lived all his life in Linn
county. He spent the past 59 years on the present farm near Scio. On Dec.
8, 1889 at Scio he married Frances Grimes, who died in 1946. Surviving are
three children, Ercell, R. Osborn, Scio and Louis and Clarence Osborn,
Albany, a brother, Commodore Osborn of Scio, and six grandchildren.
<NOTE: Louis listed above is an error. Should be Lotus.>
Bio. of Francis Augustus Osborn-7561
Biographical History of Massachusetts, Samuel A. Eliot,
Massachusetts Biographical Society, Boston, 1918. Vol. IX (volume
arranged alphabetically, no page numbers)
FRANCIS AUGUSTUS OSBORN was born in that part of Danvers, Massachusetts,
which is now known as Peabody, on September 22, 1833. He died at his home
in HIngham, March 11, 1914.
Augustus Kendall Osborn, the father of General Osborn, was born July 7,
1800. He died at the early age of forty-eight years, on March 18, 1849.
His father, Sylvester Osborn, lived to the ripe old age of eighty-seven
years, dying in 1845. As a boy of sixteen years he took part in the Battle
of Lexington. He married Elizabeth Poole.
General Osborn's mother, Mary Shove, was the daughter of Quaker parents,
Squiers Shove and his wife, Esther (Marble) Shove.
After graduation from the Latin School in 1849, he entered the employ of
William Ropes & Company, Importers of Russian Goods.
Mr. Osborn joined the Militia in 1855 and in 1861 he had become a Captain
in the New England Guards. On the breaking out of the Civil War the Guards
were organized into a battalion of two companies and he was commissioned
Captain of the original Company, April 19, 1861. After a month spent with
the battalion, Major Thomas G. Stevenson (of the Guards) and Captain Osborn
offered their services to Governor Andrew. They were authorized to raise a
regiment, later known as the 24th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers.
Major Stevenson was appointed Colonel and Captain Osborn Lieutenant Colonel.
Leaving Boston on December 9, 1861, the Regiment joined the Burnside
Expedition to North Carolina where it took part in the battles of Roanoke
Island and of Newbern, besides which it was in several minor engagements.
On December 28, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Osborn was promoted Colonel of the
Regiment to fill the vacancy caused by the promotion of Colonel Stevenson to
be General of Brigade. On August 26, Colonel Osborn commanded his regiment
in the charge upon the rifle-pits in front of Fort Wagner.
On September 30, 1863, the regiment was sent to St. Augustine, Florida,
to recuperate. Here Colonel Osborn remained in command of the post till
February 18, 1864, when he was ordered with his regiment to Jacksonville to
take command of that post.
During the summer of 1864 the regiment was with the Army of the James and
took part in the following engagements: Green Valley, Drury's Bluff,
Proctor's Creek, Richmond and Petersburg Turnpike, and Weir Bottom Church.
On August 13, Colonel Osborn was assigned to the command of the Third
Brigade of the Second Division of the Tenth Army Corps during the absense of
its Commander. On August 16, he was struck by a spent ball which disabled
him for a few says<sic>. On October 28, 1864, he was appointed by President
Lincoln, Brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers "for distinguished services
in the movement on the enemy's works near Newmarket, Virginia." On November
14, 1864, he resigned and was mustered out of service.
Returning to Boston General Osborn occupied for one year the office of
Cashier for Blake Brothers and Company, Bankers, and later, in partnership
with Hubbard Brothers and Company, he was a Stock Broker for five years, and
a Member of the Boston Stock Exchange. On January 1, 1874, he was elected
Treasurer of the Corbin Banking Company of Boston and New York and he
remained in that position till June 1883, when he resigned. In November
following he organized and became President of the Eastern Banking Company
which was incorporated in 1887.
General Osborn was the first Treasurer of the New England Mortgage
Security Company, Director of the Tremont National Bank, President of the
Boston Real Estate Exchange and Auction Board.
In politics General Osborn was an Independent Republican. He was
appointed Chairman of the Civil Service Commissioners of Massachusetts in
1886. For five years he was President of the Citizen's Association of
Boston and then declining re-election hewas made Vice-President. He was
also Vice-President of the Municipal League.
He was a member of the Unitarian Club of Boston, the Union and St.
Botolph Clubs of Boston, Wompatuck Club of Hingham, and was a Member and
Treasurer of the Music Hall Association. He served as Commander of the
Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the
United States in 1868, and as Grand Commander of the Department of
In religious belief he was a Unitarian.
He served as one of the Committee to visit the Botanic Garden of Harvard
University from 1881 to 1892. He belonged to the Society for Psychical
In 1867 General Osborn married Miss Mary M. Mears, daughter of Granville
Mears of Boston, by whom he had one daughter, Miss Esther Osborn of Needham.
On June 17, 1879, he married as his second wife Miss Emily T. Bouve,
daughter of Thomas T. Bouve and his wife E.G. (Lincoln) Bouve. Mr. Bouve
was of French Huguenot stock while on her mother's side Mrs. Osborn was
descended from the Lincolns of England who early settled in Hingham and from
whom President Lincoln was also descended.
Five children were the result of this last union and these with Mrs.
Osborn survive him: Mrs. C.C. Lane of Hingham, Francis B. Osborn, Violet
Osborn, Reginald A. Osborn, and Danvers Osborn.
Bio. of Joseph Horatio Osborn
History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, Publius V. Lawson,
C.F. Cooper and Co., Chicago, 1908. Vol. II, page 1067. (Transcript)
Joseph Horation Osborn (deceased), one of the very early settlers of this
part of Wisconsin and closely identified with the primitive struggles of the
city of Oshkosh and county of Winnebago, was born May 17, 1822, in New York
City. Educated at Columbia College, he made a special record in
mathematics. He began life as a civil engineer at seventeen years of age on
the then famous Croton aqueduct, still continuing his studies, however, and
when the aqueduct was opened in 1843 by Governor Seymour, Mr. Osborn, then
21 years of age, stood by his side.
Allured by current stories of the great West, Osborn came to Waukesha in
that year, Wisconsin being then at the height of its early "boom." The
young engineer had just inherited a thousand dollars and was anxious to
invest it. At Waukesha (then called Prairieville) he bought a small farm,
put up a country store and here traded with the Indians for furs. After a
year of this experience, in which he supposed he had failed and lost
everything, he traveled on a round-trip, mostly on foot, through northern
Illinois and Missouri, looking for an opening, his chief object being to get
an eligible piece of land.
After visiting the Galena lead mines he drifted back to Milwaukee, then a
very small village with doubtful prospects. Hearing that the federal
government was opening up a large lot of rich land on the shores of Lake
Winnebago, he borrowed a small sum of money and with stick and bundle
tramped to Oshkosh, arriving in that then frontier hamlet with just 50 cents
in his pocket. After carefully looking over the place he concluded that
here at the mough of the Fox River there was soon to be a great city, and
here he decided to settle. Applying to Webster Stanley, the first settler,
who kept the ferry across the river and the only house of entertainment at
the place, Stanley took him in.
The young Knickerbocker opened the first school in Winnebago county in
Stanley's house, instructing the children of the Stanley, Gallup and Wright
families. After teaching for a short time he unexpectedly realized from his
Waukesha venture a hundred dollars and a large load of goods. With the
money he purchased on the south side of Fox river the Osborn homestead, on
which he died, and which is now the site of a large settlement. Walking to
Green Bay, he entered the tract in the United States land office there.
With the load of goods he opened an Indian trading house on the site of the
old "gang mill," near the entrance of the river into Lake Winnebago, and
traded up and down the river for several years, alway, attending the Indian
payments at Butte des Morts and elsewhere. He had in his employ as
interpreter Augustin Grignon, the famous old French fur trader, whose
"Recollections of Early Wisconsisn" is a prominent feature of the Wisconsin
As Oshkosh grew Mr. Osborn became prominently identified with various
interests. In 1844 he opened the first general store in the young city at
the lower end of Main (then called "Ferry") street. As a surveyor he made
the first plats of Oshkosh, Menasha and Neenah and named all the streets on
the Oshkosh plat. Becoming a land agent for Gov. James Duane Doty and other
gentlemen in Wisconsin and New York, he opened the first abstract office in
Winnebago county and personally made the first abstract. In 1856, in
collaboration with Martin Michel, he published the first history of
Winnebago county, a duodecimo of 120 pages; and about the same time Mr.
Osborn made and published the first map of the county.
Some time after the great crash of 1856 he sold out his abstract business
to Jones & Frentz and retired to his farm. He was county surveyor from 1845
to 1848, county clerk from 1852 to 1857 and alderman of the city in 1860-61.
In the latter year he opened a soap factory, which he afterward sold out to
J.R. Loper & Bro., again retiring to his farm.
In 1874-76 he was president of the State Railroad Commission under the
administration of Gov. William R. Taylor. Upon him lay the chief burden of
the commission during the exciting legal struggle on the part of the
railways to defeat the famous Potter law. The reports of the commission,
which were read throughout the country and betrayed a masterful knowledge of
railway affairs, were almost wholly from his pen. It is interesting to note
that in these later days of governmental regulation of public utilities many
of the contentions of modern publicists were forestalled in Mr. Osborn's
reports. He was, however, in these regards a quarter of a century ahead of
his time. In 1878 he ran for secretary of state on the Greenback ticket,
which was headed by E.P. Allis, of Milwaukee, and was with his colleagues
defeated. For several years he was grand master and later the state
purchasing agent of the State Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. About
this time he was also advising engineer of the Stevenson Canal Traction
System Company and visited New York several times to obtain financial
backing for this Oshkosh enterprise, which proposed to introduce steam
traction on canals.
Mr. Osborn, who was a deep thinker on social schemes, was much interested
in cooperative and kindred enterprises and generously gave his time and
means, without expectation of reward, to several undertakings for the
betterment of the economic conditions of workingmen. For instance, he was
the founder of the Workmen's Cooperative Store in Oshkosh and for two years
devoted much of his energy and considerable financial support thereto, only
retiring when he saw it established upon a sound financial basis. In June,
1890, he founded the Winnebago Abstract Company, Limited, for which he
labored with great skill and patience until it was placed upon its feet.
His large and extremely interesting collection of printed and manuscript
material bearing upon the history of socialism and cooperation, both in
America and England, was after his death presented by his widow to the great
library of the Wisconsin Historical Society at Madison, where it is in out
day much used by students of the social sciences.
Mr. Osborn's intimate acquaintance with early affairs in this vicinity,
and his natural historical turn of mind prompted him to attempt the
organization of an Old Settlers' Club to cover the entire county, for the
purpose of gathering and writing out pioneer reminiscences as a legacy to
the historical literature of the county; but he was taken away before his
favorite project could be undertaken.
In April, 1892, released from his abstract work, he took a pleasure trip
to New Jersey, Washington and Maryland. While upon this tour he contracted
malarial fever and hurried home, arriving in Oshkosh early in May. He took
to his bed at once and, beset with a complication of disorders, rapidly
wasted away, dying on the 8th of May and being buried in the South Side
Cemetery. A man of fine education, unusually well read and with a clear,
logical mind much given to humanitarian ideals, every pioneer in Winnebago
county was his personal friend. His memory will be cherished by all who
In 1866 Mr. Osborn was married to Martha L. Thwaites, daughter of William
G. and Sarah (Bibbs) Thwaites, of Yorkshire, England, and to them was born
one son, Delaware W., at present residing on the homestead with his mother.
Then a young man of 22 years, Delaware was at the time of his father's death
making a tour around the world, being then in South Africa, and did not know
of the sad news until a month later. A few hours before his father's death
a letter had been received from the young man announcing his safe arrival in
Cape Town after a long and tempestuous voyage from Australia. This was a
great solace to the dying pioneer.
Mr. Osborn came of a prominent New York family long identified with
educational and professional affairs in the metropolis. His father, also
named Joseph Horatio, was one of the best American philologists of his day,
being particularly well versed in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He was a
professor of classical languages in Columbia College in the city of New York
and early in the nineteenth century translated the Bible from the original
Greek for the Methodist Book Concern. He was for a time tutor to the French
princes who were expelled from France during the Revolution. One of
Professor Osborn's sisters, Mary, was the wife of Gen. Joshua Stark; another
sister was the wife of the secretary to the famous Warren Hastings, viceroy
of India. A brother of Professor Osborn married the only sister of John
Howard Payne, who wrote "Home, Sweet Home," while other brothers were
celebrated physicians in New York City. The mother of the subject of our
sketch and wife of Professor Osborn was Miss Ann Lent, who, as one of the
great Norwood family of merchant princes and ship owners, came from good old
Dutch Knckerbocker stock. The late Dr. Samuel J. Osborn, formerly of
Oshkosh and subsequently of Cincinnati, and the late Miss Elizabeth Black
Osborn, also of Cincinnati, were brother and sister of our subject.
Bio. of Albert K. Osborn
History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, Publius V. Lawson,
C.F. Cooper and Co., Chicago, 1908. Vol. II, page 1071. (Transcript)
Albert K. Osborn, the greater part of whose life was devoted to public
service, was a man of commanding influence in his community, universally
esteemed for his upright character and sterling worth, and his death, which
occurred at Oshkosh, Wisconsisn, in 1900, was mourned as a public loss. He
was born at Colesville, in Broome county, New York, on July 12, 1824, to
Joseph and Electa (Sadler) Osborn, his father being a son of Ashbel Osborn,
a native of Connecticut, and his mother being a daughter of John and
Margaret (Richardson) Sadler, both natives of Massachusetts. His father was
a millwright and built and put into operation the first mill using as a
motive power the cast-run reactionary water wheel on a vertical shaft, the
invention of Gideon Hotchkiss, and afterward traveled with the inventor
through the South, erecting mills and selling rights for using the
invention. In his eighteenth year Albert K. began life for himself as a
clerk in a store, where he remained six years, after which he learned the
In 1849, in company with his father, he went to Winnebago county,
Wisconsin, and the next year settled on a farm in Nekimi township, whence in
1856 he went to Waupaca county and purchased an interest in a sawmill. He
was a man of intense activity and energy, taking an active interest in
public affairs and popular with all, and in 1857 was elected judge of
Waupaca county and served in that capacity one term. In 1862 he was sent to
the state legislature and reelected in 1863 and again in 1865, receiving at
the time of his las election every vote cast in the county, a thing
unparalleled in the county and perhaps in the history of politics. In 1868
Mr. Osborn was appointed internal revenue collector for the fifth district
of Wisconsin, and on the consolidation of the third and fifth districts in
1872 he was reappointed collector for the newly formed district and served
in that office eleven years, with headquarters at Oshkosh. He also served
as United States deputy marshal in Waupaca county during the time of the
draft in 1864.
In 1883 he was appointed register of the land office at Bayfield,
Wisconsin, and served there five years, after which in the spring of 1888 he
turned his attention to private business, purchasing an interest in the
furniture establishment of O. McCorison at Nos. 80 and 82 Main street,
Oshkosh. He retired from active business in 1891.
In 1856 Mr. Osborn married Miss Sarah F., daughter of Samuel and Sarah
Chandler, of Waupaca county, who died in 1868, leaving besides her husband
four children surviving -- Addie E., Albert L., Arthur R. and Blanche. In
1872 Mr. Osborn married Jennie E. Peck, who survives him and lives in
Burlington, Vermont. In all his varied relations Mr. Osborn was known for
his honorable methods, and as a public servant held the confidence and
esteem of all by his consistent life and faithfulness to duty. He was a
Republican in politics and belonged to the Masonic order, being a Royal Arch
Bio. of James A. Osborn
Portrait and Biographical Album of Green Lake, Marquette and
Waushara Counties, Wisconsin, Acme Publishing Co., 1890.
Page 628. (Transcript)
JAMES A. OSBORN, who resides on section 4 in the town of Oxford, Marquette
County, where he is engaged in general farming, was born in Erie County,
Pa., Oct. 28, 1838, and belongs to one of the early established families of
New York. His parents, Leonard and Betsy (Thyer) Osborn, were natives of
Western New York, whence they removed to the Keystone State. They became
residents of Adams County, Wis., in 1842, and are now residents of Shawano
County, Mr. Osborn being seventy-three years of age, while his wife is in
her seventieth year. The mother of Leonard Osborn, and the grandmother of
our subject, is living at the very advanced age of ninety years, and makes
her home with a daughter in Rock County. A family of eight children, four
sons and four daughters, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Osborn, but only two are
living -- James and Mrs. Lydia Boyington, of Shawano County. Two of the
sons were soldiers in the late war: George, a member of the 32d Wisconsin
Infantry, fell a victim to disease after a few months' service and died in
the hospital at Washington, D.C. Charles W. enlisted in the 4th Wisconsin
Infantry, but was transferred to the 4th Cavalry. He served during the war,
but contracted disease from which he died in April, 1867. The other members
of the family died in childhood.
In his youth James A. Osborn learned the carpenter's trade with his
father, who followed that occupation. He has made Wisconsin his home since
the age of four years, having resided under its territorial government for
six years and has made his home within its boundaries during its whole
existence as a State. When but nineteen years of age he was united in holy
bonds of matrimony with Miss Mary Ann Nixon, daughter of John and Margaret
Nixon, who were natives of County Down, Ireland, and Mrs. Nixon crossed the
Atlantic to America in 1849. For four years they resided in the Empire
State, when, in 1853, they came to Westfield. Unto them were born four
children, one of whom died in infancy. William is living in Jewell County,
Kansas; Sarah is the wife of John Worden, fo the town of Oxford, Marquette
County; and Mrs. Osborn completes the family.
The union of our subject and his wife was celebrated on the 28th of
October, 1857, and ahs been blessed with six children: Minerva, who is at
home; William, now a resident of Adams County, Wis.; John, who died in
Kansas, in January, 1885, in the twenty-fourth year of his age; Margaret,
wife of George Vroman; Walter, who is living in Oxford, Wis.; and Alice.
Mr. Osborn has resided on the farm which is now his home since 1871. He
devotes his attention almost exclusively to the cultivation and improvement
of his land, and now has a fine farm, which indicates the thrift and
enterprise of the owner. A stanch Republican is he, yet no politician. He
held the office of School Clerk for nine years and has been Town Treasurer
and Road Supervisor. Mr. and Mrs. Osborn are devoted members of the
Presbyterian Church, in which faith they have brought up their children, who
have also joined the same church.