Biography - A. L. Osborn

A. L. OSBORN. One of the best improved farms in Flat Branch Township, section 18, Shelby County, is that upon which the gentleman whose name is at the head of this sketch resides, having retired from the active management of agricultural business. Mr. Osborn has one hundred and eighty acres in the farm on which he resides, all of which is well improved land; he also owns forty acres near the homestead. He purchased this land and settled on it in March, 1865, it then being all unbroken prairie. Since then he has made it a comfortable home place and has been successful in his undertakings as a general farmer. He came to his present location from Macoupin County, where he had lived near Gillespie for some years. He formerly lived in Jersey and Greene Counties, having improved some property in both places.

Our subject came to this State when a boy, with his parents. They early settled in Sangamon County, and the young man went with them to Greene County, where he grew to manhood and was married. He was born in Athens County, Ohio, August 15, 1822, and is the son of Moses and the grandson of Josiah Osborn, the latter being a native of Long Island, and of Welsh parents and ancestors. He was one of eleven sons, all born on Long Island. He served as a soldier through the Revolutionary War and followed the calling of a farmer. He lived to be an old man, his death probably occurring in Connecticut. His son Moses Osborn and our subject's father, was one of a large family and was born in Connecticut, where he grew up and learned the trade of a smith. He later became an itinerant preacher, and was thus engaged during part of the War of 1812, and although he was not an active participant in that struggle, he saw many of its results. He was married in New York to Miss Judith Francis, a native of the Island of Guernsey, who came of French parentage. She was fifteen years of age when her father and mother moved to America and settled in New York, where they lived for some years, and later came to Ohio, there passing away after attaining a good old age. Their decease occurred in Athens County.

After marriage Moses Osborn and wife settled in Athens County, Ohio, in an early day and there began pioneer life. They lived there for some years, making many improvements upon the farm that they had secured. After the birth of five children, all of whom were sons, in 1826 they left Ohio to come to this State. They came by way of the overland route with teams, living a camp life while on the road. After a number of days of tedious journeying, they reached and located near Springfield. They, however, stayed here but a comparatively short time when they proceeded to Greene County, where they secured a farm to which they bent their energies to improve. There both Moses Osborn and wife spent the remainder of their lives, and there died, being at the time of their decease, about eighty-three years old. They were among the first and most influential old settlers in that county, and were prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at a time when church membership meant more than it does now. Much of Mr. Osborn's life had been spent in active church work.

The original of our sketch is one of the youngest of five sons and one daughter. He remained with his parents until he became of age. He was married in Greene County, February 25, 1850, to Miss Sarah E. Pruitt, who was born in Greene County, this State, March 11, 1835. She is a daughter of James R. and Mahala (Ambrose) Pruitt, natives of Illinois and Virginia, respectively. Mr. Pruitt was one of the very first while children born in the southern part of the State. James R. Pruitt was the son of William Pruitt, who was in this State in the very early part of the present century, or before that time, and was engaged in the struggle with the Indians, prior to the War of 1812. He carried a bullet to his grave received in a battle with the Indians. Mrs. Mahala Pruitt 's father was also an early settler in Illinois and was engaged in the War of 1812, having been crippled in battle. His name was William Ambrose.

James R. Pruitt and wife were married in Illinois and lived in Madison County for some time, later removing to Greene County, where they secured and improved a new farm. They were very early pioneer settlers and were obliged to begin life in a most primitive way. The bridal costumes for both bride and groom were of homespun, and they had only wooden dishes to begin housekeeping with and a wooden bed, built of boards in a corner of the room in which they lived. They drove ox-teams to church, but made as much sunshine as possible out of the circumstances with which they were compelled to conform. They spent their last days in Greene County and there died. Mr. Pruitt at sixty-two years of and his wife at eighty-three. Mrs. Pruitt was a member of the Baptist Church.

Mrs. Osborn and her brother William, are all of the family at present living. The lady was reared to womanhood in her native county, she is the mother of eight children, two of whom are deceased, Amanda and Oscar F. The living children are James A., Richard F., Mary B., Janet A., Lewis W. and Luther A. The eldest living son is the husband of Alice Cotar and lives in this township on a farm. Richard took to wife Lou Minnie Cotar, now deceased. He lives in Christian County, and has married a second time, his present wife having been a Miss Mary Winters. Mary B. is the wife of I. F. Haverfield, and lives in Vermillion County, Ill. Janet A. is the wife of William Manly, a farmer in this township. Lewis W. is a farmer in Christian County. He married Maggie English. Luther is also a farmer in Christian County and took to wife Fanny Zeitz. Mr. and Mrs. Osborn are members of the Evangelical Association. Our subject is an Independent in politics, not wedded to party, but voting for the man whom he believes to he best qualified to fill the position.

Mr. and Mrs. Osborn are both intelligent and educated people. They have reared a family of sons and daughters who have proved to be of exceptional mental caliber and with high ideas of principle.

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 434-436.

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