Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

One Township's Yesterdays Chapter XXVII  


The OSBORN family, originating in the East, drifted westward from New York, through Pennsylvania and Ohio, to Starke County, Indiana. Pioneering close to the Union Township line, it is natural that members of the family should drift again, this time over the line eastward, but only a little bit, for they remained in and around Culver.

The earliest American ancestors of the family were New Yorkers, the paternal grandfather, JAMES OSBORN, having been born in the Empire State July 21, 1774. The family removed to Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and afterward to Delaware County, Ohio, where James died January 12, 1844.

GEORGE M. OSBORN was one of the sons born in Luzerne County (July 30, 1802), who came to Delaware County with his parents and there spent the remainder of his life. He married ANNA HULL, a native of New Jersey, born in 1806, who in her childhood also removed to Delaware County with her parents. Their marriage occurred in 1822. The children were
    John W.

The elder Mr. OSBORN, with his family, removed from Delaware County to Starke in 1844. Both parents died there during the year of their location. The eldest of the six children thus bereft was twenty-one and the youngest, Samuel, was but four.

SAMUEL OSBORN was born in Delaware County, January 18, 1840. For about five years after the death of his parents, he remained with his brothers and sisters, but at the age of nine he went to live with his brother William, who had just married. _ At this time," says MC DONALD, "Starke county was a wild and sparsely settled region, and when the family first located within its limits there were but five other white families in that section of the state. Samuel attended the first school organized in the county, held in a crude log house, and within its walls imbibed what education he could. But he was a sturdy, ambitious boy, and early saw the necessity of individual exertion as a duty he owed to other members of the orphaned family. He recalls the proud period of his life when, as a young boy, he earned his first money in digging snake root and selling it to the good people of Plymouth. With the proceeds of his sale he purchased two calves. In the following summer he went to Illinois and worked upon a farm for eight dollars per month, which enabled him to maintain both himself and his infant herd. In fact, before long he had saved twenty dollars in gold and had become the owner of four more calves. From this small beginning his perseverance and thrift enabled him within a few years to start himself well on the road as a prosperous cattleman. In 1863 he sold the sixty head of cattle of which he was the owner and paid $1,700 in cash for an eighty-acre tract of farm land in North Bend township. Upon it he erected a log cabin as his bachelor home and there he lived alone until his marriage with HENRIETTA RICE in 1867." She died in 1883, the mother of four children, three daughters and one son, the eldest, who at the age of four was scalded to death. SAMUEL OSBORN lived until 1871 in a log cabin on his Starke County farm, then erected a farm house and added eighty acres to the place. In time he accumulated 315 acres, and in 1900 moved to Culver to live a retired life. He passed away October 29, 1932, aged close to ninety-three years.

WILLIAM OSBORN was born in Delaware County, Ohio, and from there moved to Starke County, Indiana, in 1840, and engaged in farming there until his removal to Culver. His wife, LOUISA J. OWENS, died some time prior to 1908. His own death occurred December 8, 1921. He was somewhat over ninety-four years of age. "Uncle Billy," as he was familiarly known, was an authority on the weather, and his opinions were often quoted, especially during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. He kept a careful record of weather conditions and changes, including the number of snows in a season and the total inches of snowfall. He was a keen observer.

JOHN OSBORN, a son of William, was born in 1859 in North Bend Township, Starke County, live miles northwest of Culver, and left his boyhood home in 1879 for Union Township, where he became active in various pursuits and businesses and contributed largely to the upbuilding of the community. He is still, in 1934, a resident of Culver and is as active as ever in his various enterprises.

It is interesting to note that the first OSBORN family reunion was held on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee, September 11, 1904, at which there were present, among other relatives from far and near, William, John and Samuel, the oldest brothers. On the occasion of the second annual family reunion, celebrated September 3, 1905, at Vandalia Park in Culver, the early history of the family was recounted by William and Samuel.

It was related that GEORGE M. OSBORN, the founder of this branch of the family, moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and from Ohio to Eagle Lake, Starke County, when only five other families lived in the county. After living five years there, he and his wife both died, leaving a family of six orphan children to care for themselves alone in the wilderness. Four of these children

were living within about twelve miles of the old home place, at the time of this second reunion. One hundred and six descendants, it was then noted, had sprung from the GEORGE M. OSBORN family. Among those who gave remarks at the reunion were John, of Culver, and Wesley, of Ober. Miss MAUDE OSBORN was also present.