William Osborn, of Rockvale Township is one of the most extensive farmers of that municipality, and is a pioneer of Ogle County of 1848. He is a native of England and was born in Northamptonshire, Feb. 14, 1822. His parents, George and Hannah (Webster) Osborn, were both natives of the same country where their son was born. His father was a farmer, and, about 1832, emigrated to this continent accompanied by his wife and four children.
He located in the town of Hudson, in Columbia Co., N.Y., and was a resident there five years. He went thence to Oneida County in the same State, where he bought a farm on which he lived until 1846. In that year he sold out and came to Illinois. He located at first in Winnebago County where he bought a farm and entered upon the career of a pioneer. He continued to live there until his death. His first wife died in Oneida Co., N.Y., and he was there married to Rhoda Miller, after the loss of the wife he had married in his native country. The issue of the former marriage was five children: Joseph died in Texas and left a wife and child; William is the next in order; George lives in California; Anna died in infancy; Phebe A. is the wife of Ezra Evans and they live in Byron.
Mr. Osborn was 10 years old when his parents came to the United States. He had acquired considerable education in his native country, and while the family resided in Hudson he attended school. He also acted in the capacity of a clerk there, and remained in his situation two years after the removal of his father¹s family to Oneida County. After joining the family there, he operated as the assistant of his father on the farm, with the exception of the winter seasons when he attended school. He also worked in a blast-furnace.
When he was 21 years of age he rented a farm which he managed until 1848. It was a dairy-farm and he conducted a prosperous business, after which he came to Illinois as has been stated. His family and household came by the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and from there traveled by steamer to Chicago, where he was met by his father. The latter came from Oneida County with a team, prepared to convey the family and belongings of the son to his place of residence there and they passed the ensuing summer in that county.
In the fall he came to Ogle County and passed the winter in the household of his brother. In the spring he bought 80 acres of land on section 12 in the township which is now called Rockvale. There was a log house on the place and a garden spot had been plowed. These constituted the improvements. On that he commenced his career as a farmer of the great State of Illinois. In 1851 he bought the Byron Ferry, which he owned and managed 18 years. He has added to his real estate from time to time, until he is the proprietor of more than 500 acres of land which includes timber, bottom and upland prairie, all the varieties which make a farm in a prairie State valuable. It is situated three miles from Byron and is supplied with never-failing water.
Mr. Osborn was married to his present wife (Julia Ann Hutchins) Jan 9, 1863, in Burton, McHenry Co., Ill., and they have one child living, Fred Leon by a former marriage Mr. Osborn had three daughters and two sons, as follows: Morris P., W. Ballard, Theresa, Addie M. and Ida. Politically Mr. Osborn is a Republican.
I added Julia’s name here in the last paragraph in parentheses. And their son was Fred Leon, not Fred F. As you saw in Julia’s obit, William’s daughter Louisa Adelaide (Addie) married William H. Mix – I think you have some info on the Mix family and some are buried in the Byron cemetery.
Submitted by Bob Hutchins
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