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OSBORNE, William Nelson

William Nelson OSBORNE, who carries on general farming on section 36, Whitefield township, was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, on the 5th of May, 1845, and is a son of Milton and Margaret (HAMILTON) OSBORNE. They, too, were natives of the Keystone state. The father became a carpenter and builder and continued his residence in the east until 1854, when he came to Illinois, settling at Sparland, Marshall county. For some time thereafter he was employed by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad at Sparland and subsequently at Lacon. He then turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits, which he followed in Whitefield township, Marshall county, and in Livingston county. He was a man of enterprise and perseverance and worked diligently to achieve the measure of success which he enjoyed. He died about sixteen years ago, while his wife passed away twelve years ago. In their family of six children two are now living, the brother of our subject being Scott OSBORNE, who resides at Lacon.

William Nelson OSBORNE began his education in the public schools of Pennsylvania and continued his studies after the removal of the family to Illinois, which event occurred when he was about nine years of age. He was then a student in Livingston county until he permanently put aside his text-books and gave his father the benefit of his services in the operation of the home farm. He afterward worked at farm labor for others and throughout his entire life he has carried on general agricultural pursuits. He came to his present place of residence about seven years ago and here has two hundred and ten acres of land which he rents and which he is now tilling. His fields indicate thorough care and his farm is pervaded by an air of neatness and thrift that is indicative of the business characteristics of Mr. OSBORNE.

Few men of Mr. OSBORNE’s years can claim a military record of service in the Civil war. In his sixteenth year he enlisted in the Twentieth Illinois Infantry and he served for three months in the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Regiment of Illinois Infantry, being too young to enter the army prior to that time. His years, however, were no bar to his valor and loyalty, which were equal to that of many a man twice his age.

On the 6th of July, 1873, Mr. OSBORNE was married to Miss Clara BONHAM, a daughter of William and Amanda BONHAM, both now deceased. Her parents were early settlers of this part of the state and her father was a farmer and merchant of Sparland. Unto Mr. and Mrs. OSBORNE have been born five children: Edna, the wife of John RIDDELL, of Sparland; Louis, also of Sparland; Scott, at home; Mary, who is engaged in teaching school in Sparland; and Flora, who is yet under the parental roof.

Mr. OSBORNE is an Odd Fellow, belonging to Sparland lodge, No. 212, in which he has filled all of the chairs. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party. These associations indicate much of the character of the man, who is true to the teachings of the fraternity. It is no unusual thing for the American citizen to work his way upward from a humble financial position to one of affluence but the record is none the less worthy, for it indicates a force of character that at all times merits admiration and respect. Such has been the history of William Nelson OSBORNE.

Extracted 18 May 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.

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