Biography of James A. Van Osdol

JAMES A. VAN OSDOL. The bar of Madison County numbers Mr. Van Osdol among its leading and representative members. He has practiced in the courts here for twenty years, and controls a large and important clientage. He is the general attorney for the Union Traction Company of Indiana, one of the substantial and important corporations controlling interurban electric lines in this state. Prior to entering upon the practice of law Mr. Van Osdol gained distinctive success and prestige as a representative of the pedagogic profession, and he is known as a man of fine attainments and sterling character.

He was born in Ohio County, Indiana, August 4, 1860, and is a scion of sterling pioneer families of Indiana, within whose gracious borders were also born his parents, Boston W. and Rachael (Jenkins) Van Osdol. Like many another who has attained success in professional life James A. Van Osdol gained his initial experience in connection with the sturdy and benignant influences of the farm, the while he availed himself of the advantages of the district school in the vicinity of his home. Proving himself eligible for pedagogic honors, he began teaching in the district schools in his native County at the age of seventeen years, and continued in the profession for six years. In the meanwhile he had pursued the study of law, and moving to the city of Vevay, in Switzerland County, in 1884, he entered upon the practice of law there. The political situation in the County at that time was such that in a short time it afforded him the opportunity of election to the office of County superintendent of schools, and after serving one term in that office he returned to the practice of law.

In 1893 Mr. Van Osdol came to Madison County and established his home in the prosperous little city of Elwood, where he soon acquired a substantial practice and proved himself one of the resourceful and versatile members of the bar of the County. In 1895 he found it expedient to establish his home and professional headquarters at Anderson, the judicial center of the County, and here he entered into practice with Charles L. Henry and Byron Mc-Mahan in the practice of law. Later he joined with Mr. Henry and his associates in the organization of the *Union Traction Company, and early in the history of that organization Mr. Van Osdol was chosen its general attorney and has since continued as the head of its legal department. His official duties in this connection have demanded his interposition in many important affairs of the company, and he has represented the same in various cities along the interurban lines controlled by the corporation. He is a man of fine presence, is genial, sincere and direct, and though he has never manifested any desire to woo publicity he is known as a loyal and progressive citizen, and in politics he accords staunch allegiance to the Republican party.

Mr. Van Osdol was married in 1894 to Mrs. Mary F. Goodin, formerly Miss Gould, then a widow residing at Peru, Indiana, with her little son, Donald Goodin. Mr. Van Osdol also had a son, Robert, by a former marriage, and these four constituted the Van Osdol household when they moved to the city of Anderson, but in 1902 this little circle, was increased by the birth of Gould J. Van Osdol. At the present/ Robert is residing at Pasadena, California, and Donald is at Yorktown, Indiana.

Van Osdol,


Madison County IN,

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914.

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