Biography of William Bushnell Osborne

William Bushnell Osborne, ex-sheriff of Ontario county, New York, has been an earnest worker in the interests of the Republican party since his early manhood. In addition to having been instrumental in furthering plans for many improvements in that section of the country he has been one of the most successful and enterprising farmers of the vicinity of the town in which he lives. He and his children are eligible to membership in the society of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, several members of the family having borne their share bravely and gallantly in the famous Revolutionary struggle. The family is of English origin, members of the Osborne family having settled on Long Island in colonial days.

David Osborne, grandfather of the above mentioned, was born in East Hampton, Long Island, and there engaged in building and in connection owned and operated a farm in Columbia county, as was the occupation of the majority of the settlers in those days. Later he migrated to Columbia, New York, and there followed the same occupation with success.

David Henry, son of David Osborne, was born in Austerlitz, Columbia county, New York, November ii, 18i9, and died January 26, 1905. He removed to Victor, Ontario county, New York, in the winter of 1835, making the journey in a stage coach, the only mode of travel in those days, with the exception of ox teams or horseback. The first position in his new place of abode was as a clerk in the general store of Nathan Jenks, which he retained for one year, and then engaged in the dry goods business in association with Mr. Pierce, of Rochester, New York. Subsequently he sold his interest in this enterprise, settled on a farm on the borders of Victor, which was the old Bushnell homestead, and engaged in its cultivation. In addition to this he conducted a business in Freedom for a period of two years. The farm which he settled became the homestead of the family, and each generation has enriched it by systematic and improved nodes of cultivation. About 1855 he erected a substantial brick dwelling, the doors and sashes of which were made by hand, inside the house, after it had been enclosed, during the winter months. From time to time improvements have been introduced, until at the present time (1910) it is modern in every respect, fully equipped with furnace, baths, electric facilities, and is pointed out as one of the most commodious houses in the section. Mr. Osborne was a supporter of Democratic principles until the organization of the Republican party, which he was one of the first to join, and always gave it his staunch support. He was a devout church attendant, and served as an elder of the Presbyterian church for many years. Mr. Osborne married, January 5, 1847, Lovina Amelia, who was born October 4. 1830. and died April 13, 1906, daughter of William Bushnell, who came from Berkshire, New Hampshire, and settled in Victor. Children: William Bushnell, see forward; Cora Bushnell, born September 13, 1857. is unmarried: Carrie Bushnell, born April 20, 1859, married Hon. Mark T. Powell, at present residing in Victor, formerly engaged in law practice in Canandaigua; Henry Bushnell, born July 10, 1863, died September 4, 1865.

William Bushnell, eldest child of David Henry and Lovina Amelia (Bushnell) Osborne, was born in Victor, Ontario county, New York, October 26, 1852. His elementary education was received in the district schools, and he then became a student at the Canandaigua Academy. During his early years he assisted his father in the cultivation of the homestead farm; to which property he later succeeded and which is now (1910) comprised in the limits of Victor village. This farm has been the object of his greatest care, and with the exception of the years he spent as sheriff he has given it his personal attention. Some years ago he purchased another farm consisting of ninety acres, located outside of the corporation of Victor. His political affiliations have always been with the Republican party, and the esteem and respect in which he is held by his follow townsmen is fully attested by the fact that he has been elected to fill a number of public offices of trust and responsibility. As supervisor of Victor his administration was so efficient that he was elected to succeed himself. After the expiration of this second term he was elected to the office of sheriff of the county, in the fall of 1894 for a term of three years. At present (1910) he is a member of the board of education, in which body he has been an efficient member for many years. His religious affiliations are with the Presbyterian church, and he has served as a trustee of his church for many years.

Mr. Osborne married, at Rochester, New York, January 5; 1881, Laura, born in Rochester, October 20, 1857, daughter of Angus McDonald, a prominent lawyer of Rochester. Children: 1. David Henry, born March. 15, 1883; received an excellent education and was graduated from Williams College, 1905, then took a post-graduate course in electrical engineering at Union College, Schenectady, New York, from which he was graduated as one of the honor students of the class of 1907. After devoting some months in active work in his chosen profession, he was compelled by impaired health to renounce it in favor of outdoor employment. He has accordingly taken up farming as his life work, lives with his parents, and superintends the cultivation of the homestead farm of one hundred and ten acres. 2. William Bushnell Jr., born November 25, 1884; was graduated from Williams College in class of 1907. He then took a two years’ course at Yale University, in the Forestry School, and was graduated in 1909. At present he is in the employ of the United States Government, in the Division of Forestry, with his headquarters at Portland, Oregon. He married Lura Esther Cooly, of Canandaigua, New York. 3. Elizabeth McDonald, born February 5, 1890; is now (1910) in her junior year at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts. 4. Cora Lavinia, born September 24, 1891, died April 2, 1894. 5. Ruth McDonald, born March 7, 1897, is a student at the high school in Victor.



Ontario County NY,

Milliken, Charles F. The History of Ontario County, New York, and Its People Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York. 1911.

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