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Morrow County,  Ohio
History & Genealogy


Memorial Record
of the
Counties of Delaware, Union & Morrow,

Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co




MAJOR JAMES OLDS. ––It is now our privilege to take briefly under review the life history of one who has attained a marked prestige in the line of his profession, that of law; who has rendered to the nation the valiant service of a patriotic and loyal son of the republic, and whose history in an ancestral way touches the early pioneer days when the courageous settlers took up their abode in rude cabins in the midst of the sylvan wilds of the Buckeye State and lent themselves to its reclamation.   What better subject for biographic honors could be asked for in this connection?
     James Olds
was born in that portion of Delaware county, Ohio, which was subsequently incorporated in the present county of Morrow, on the 4th of October, 1823, and to-day he is an honored and venerable resident of the county of his nativity, having for many years maintained his home and fields of operation in the official center of the county, Mt. Gilead.   His father was Rev. Benjamin Olds, a native of Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where he was born May 1, 1795.  By occupation he was a farmer and a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  His parents, who were Eastern people, located in the Old Keystone State and thence came to Delaware county, Ohio, settling in Oxford township in 1807 or 1808, and being among the very first settlers in the county.  The father of our subject was only fourteen years of age when his parents removed to this State.
     The mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Abigail Washburn, was born in the State of New York, in July, 1805, and came with her parents to Delaware county, Ohio, when but three years of age, ––her parents also having been among the very early settlers in Delaware county.  The marriage of Benjamin Olds and Abigail Washburn was solemnized in Delaware county, in October, 1822, and shortly after this event they settled in the woods of Westfield township, where they built a hewed log house, and there remained, devoting themselves to the reclamation and improvement of the place, until 1862, when the father of our subject was called to enter the life eternal, being sixty-eight years of age at the time of his death.  In politics he was originally a Whig, but united with the Republican party at the time of its organization.  He was Justice of the Peace for many years, and was County Commissioner at the time the organization of Morrow county was effected.  He was a man of broad intelligence and one of much prominence in this section of the State, having been known throughout the length and breadth of the extended circuit which he covered as a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The mother of our subject died, at his home in Mt. Gilead, August 31, 1889, having attained the venerable age of eighty-five years.  They were the parents of eleven children, ––nine sons and two daughters, ––all of whom lived to attain maturity, a brief record of their lives being here incorporated: James, the eldest of the family, is the subject of this review; Henry, who married and reared a family, died in Illinois, November 18, 1856; Luther married, reared a family and died in 1893, at Cleveland, Ohio: Dr. Abner died August 10, 1856, soon after he had begun the practice of his profession; Sanford was a soldier in the late war of the Rebellion, was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga, and died from the effects of his injuries, January 28, 1864; Jane died September 13, 1872; Miles died May 10, 1870, leaving a widow and two children; Lester married and is now a resident of Labette county, Kansas; Chauncey was a soldier in the late civil war, and died November 9, 1862, as a result of wounds received in the battle of Murfreesboro; Mary is the wife of Wilbert Granger, of Delaware county, Ohio; Hon. Walter Olds, who is the youngest of the family, studied law with his brother, our subject, and was duly admitted to the bar, eventually taking up his residence in Whitley county, Indiana, from which he was elected to the Senate of that State: he held preferment as Circuit Judge for four years, and was later elected Judge of the Supreme Court of Indiana, an office which he resigned, and is now engaged in the practice of his profession in Chicago, Illinois, being one of the leading lawyers of the Garden City, and having office headquarters in rooms 1113-14, Tacoma Building.
     Major James Olds
, the immediate subject of this review, was born in one of the first log houses erected in Delaware county, this State, and the old farm where he first ope’d wondering eyes is still in his possession.  His first scholastic discipline was received in one of the primitive log school houses, with slab benches, wide fire-places and meagre accessories.  He remained on the old homestead, assisting in its improvement and cultivation, until he had attained the age of eighteen years, when he made his initial effort on his own responsibility by engaging to teach a district school.  Just when budding ambition gave itself a definite aim is difficult to say, but certain it is that our subject looked out and beyond the narrowed mental horizon of the farm home, which was one in which culture and refinement were not absent and one in which aspirations for a wider sphere of usefulness were readily enkindled.
     Accordingly we find that in 1843 James matriculated as a student at Delaware College, in the village of Delaware, Ohio, being one of the first students in that institution, and having as a fellow-student the young man who eventually became the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Ohio, John C. Lee, deceased.  He remained in the college until the fall of 1844, when he went to Indiana and there engaged in school teaching for a time, returning to Delaware within the succeeding year and there entering the office of Judge Sherman Finch, under whose preceptorship he continued the study of law until his admission to the bar in 1848, ––the year which marked the organization of Morrow county.  While pursuing his professional studies he had taught school at intervals, and had thus been enabled to defray his incidental expenses.
     After his admission to the bar, Major Olds located in Mount Gilead and entered upon the active practice of his profession, in which he has since continued consecutively in this place during all the long intervening years, with but one year’s interruption, ––that which called him forth in defense of his country’s honor.
     In 1861 he was commissioned a recruiting officer and organized the first full company (Company D, Sixty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry), known as a part of the Sherman Brigade.  He was commissioned Major of the regiment named, but resigned in 1862, by reason of disability.  Since that time he has been engaged in practice in Mount Gilead, being recognized as one of the representative and most able lawyers of the county, and as one whose honor is above reproach.  He is a stanch Republican, but has never sought or accepted official preferment in the gift of his party, ––a record which is most exceptional when office-seeking has been an almost unvarying concomitant of the legal profession.
     Reverting, in conclusion, to the domestic pages of our honored subject’s life, we find that, on the last day of the year 1863, was consummated his marriage to Miss Anistasie Talmage, who was born in Gilead township, this county, in July, 1842, the daughter of James M. and Louisa (Newson) Talmage, the former of whom was a native of the State of New York, and one of the early settlers in this county; and the latter of whom was born in Maryland.  Mrs. Olds is the oldest of the four living children, and in her early years she was a successful and popular school teacher in this county.
     Major and Mrs. Olds
are the parents of three children, namely: Mame, born October 26, 1864, is the wife of W. R. Baxter, a leading lawyer of Canton, this State; Benjamin, born September 27, 1868, has been associated with his father in law practice for the past four years, having completed his literary education at the Ohio Wesleyan University, in Delaware; and W. Floyd, born April 6. 1884.
     In the line of fraternal affiliations our subject is identified with but one organization, the Grand Army of the Republic, retaining a membership in Hurd Post.

Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union & Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 185-187

Contributed by a Generous Genealogist.

JOHN H. OSBORN, a farmer of Bloomfield township, Morrow county, was born in New London, Connecticut, October 7, 1816, a son of Thomas Osborn.  His father was supposed to have been killed, and Thomas was bound out to a sea captain and taken on board ship at the age of seven years following the sea until he married and located on a farm in Connecticut.  He came to Knox county in 1816, purchased Government land, erected a log cabin, improved his farm, and died there at the age of sixty-eight years.  The mother of our subject, née Olive Manning, was born and reared in Connecticut, a daughter of Gilcrist Manning, of English descent.  Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Osborn were the parents of eight children, all of whom grew to years of maturity, namely: Abigail (deceased), Amanda (deceased), John H., James M., William N., Sarah Ann, Rilla and George (deceased).
     John H., the third child and eldest son, was brought to Knox, now Morrow county, when an infant.  At the age of sixteen years he left home to work at the cabinetmaker’s trade at Mount Vernon, but six months later returned home and assisted in building a sawmill on a branch of Dry creek.  He was next apprenticed to the carpenter and joiner’s trade, continuing that occupation four years, and erected many of the houses, barns and other buildings throughout Morrow and adjoining counties.  After his marriage, Mr. Osborn located on his present farm, in South Bloomfield township, which he has put under a fine state of cultivation, and erected a good residence.
     October 7, 1838, he was united in marriage with Nancy Sevare, a native of Knox county, Ohio, and a daughter of Jesse Sevare, one of the early pioneers of Knox county.  Mr. and Mrs. Osborn had seven children, viz: Douglas B., deceased; Clarinda, deceased; Thomas E., of Mount Gilead; Laduskey E., widow of Orange Holister and a resident of Mount Vernon; Byron H., of Bloomfield township; Mary J., at home; Rose L., wife of Thomas Scott, of Bloomfield township.  The wife and mother is deceased.  Mr. Osborn is a Deacon in the Christian Church, and is identified with the Republican party. 

Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union & Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 220-221

Contributed by a Generous Genealogist

WILLIAM N. OSBORN, Postmaster and farmer of Sparta, Morrow county, was born in a log house in Bloomfield township, June 24, 1824, a son of Thomas and Olive (Manning) OsbornWilliam N., the fifth child of his father’s family, received his education in a log school-house, and assisted his father on the farm and in the mill until twenty years of age.  He remained on the homestead for five years after his marriage.  In 1850 he located on an unimproved farm in South Bloomfield township, and lived for two years in a log cabin.  Mr. Osborn now owns 210 acres of well improved land.  In political matters, he affiliates with the Democratic party, and in 1894 was appointed Postmaster of Sparta.  In 1856 he was elected Justice of the Peace, haying held the position most of the time since, was Township Trustee for a time, Constable four years, and also judge of elections.  Socially he is a member of the Masonic order and the I. O. O. F., having been one of the first members of the latter order, No. 208, initiated at Sparta.
     Mr. Osborn was married in 1845, to Harriet Dustin, a native of Ohio.  They had three children: Melinda O., widow of William Jackson; Lucy J., wife of Miller Riley: and Ella, wife of Francis Harris.  The wife and mother departed this life in 1863.  For his second wife Mr. Osborn married Sarah Miller and they have had four children, namely: Delano, of Columbus, Ohio; David G., who resides on the old homestead; Mary, also at home, and Samuel C.

Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union & Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 486-487

Contributed by a Generous Genealogist


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