History of Osborn, Wisconsin
From: History of Outagamie County, Wilsonsin
Thomas H. Ryan - Editor in Chief
Goodspeed Historical Allociates, Publishers
Chicago 1911

Town of Osborn. - The early settlement of the town of Osborn was slow and until 1858, ten years after the coming of the first family, but little in the way of development and less of public improvement had been accomplished. Duncan McNabb settled on the northeast quarter of section 30 where he established his home, cleared his farm, and resided until his death in 1892. He was joined in 1849 by his brother Robert in the same section, and in September, 1850, by his son, Peter, who was the first white child born in Osborn. Robert McNabb later removed to the town of Center living in southeast section 13. These families were Scotch. The next corners were Irish, Thaddeus McCormick, who came in the early fall of 1849 to land purchased the previous year. In this family were grown sons Patrick, John and Timothy who, though corning at the same time, did not immediately make settlement. 'THere was no industry in Osborn by which a living could be made until clearings were formed and crops produced. These young men found employment outside for several years, at intervals working in the clearing; and all acquiring lands in the vicinity. Patrick after his father's death in 1856 continued the development of the homestead in which he had been interested from the beginning, on which he still resides, the only survivor of those who settled before 1850 in Osborn.

Albert Simpson came in 1852 to section 32 afterward sold to Charley Miller. who was among the first of the German settlers, and removed to the southwest quarter of 33, where his son Charles still resides. Mr. Simpson found on his first purchase, a small log house, and a clearing left by a former occupant. Several families from the "Hoosier Colony" in Freedom had extended the settlement into Osborn but after making a few improvements sold to later comers and moved away, their identity is lost. James Simpson in 1853 secured land in section 30, began clearing a farm and making a home to which two years later he brought his wife from Michigan. By reason of his exertion, and influence in securing the separation of Osborn from Freedom he has been called the father of Osborn James Daniels came in January, 1859, to southeast 18, John C. Hartman a little later to section 34, and by April of that year James Kelly. John Loucks had settled in 18,y William, John and Samuel Knox in 8, F M Manley in 6, Watson Manley in section 18 and D. B. Sitllman. Later in the year, Sewell Shepherd came to section 5 when he cleared a farm, later removing to Appleton.

George W. Shepherd came to the same section the following year making a farm upon which he resided until his death, 1872. He was a blacksmith and opened his shop across the road in what later became Seymour. This was the first shop of which there is record in either Osborn or Seymour, and was later operated by Sewell Shepherd. Allen A. Shepherd came about the same time.

There were no roads in Osborn up to 1859 except the "Appleton Road" which could be traveled, as far as Duncan McNabb's in section 30, though not on the line as at present, but about 25 or 30 rods east. Settlers coming in in the fall of that year having "as good a team of horses as you could find" were stuck with a load of about five hundred weight of tools and supplies and required two yoke of oxen to help them through to the location on the town line. Settlers coming in the spring f 1860 found the road closed by fallen trees and had to go up through Oneida settlement employing Indians to cut a way from about the site of the government school to their location on the town line. In order to improve the road leading to Osborn the Appleton merchants subscribed in one day late in October $100 for that purpose, in order to secure the trade of that growing town. Among others who came before the war were L. Dallas who lived on Duncan McNabb's farm and J. L. Dyer who settled what is now the Wendt place. Alonzo Jackson and John Whyte.

Samuel Knox of Osborn said in January, 1861, that two years before there were only four families in the whole town, and that now there were about thirty and the prospects were that by March there would not be less than forty.

During the war period development of the town was seriously checked though settlement continued. The repeated calls for volunteers so reduced the male population that "at one time," Herman Husman asserts, "there were but three able bodied men remaining in Osborn, two of whom were too old for:military service, the other not a citizen."

Among those who came during the war were Martin Wandke in section 6, and John Nuremberg on the north town line, both Germans, and John Rowell, an Englishman, Arnold Carter bought in southeast section 6 but did not settle until two years later.

Nelson Carter and C. C. Wilson about the same time. Herman Husman who for five years had lived just over the line in Seymour bought and settled his present Homestead in 1864 on southeast section 5. The Sharps, James, George ana William, came about that time and belonged to the "Canada settlement" in the northeast part of town. John Crosswaite lived below Simpson, N. S. Conklin on the Appleton road and Lohman near the Canada settlers, among wHom were Sanford, Emory, John and Carlyle Sherman, Henry Heagle of the same settlement, came about the same time with his family. His sons James, Jake, Ransom and John, and three daughters who afterward became Mrs. R. C. McIntire, Mrs. A. Stewart and Mrs. Dave Sherman, Nicholas Schaumberg came before the Canadians to northeast Osborn. Henry Peoteer directly after the war came to the northwest corner of Osborn.

From this time on the influx Of German families was greater than of other nationalities. The German settlers were willing to assume the heavier obligations imposed by lands already partly improved, and early in the '70s had a majority of the population, which has since increased to perhaps 92 per cent. Among the German people who cleared their land "from the wild" was Henry Schroeder who homesteaded in section 29, Louis and Henry Goering in section 30, Anton Bloomer in 31 on the Black Creek line. On the Freedom line were John Bobzen, John Maas and Karl Ellis. Others were Diedrick Starr, Karl Rohm, William Eick in section 8. Charles Eick in 17 settled early. August and Fred Sachs in 16 on the Reservation line and Henry Spaude in 20, Frederick Ballheim and Henry Baker. John Uecke bought out Allen A. Shepherd about 1868 and started a nursery for fruit trees, evergreen and shade trees and by the time the railroad was completed had quite a fruit farm.

In December, 1868, a farmer named Wilson, while going on foot from the town of Osborn to the town of Black Creek and when near the former, was attacked by a large and savage panther. The man took to a tree, but the panther followed and buried its teeth and claws in his leg. He had no weapon to defend himself, but finally succeeded in scaring off the animal and escaping. He managed, though badly torn, to walk a mile and a half to a lumber camp where he fell exhausted from loss of blood, which it was stated, nearly filled his boots. He was rudely taken care of until a doctor from Hortonville could be secured. As soon as the facts became known a large party turned out to settle accounts with the panther. After a time the dogs succeeded in finding its trail which they followed into a dense, almost impenetrable swamp and there finally lost all traces of it.

A postoffice called South Osborn was established in. 1869 in the southern part of the town of Osborn.

In establishing the town of Osborn, the board of supervisors set off from the town of Freedom all the territory in townships 23 and 24 north, ranges 18 and 19 east, lying west of the Oneida Reservation. embracing within its boundaries that which is now comprised in both Osborn and Seymour. The name it bears commemorates an early settler of township 24, William: M. Ausbourne, who was identified with the interests and welfare of the town until its division. in 1867, when he perforce resided in Seymour.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Duncan McNabb, the first settler, April, 1859, And was organized by appointing Albert Simpson chairman, James Simpson and James Daniels, inspectors, and Watson Manley, clerk.

The officers chosen at this election were, Albert Simpson, chairman; James Daniels and John Loucks, supervisor; Watson Manley clerk; James Simpson, treasurer; James Kelly, superintendent of schools; James Simpson, sealer of weights and measures; William Ausbourne, James Simpson, John Loucks and Albert Simpson, justices of peace; John Ausbourne, James Kelly and John Hartman constables; James Kelly and John McCormick, overseers of highway.

Highway improvement was the first consideration of the new town, and it was, determined to raise forty dollars for building a bridge across Duck Creek, on the Appleton road between sections 17 and 18. A modest sum was considered sufficient to conduct the affairs of the town, eighty dollars being voted for that purpose.

The newly elected town board held their first meeting at John Louck's, April 16 and divided the town into two road districts. No. 1 embracing all the land lying west the quarter line in sections 32, 29, 17, 8 and 5 in township 23 and, all of township 24. All of lands lying east of this quarter line to be included in district No. 2. It was determined also at this meeting that seven mills be the assessment for highways.

June 11, 1859. Superintendent Kelly announced the formation of School District No. 1, to include all of township 23 west of a line drawn through the centers of sections 32 and 29 to the Reservation and also including all west of the Reservation north of its southwest corner in townships 23 and 24, making the district twelve miles long, about seven and a half miles wide at the north end and one and one half at the southern.

Just where the schoolhouse was located cannot be determined from the records but probably not far from the present location in section 19.

July 9, 1859, "James Daniels. a taxable inhabitant of School district No. 1" was directed to notify every qualified voter of the district to attend the first meeting to be held therein at the home of John Loucks, July 16. On the twelfth Mr. Daniels certified that he had notified the following: Sewell Shepherd, William Knox. F. M. Manley, Watson Manley, John Loucks and James Simpson, presumably all who had interest in the meeting. The record does not show when the schoolhouse was built but probably not long after this school meeting since it is said Scott Daniels taught the first term in 1859 and the town meeting, April 3, 1869. "adjourned to the school house."

May 12, 1860, a new school district was formed of the north halves of sections 7 to 13 inclusive and all of the town lying north. This was to provide a school for the town line settlement which filled rapidly, 1859 and 1860, though the town line road was not established until June 20, 1860.

Though District No. 2 was formed in May, 1860, the site of the school house. the southeast corner of the west half of the southwest quarter of section 32 in township 24, was not surveyed until April 13, 1861, and the school house, a low log building. it is said, was built in 1862. The first school in the district was taught by Mrs. Frank M. Manley, who held her sch000l under shade trees, and another term of school was held in a log shanty before the school house was built.

"It is believed there is but one claim against the town, of a small amount, which has not been presented, the balance of the funds will, in the opinion of this board, be amply sufficient to liquidate all just claims, leaving the town out of debt at the end of the fiscal year.

"We have compared the report of the treasurer with his vouchers and find it all correct, and would suggest the propriety of continuing him in office another year. The experience of the past year has demonstrated the necessity of having some of our roads established by survey. We would therefore recommend that a sum be raised for that purpose, also a small sum for the support of the poor, otherwise in case of necessity it would be a charge upon the contingent fund to which it does not properly belong. During the year there have been no new roads established; from present appearances there will be a call for some during the next, if so it will call for increased expenses. In view of these we would suggest the propriety of raising the following amounts for the different funds respectively. For surveying, chaining, recording and general expenses chargeable to the contingent fund $150; for a poor fund $25. For a highway fund, seven mills, which in connection with a very respectable delinquent fund, will in the opinion of this Board not be more than necessary for the next ensuing year. All of which is respectfully submitted. Albert. Simpson, John S. Loucks, James Daniels." At this annual town meeting twenty two votes were polled. 'The population was about eighty or ninety. The value of personal property had reached $2,630.00 while the real estate was $35,400.53.

The town has always been able to meet its obligations without issuing bonds. In 1864 when in addition to its other expenses, six hundred dollars was voted to secure volunteers for army service, the amount was raised by a levy on the assessment of the previous year.

Osborn has now reached that period in her existence when her population instead of increasing shows a reduction, falling in the decade 1900 to 1910 from 656 to 570.

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