Joseph Freeman Osborn

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., May 25, 1868
Joseph Freeman Osborn Marker


The Harrison County Republican Convention was held at Clarksburg on the 16th inst., Nathan Goff, Sr., President and Dr. A. F. Barns and John A. Hursey Secretaries. The following is the list of delegates to the State Convention:

Coal–James M. Mines, John R. Stout, Samuel Thompson, Montraville Bartlett, George W. Adams, A. M. Reager, Joseph F. Osborn, Wm. J. Smith, Major A. S. Hugill, Major Lee Haymond.

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., May 30, 1870

Harrison County.

The following are the delegates appointed by the Republican Convention of Harrison, held on the 24th, to the Republican State Convention:

Coal Township.– Captain T. F. Roane, Thomas Heron, Joseph F. Osborn, O. P. Boughner, Jesse Moneypenny, James M. Mines, Gen. R. S. Northcott, Walter Ebert, Montraville Bartlett, John A. Hursey

District map of Harrison County


Seventh Annual Fair of Central Agricultural and Mechanical Society.
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., September 18, 1873

(From Our Special Correspondent)
The route between Cumberland and Grafton is wild enough to make the most blase of American tourists wish himself back in some civilized place; but after leaving Grafton a ride of twenty-one miles through a well-cultivated country, to the town from which I date this letter, will most likely be hailed with delight by a weary traveler.


Is a picturesque, busy and wide-awake town of about 2500 souls. It stands three-quarters of a mile from the B. & O. Railroad, and has a comfortable and well-to-do air. The town is at present like unto a bee-hive, in that it overflows with busy, humming life, though not all of the steady-going, industrious sort. There is a fine Catholic Church, an Academy, and a Court House with enough wooden steeple to build two or three small cottages.

Northwestern Academy

was mainly occupied in receiving and arranging articles and animals intended for exhibition. The buildings have been greatly improved since last year, and thus for more entries have been made than for any previous fair.


Here we recognize our friend W. H. Sheib, of Wheeling, who has a fine display of cabinet organs. Mr. Martin, of Clarksburg, also exhibits pianos, melodeons, etc. The Singer and Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines are represented by Clarksburg firms. The exhibition of flowers, vegetables and fruit is very fine: The household and miscellaneous departments generally are above the average.


In this department are mowing machines, churns, cider mills, etc, exhibited by W. C. McCormick, Clarksburg; Stoves, corn shellers, boring machines, and miscellaneous mechanical implements, by Joseph F. Osborn & Bro., also of Clarksburg. A farm grist mill in operations, exhibited by John Chalfante, of Clarksburg, attracts considerable attention. Ira Hart, of Clarksburg, has on the ground a circular saw mill, full swing.

Stock photo of 19th Century Farming

There was not much stock on the grounds yesterday, but a large number of blooded cattle will be on exhibition today. Hon. John S. Carlile exhibits some fine blooded cattle, and Hon. John J. Davis’s specimens of the Alderney breed are very good. Harrison County raises some of the finest stock in the State, and considerable interest is manifested by visitors in this department.


The quiet decorum and diligent study of this exhibition are pleasing features. Every man and woman seems intent on learning everything from the exhibition which can be learned. There is a large sprinkiling of ladies, and they feel an interest in the various articles exhibited, which is not from love of mere display.


The usual “aerial swings,” (which are well patronized by country lasses and their “cousins,”) stereoscopic views, etc., abound. Then we have the “Old Reliable” Theatre, and a duck-suggestive tramping corn doctor with Cundurango.

Clarksburg WV

A Bumpologis endeavors to teach us phrenology, but the young people do not care to limit their fancies to skulls, nor to love by the bumps they explore, and so his visit is a hootless one. I had almost forgotten to mention a “grand gift enterprise” from your city–on the “Sunday School” plan. They have two “offices” on the grounds; but an impression prevails that a newspaper, in resorting to such a decoy, betrays its own significance.

Edward Payson Weston, pedestrian, today will attempt to walk five miles in one hour, including one half mile backwards.

Clarksburg, Sept. 16 HAI..

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., September 03, 1874

HARRISON COUNTY DELEGATES–The following is the list of delegates appointed by Harrison County to attend the Wheeling Convention that meets to-day, viz:
excerpt– Joseph F. Osborne

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., April 15, 1880

At the Republican County Convention, held at Clarksburg, Harrison County, on April 12th, 1880, the following gentlemen were appointed delegates to the State Republican Convention to be held in Wheeling, on Wednesday, May 12th, 1880, to the National Convention, to be held at Chicago, June 2d: Major A. C. Moore, C. J. Goff,Lee Haymond, E. F. Pigott, John M. Jeffers, F. D. Kemball, Jay F. Ogden, M. W. Bailey, Adam Bumgardner, M. G. Holmes, J. W. Vandervort, B. D. Rider, A. F. Lawson, L. J. Allen, O. P. Boughner, James H. Taylor, Joseph F. Osborne, W. F. Richards, R. S. Northcott and W. J. Kearns.

Harrison County WV Map

Harrison County.
CLARKSBURG, W. VA., April 12,
Editors Intelligencer:

The Convention adopted the following resolutions:

Be it resolved, By the Republicans of Harrison County, West Virginia, in mass meeting assembled, that our choice for Presidential candidate in 1880, is that eminent citizen and unswerving Republican, James G. Blaine, of Maine; and further, that with him as our standard bearer no opposition can withstand the onward march of the Republican phalaux to sure and certain victory.

Resolved,  That in General U. S. Grant, we recognize the highest military talents and accord to him the highest honors for his services heretofore rendered the Republic, and feel that our institutions are secure so long as his sword can be drawn in their defense.

Resolved, That in Hon. John Sherman, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, we recognize the true patriot statesman and financier, and one in every way worthy the confidence of the people of the United States.

A motion was made and carried, that the resolution in regard to Hon. John Sherman, is merely complimentary. The majority of the people in the Convention were for Blaine, first choice. About nine-tenths of the delegates selected are for Blaine.

G.O.P. Elephant



Wheeling Register, August 20, 1883

Dr. A. H. Kunst
and Joseph F. Osborne, as authority as to the management of the asylum. Dr. Kunst is a Republican.

He was turned out of his position as Assistant Superintendent more on that account than anything else. Mr. Osborne has an unfortunate son in the asylum.

I take it that Dr. Kunst and Mr. Osborne are good reliable Republican authority, and without giving their opinions, I suggest that any person feeling enough interest in the subject, write to either or both of them. And in conclusion let me ask that the hospital management receive fair play only.

If guilty, let them suffer; if innocent, let their *raducers be pilloried as I know they will be by public opinion.



At Clarksburg–Joseph F. Osborne Kills Himself
Special to the Register
Wheeling Register, August 19, 1885

Joseph F. Osborn and wife

CLARKSBURG, W. VA. August 18.-This morning a most startling suicide occurred in this city. Joseph F. Osborne, one of our most prominent citizens, was the victim.

He has been depressed for some time and no particular reason can be assigned for the rash act. However, for several days he has been very despondent. A coroner’s jury has been empaneled.

The result of the investigation will be given as soon as possible.

Mr. Osborn suicided by shooting himself in the right temple with a derringer revolver at his place of business in this city at about 6 o’clock this morning.

Coroner Tinsman impaneled a jury which rendered this verdict:

“That on the 18th day of August, 1885, between the hours of 5 and 7 o’clock a. m., at the office of J. F. Osborne, Bro. & Co., Clarksburg, W. Va., the said J. F. Osborne came to his death by a pistol shot wound inflicted by his own hands and super-induced by mental derangement.”

Mr. Osborne is one of Clarksburg’s oldest citizens, and has always, been considered a shrewd but upright business man and quite wealthy. What the exact cause of his rash act was is not ascertained, but it is thought family troubles had something to do with it.

He leaves besides his wife, two grown sons, who are fine mechanics; four daughters young ladies, the eldest of whom was a short time since married to a well known Washington, Pa., gentleman, and several smaller children.

Mr. Osborne’s residence occupies one of the prettiest sites in Clarksburg and he was making preparations to build a handsome brick residence in the near future. His eldest son, several years ago had the misfortune to lose his mind, and was confined in the Weston Asylum.

Shortly after his return home, he shot Richards, the Clarksburg postmaster, who had said something derogatory to his character in his paper, the Telegram.

State Asylum at Weston WV

Several weeks ago, Miss Georgia, the youngest of the grown daughters, ran away from home, it is said, to meet a man, with whom she had become acquainted through answering a correspondence advertisement in the Cincinnati Enquirer. She was immediately followed, but at last accounts had not been heard of. This seemed to weigh heavily upon Mr. Osborn’s mind, and probably had something to do with his suicide. He is senior proprietor of one of the largest foundries and machine shops in the State.


The Testimony Before the Coroner Points to the Insanity of Mr. Osborn–The Verdict.

Special to the Register.
Wheeling Register., August 20, 1885

CLARKSBURG, W. Va., August 19.–Fearful excitement prevailed here yesterday morning on the announcement of the suicide of Joseph F. Osborn. He was a prominent gentleman and one of our most enterprising citizens.

The shock was great to his family, and peculiarly so when so unexpected. However, some have noticed for several months past that he was exceedingly despondent, and that some trouble was weighing heavily on his mind.

No one is able to assign any direct cause for so rash an act. He arose early at about 5 o’clock and as usual went to his place of business on Pike Street, where in the office at about 7 o’clock he was found dead sitting in a chair at the desk, by a colored man by the name of Pollock Lowry, who was in his employ.

At the request of certain friends of the deceased, a coroner’s inquest was held by Squire Tinsman, and a jury impaneled consisting of these persons : R. S. Northcott, H. F. Criss, Jas. L. Stealey, J. W. Thorn, Geo. W. Siers, A. G. Smith, Joseph Parill, J. H. Smith, Jas. Monroe, Jas. H. Stewart, W. T. Day and A. Caywood.

The testimony at the inquisition was reduced to writing by Marcellus Thompson, and was substantially as follows:

Court rendering

Pollock Lowry– I have been working for Mr. Osborn for some time. Came to the foundry at about seven o’clock. Was looking for a wheelbarrow. Asked Mr. Woods and Mr. Baltzey where Mr. Osborn was. Went into the office and found him sitting in a chair. Was considerably frightened and returned and told Mr. Baltzey and Mr. Woods that he was dead. The door to the office was half closed.

Was He Insane?

L. S. Woods–Am in the employ of Osborn. Have discovered a great change in him since I came here. He seemed to be worried over everything and troubled. Don’t think he acted as a man of sound mind. This has been noticed by me for several months. Pollock told me Osborn was in the office dead. Mr. Baltzey opened the shutter. When Pollock went to the office to see Osborn he came right back to us greatly excited. I noticed one of Mr. Osborn’s hands resting on the desk and the revolver on chair on left side under his leg.”

Mr. Baltzey, who has been in Mr. Osborn’s employ for twenty years, acquiesced in the testimony given and added: “I have noticed for six of eight weeks something wrong with Mr. Osborn. He seemed troubled. I told Mr. Woods about two weeks ago that it would not astonish me at any time for Mr. Osborn to put himself out of the way.”

Mr. A. C. Osborn stated that “there had been a Derringer revolver belonging to him in the possession of his father, Mr. Joseph F. Osborne, and that it was kept in the safe. “That tho revolver exhibited to the jury was the same one.”

Derringer image

W. G. Osborn– “My father has been somewhat depressed. He has acted strangely for some months. I have seen the revolver in the safe within three weeks of this time.”

C. C. Zinn “His mental condition was bad. I think he has been deranged for months. I did not think him of sound mind on yesterday evening. He was depressed. He told me he had trouble. He said if it was not for his family he would not care for living.”

E. Tinsman–”On last Sunday morning, I took a walk to the west end of town and came to the office of Mr. Osborn, finding he was in it with the front door fastened. He came out and went up street to the post office with me. On the way I inquired if he had been sick, as he looked bad and his voice seemed weak.

He told me that he was in his usual health, but seemed to me to be despondent and did not participate generally in the conversation.

The Verdict.

A summary of the material facts have been given, while the evidence before the coroner was very elaborately taken. No writing or letter was discovered in which an explanation of the suicide was made. The body having been viewed by the jury and all the evidence carefully considered, the following verdict was rendered:

“The jurors sworn to inquire when, how and by what means Joseph F. Osborn came to his death upon their oaths do say: that on the 18th day of August 1885, between the hours of 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock a. m. at the office of J. F. Osborn Bros & Co., of Clarksburg, in said county, the said Joseph F. Osborn came to his death by a pistol shot wound inflicted by his own hands and superinduced by mental derangement.”


In testimony whereof the coroner and jury set their hands and the clerk certified the evidence.

Mr. Osborn leaves a large family; however, in good circumstances. He was always industrious and identified in nearly every enterprise. The community has lost a worthy citizen, the family the dearest friend–a father and husband. The bereaved have the sympathy of a host of friends and the whole vicinity.


Joseph F. Osborn, the Suicide buried
Special to the Sunday Register.
Wheeling Sunday Register., August 23, 1885

CLARKSBURG, August 22– This morning the remains of Joseph F. Osborn who suicided on Tuesday, were interred in the I. O. O. F. cemetery. The funeral services were conducted by the order of Odd Fellows. A large number of persons attended.

Thus ends one of the saddest tragedies occurring in this community for years. Something for a considerable time had weighed heavily upon the mind of the deceased. Upon the morning of August the 18th, driven, perhaps, by an irresistible impulse he committed the rash act, resulting in his death.

It was a surprise to some persons, however; other had noticed his despondency and remarked that he was laboring under fearful nervous excitement, so much that not only his health but his mind was greatly affected. In his demise the family lose a sincere friend and the community a good and enterprising citizen.

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