Osborn, Thomas A., governor of Kansas from 1873 to 1877, was born at Meadville, Pa., Oct. 26, 1836. During his boyhood he attended the common schools, and at the age of fifteen years entered a printing office and learned the trade of compositor. While serving his apprenticeship he saved his money, entered Allegheny College, and paid his way through that institution with money earned at the printer's case during vacations. In 1856 he began the study of law with Judge Derrickson of Meadville and the following year he removed to Michigan, where he was admitted to the bar. In Nov., 1857, he came to Lawrence, Kan., where he found employment with the Herald of Freedom as typesetter, assistant foreman and temporary editor. He remained with the paper until in March, 1858, when he began the practice of law at Elwood, Doniphan county. Although but a few months past his majority, he was an ardent free-state man, and soon after locating at Elwood he became an active factor in shaping the political destinies of Doniphan county. On Dec. 6, 1859, he was elected state senator from the county to the first state legislature, which met in March, 1861. At the second session of this legislature, in 1861, Mr. Osborn was elected president of the senate over John J. Ingalls, and while holding this position he presided over the impeachment trials of the governor, secretary of state and auditor. In Nov., 1862, he was elected lieutenant-governor on the Republican ticket, and in April, 1864, he was appointed by President Lincoln United States marshal for the district of Kansas. He then removed to the city of Leavenworth. When the difference of opinion arose between President Johnson and Congress in 1867 Mr. Osborn advocated the Congressional policy of reconstruction and was removed from the marshalship, but his removal added to his popularity. In 1868 he was a member of the Republican state central committee; was elected governor in 1872, and was reëlected in 1874 for the term ending in Jan., 1877. In 1875 he received a number of votes for United States senator, but Preston B. Plumb, with whom he had worked on the Herald of Freedom, was elected. On May 31, 1877, he was commissioned by President Hayes envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Chili, and in June he started for Santiago. In 1881 he was promoted to the Brazilian mission, but before leaving Chili he received the public thanks of the government for his work in settling the question of boundary between that country and the Argentine Republic. Upon his return home from South America Mr. Osborn became interested in various business enterprisesbanking, railroad construction, real estate operations, etc. As early as May, 1866, he had been one of the North Kansas Railroad company, and was a director of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe from the time the company was organized until his death, which occurred at Meadville, Pa., Feb. 4, 1898. He had been to New York to attend a meeting of the railroad directors, and had stopped at Meadville for a short visit with some of his old boyhood friends, when he was attacked by a hemorrhage and died in a few hours. His remains were brought to Topeka and laid to rest by the side of his wife, who had died some years before. She was a daughter of Mark W. Delahay, one of the early judges of the United States district court. One son, Edward D. Osborn, survives the parents and still resides in Topeka.Pages 405-406 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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