Stephen J. Osborn of Coffeyville, an old prominent member of the Kansas bar, has taken an active part in the public affairs of his adopted state, having served several terms in the state legislature where he was honored with the position of speaker of the house and having been for a number of years judge of the Twenty-third judicial district, besides serving in other positions of responsibility and trust. Judge Osborn was born in Preble county, Ohio, near the city of Eaton, Nov. 22, 1846. His parents, Samuel and Rachel (Elliott) Osborn, natives respectively of Virginia and North Carolina, were married in Ohio, to which state Samuel Osborn had gone when a young man and where he operated a woolen mill. He was similarly engaged at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, to which state he removed his family in the spring of 1848, but after his wife's death at Mount Pleasant he went to Mills county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming until a few years prior to his death, which occurred at the home of his son, Stephen J. The parents had two sons and one daughter, of whom Stephen J. is the only survivor.
Mr. Osborn was reared principally in Iowa and received a common school education which was supplemented by a two-years course in Iowa Wesleyan University, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, after which he went to Atchison county, Missouri, where he taught school and studied law until his admission to the bar in 1872. He was elected prosecuting attorney of Atchison county in the fall of 1876, and at the expiration of his term of office in the spring of 1879, he came to Ness county Kansas, where he witnessed the building of the first house in Ness City. In the fall of that year he went to Wakeeney, Trego county, Kansas, where he engaged in the practice of law. He was elected county attorney of that county in 1880, and served one term of two years. In 1884 he was elected as a Republican to the state legislature in which he served during the regular session in 1885 and the special session of 1886, and at the close of the latter session, was appointed judge of the Twenty-third judicial district by Gov. John A. Martin to which position he was twice reëlected, serving in all nine years and retiring in January, 1895. He then located at Salina, Kan., where he became a partner of T. L. Bond in the practice of law and was thus engaged until 1898 when he was elected to represent Saline county in the state legislature, taking his seat in 1899, being elected speaker. He remained at Salina until 1902 when he moved to Coffeyville, where he formed a law partnership with H. C. Dooly, which partnership continued until the latter's death when Judge Osborn took as a partner his son, Roy Osborn. In 1909 John H. Keith became associated with him in the practice of law. Judge Osborn's success in life has been attained through his own individual efforts and is the reward of years of upright dealings with his fellow men and by his straight forward course in the performance of whatever duty at hand. He has won a business success and an honorable name and deserves to be numbered among the most respected and worthy citizens of Kansas. He has always given his political allegiance to the Republican party. Fraternally he is a Knight Templar Mason, a Noble of the Mystic Shrine and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In April, 1864, when seventeen years of age, Judge Osborn enlisted in Company A, Forty-fifth Iowa infantry, with which he served five months, being discharged in October, 1864, by reason of the expiration of his term of enlistment. He commemorates his war associations with his old comrades by membership in the Grand Army of the Republic.
In 1874, in Atchison county, Missouri, occurred the marriage of Judge Stephen J. Osborn, and Miss Belle McCreary, a native of Morrow county, Ohio. To their union have been born three children: Roy T., probate judge of Montgomery county; Grace, assistant state librarian of the Kansas State Library; and Nellie, a domestic science teacher.Pages 873-874 from volume III, part 2 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 December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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