Edwin Sylvanus Osborne – Major General, United States Army Member of Congress

Courtesy of the U. S. House of Representatives:

Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Bethany, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, August 7, 1839; he attended the public schools and the University of Northern Pennsylvania at Bethany; was graduated from the New York State and National Law School at Albany, New York, in 1860; was admitted  to the bar and practiced law in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsy;vania; he entered the Union Army August 30, 1862, as Captain of Company F, One Hundred and Forty-ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry; was promoted to major of that regiment on February 25, 1865, and served until honorably discharged on July 25, 1865; appointed by Governor Geary as Major General of the National Guard, Third Division, of Pennsylvania in 1870; served as Commander of the Department of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic, in 1883; elected as a Republican to the Forty-ninth, Fiftieth, and Fifty-first Congresses (March 4, 1885-March 3, 1891); was not a candidate for renomination in 1890; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1888; resumed the practice of law in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; he moved to Washington, D.C., in 1898 and lived there in retirement until his death on January 1, 1900; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.

Edwin Sylvanus Osborne, Major General, United States Army. Corporal, 8th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, April 22, 1861;  Captain, 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, August 30, 1862; Major, 149th Pennsylvania Volutneer Infantry, March 2, 1864; Major General, Pennsylvania National Guard, 1870-78. Representative of Pennsylvania, 49th, 50th, 51st Congresses. Born: Bethany, Pennsylvania August 7, 1839. Moved to Washington, D.C. in 1898 and lived in retirement until his death there January 1, 1900.  Buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 1, Grave 312, with his brother Major General Thomas Odgen Osborne.

Ruth Bell Osborne, the wife of Edwin Sylvanius Osborne. 1843-1929.

Courtesy of: RootsWeb.Com

HON. EDWIN SYLVANUS OSBORNE, attorney at law, Wilkes-Barre, was born in Bethany, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, August 7, 1839, a son of Sylvanus and Lucy (Messenger) Osborne. His paternal grandparents were Cooper and Hannah (Oakley) Osborne, the former of whom was a son of Thomas, who was a son of Jacob, who was a son of Samuel, who was a son of John Osborne, the first ancestor in America, who came from England, and settled in East Windsor, Connecticut, prior to 1645, and who married Ann Oldage.

Thomas Osborne, the great-grandfather of subject, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, and was killed at the battle of Monmouth, New Jersey. The wife of Cooper Osborne was the daughter of Ephraim Oakley, and granddaughter of Sylvanus Oakley, who died possessed of large estates in New York City and New Jersey. Cooper Osborne was a native of Litchfield county, Conn., and his wife, of Scotch Plains, N.J. They were married in 1798, and settled in what is now Dyberry township, Wayne Co., Pa., where Sylvanus, the father of our subject, was born in September, 1812.

In 1836 Sylvanus Obsorne was married to Lucy, daughter of Cyrus Messenger, of Bridgewater, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Our subject was graduated from the University of Northern Pennsylvania, and from the National Law School at Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1860. He read law with the Hon. Charles Denison, of Wilkes-Barre, and was admitted to the Luzerne county bar, February 26, 1861. In April, 1861, he enlisted in Company C. Eighth Regiment P.V. Subsequently, he was authorized by Governor Curtin to recruit a company, and was mustered in as Captain, to rank from August 22, 1862. He served on the staff of General Wadsworth until February, 1863, when, at his own request, he was returned to his regiment, and served with it until August, 1863, at which time he was again detailed for staff duty, and appointed assistant inspector-general.

He remained with the First Corps until its consolidation with the Fifth Corps, and remained with this command until the close of the war. He participated in all the battles of the army of the Potomac, after he joined it. He was commissioned Major of his regiment, and was three times brevetted for meritorious conduct, and soon after the surrender of Lee was appointed a judge advocate, with the rank of Major, in the regular army. He was also sent by the War Department to Macon, Andersonville and other points in the South, to investigate and report upon the treatment given Union soldiers, while held as prisoners of war by the South, which investigation led to the arrest and trial of Captain Wertz, of Andersonville. The charges prepared by the United States were drawn by him, and he prepared the case for trial.

After performing this duty he offered his resignation, which was accepted by the Secretary of War, and he returned to Wilkes-Barre, where he resumed the practice of law, in which he has since continued. In 1870 he was appointed, by Governor Geary, Major General of the National Guard, Third Division of Pennsylvania, covering the northeastern portion of the State, which position he held for ten years. He was in command of the force that quieted the strikes of 1871, ’74 and ’75.

General Osborne was the originator of the system of the National Guards of Pennsylvania, and it was by his efforts that the Legislature, in 1873, repealed the militia tax. He also served as commander of the Department of Pennsylvania, of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1883.

In 1884 General Osborne was a candidate for Congressman-at-large in the State of Pennsylvania, on the Republican ticket, and was elected by a majority, in the State, of 75,227. In 1886 he was again a candidate for Congressman in the Twelfth Congressional District (Luzerne county), and was elected by a plurality of 1,499 votes.

General Osborne was married October 12, 1865, to Ruth A., daughter of William and Mary A. (Smith) Ball, of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and a descendant of Edward Ball, who came from England to Branford, Conn., in 1640.


January 2, 1900 – General Edwin S. Osborne, a Representative from Pennsylvania in the Forty-Ninth, Fiftieth and Fifty-First Congresses, died in Washington last night from heart disease.  He was a veteran of the Civil War and for six years was a Brigadier General of National Guard of Pennsylvania.

As the conclusion of the war, General Osborne was appointed Judge Advocate to investigate charges of cruelty to Federal prisoners brought against Captain Wirtz, Confederate Superintendent of the Andersonville Prison, the result of which was the hanging of Wirtz.

General Osborne was elected to Congress as a Republican from the State of Pennsylvania at large twice, and once from the Wilkes-Barre District.  He will be buried at Arlington Thursday afternoon beside the remains of his son, Lieutenant Osborne, who was killed in the Philippines.  A widow and five children survive him.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/01/1900

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