Frank H. Osborn

From The Capital Region of New York State, Crossroads of Empire, 1942
Francis P. Kimball


Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


wpe5.jpg (86615 bytes)For years Frank H. Osborn was a successful lawyer in Catskill, where  he was a member first of the firm of Jennings and Osborn, then of the firm of Osborn and Bloodgood, which eventually became Osborn, Bloodgood, Wilbur and Fray.  He held public office and rendered valuable service to his fellow-citizens in a variety of ways. He exerted a profound influence in his community, was skillful in argument on important public questions, and was kind, generous and fair-minded in his personal and business relationship.

Mr. Osborn was born May 22, 1857, in Windham, New York.  A brother, W. Irving Osborn, of Evanston, Illinois, and two sisters, Mrs. Ella F. (Osborn) Peck, who resides with her brother in Catskill, and Mrs. Dorville S. Coe, of Brooklyn, were among Frank H. Osborn’s survivors.

Receiving his early education in his native district, Frank H. Osborn came in young manhood to Catskill, where he studied law in the office of the late John A. Griswold.  Admitted to the bar in 1880, he practiced his profession until, 1886, he was elected district attorney of Greene County, in which office he served for three years. He established for himself and excellent record as a prosecutor, and his career promised to become a brilliant one. After retiring from this office, Mr. Osborn practiced law alone.  Following the election of Emory A. Chase (q.v.) to the Supreme Court bench and his retirement from the law firm of Jennings and Chase to assume his new duties, Mr. Osborn joined in partnership with W. Irving Jennings, on December 1, 1896, to form the new firm of Jennings and Osborn.

 On May 1, 1898, Mr. Jennings retired, and the firm then came to be known as Osborn and Bloodgood, consisting of Frank H. Osborn and Albert C. Bloodgood. On January 1, 1905, Howard C. Wilbur was admitted to the partnership, where upon the firm came to be known as Osborn, Bloodgood and Wilbur.  On March 1, 1916, John L. Fray (q.v.) entered the firm, which then was renamed Osborn, Bloodgood, Wilbur and Fray. Mr. Osborn’s law practice and public service caused him to be widely and favorably known, as did his memberships and active participation in such organizations as the Greene County Bar Association, the New York Stat Bar Association and the American Bar Association. His community services were many-sided. For several years he was a trustee and president of his village. After August 3, 1897, he was a trustee of the Catskill Savings Bank. He was a member of the advisory committee in charge of erection of the present courthouse.  In 1931, the year of his death, he was designated Special Assistant Attorney-General by Attorney-General Bennett, to assist in prosecution in Greene County of indictments against Jack (“Legs”) Diamond and other alleged gangsters.

Of Mr. Osborn it has been written:

Mr. Osborn was one of the outstanding members of his profession and his reputation as a lawyer was widespread. He tried important cases in many courts of this State and he was known as a quick-witted, brilliant and learned practitioner.  He won many a hard-fought legal battle in court and was often complimented by his antagonists for his ability as a trial lawyer. It was characteristic of him that he always gave to every case in which he figured the best that was in him.  He fought just as hard to win an unimportant case as he did in matters in which large sums were involved.

During his long career as a lawyer Mr. Osborn was often matched against some of the greatest legal talent in the country and more than once he emerged form the contest a victor.

Mr. Osborn had the reputation of being exceedingly skilful in summing up a case and he never failed to make a deep impression on a jury.  He was eloquent, forceful and expressive and he seldom referred to notes in making a final plea to a jury.  He had a wonderfully retentive memory and with his broad knowledge of the law, his summations were always impressive and convincing.

Mr. Osborn exerted a great influence in the community in which he lived and this was manifested often at appropriation meetings, where he frequently appeared to speak for or against some item in the budget. He seldom failed to carry his point.

He was public-spirited, although at time, when convinced that some project was not advisable, he would oppose it with all the energy of which he was capable.  Generous-hearted, Mr. Osborn gave liberally to charitable causes and any worthy object brought to his notice.

Frank H. Osborn married, June 12, 1895, Harriet Gage, the ceremony taking place in Durham, New Hampshire. She died March 23, 1931. They became the parents of two daughters: 1. Mrs. Forrest S. Emery, of Brookline, Massachusetts. 2. Mrs. William K. Kerr, of Brooklyn.

 The death of Frank H. Osborn occurred November 20, 1931, at his home on William Street, Catskill, New York, and was an occasion of profound regret and sorrow. Many glowing tributes were paid him, and court was adjourned at Hudson out of respect for him. His accomplishments were highly constructive along a variety of lines, and he will long be affectionately remembered by a host of friends on all walks of life.


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