Guide to the Osborne Family Papers, 1816-1899

Collection number: MC 318
Size: (1 box) (0.66 cu.ft.)

About the Osborne Family (Weare, N.H.)

Samuel Osborne Sr. (Amesbury MA March 29 1789-Weare NH September 21 1858) was a farmer and member of the Weare Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He married Anna Hoag of Henniker NH (1799-1874) at Weare in 1818.

Lindley H. Osborne (December 22 1833-May 2 1920) was a farmer who was born and lived and North Weare, NH. He married Lucy P. Thorndike of Weare (1835-1919) in 1863. Their sons were Charles H., Henry T., and Alfred. Lindley Osborne was an educated individual who served on the board of (and perhaps attended) the Hopkinton Academy.

Charles H. Osborne (September 29 1865 – 27 December 1923 Weare, NH) was the son of farmer Lindley H. Osborne, (1833-1920). Charles attended Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania, graduating as a teacher in 1893 at the beginning of his diaries. He eventually moved back to East Weare and lived the rest of his life there.

About the Osborne Family Papers, 1816-1899

The Osborne Family Papers consist of the personal, financial, and agricultural records of three generations of one Quaker family living in Weare, NH. Included are seven pocket diaries and one account book with several loose sheets of paper laid into its pages. The combination of all the chronologically overlapping materials gives a very detailed view of the daily life of one educated family and their neighbors in 19th century rural New Hampshire. National events (such as the assassination of Lincoln) are also included.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder Number], Box 1, Osborne Family Papers, 1816-1899, MC 318, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Series of purchases from Carmen Valentino, 2010-2017.

Collection Arrangement

Arrangement is chronological.

Collection Contents

Folder 1Osborne Family Account Book, 1816-1880

The Osborne Family Account Book (1816-1880) was kept primarily by Samuel Osborne and his son Lindley Osborne. It opens with an inventory of the estate of Joseph Buxton (d. 1816, Weare NH). The rest of the volume and its several loose papers are typical farmer’s account books of the era, dominated by the yearly cycles of haying, plowing, framing houses, purchase of tea and coffee and other foodstuffs, blacksmithing, and so forth. Travel to Francestown and other nearby locations is noted. For a brief time the Osbornes performed subcontract work for Allen & Moses Sawyer, shoe manufacturers in Weare. The Sawyer accounting pages are filled with French lace, fabric, and shoes. It appears the Osbornes paid for schooling of girls from other families, because several pages detail fees paid to the schools for various girls. Many other Weare community members (including many of the Thorndike family) figure prominently in the Osborne accounts.

Folder 2Lindley H. Osborne, North Weare, 1879-1890

The Lindley Osborne Diary is half commonplace book and half diary – extensive clippings and quotations are glued in and copied onto specific days. They are mostly to do with farming, building, weather, the price of goods, and moral tracts. Some quotations are from Scripture or from Quaker leader George Fox. There are also land surveys and descriptions of local features. Osborne evidentially traveled within New England, and mentions being at Amesbury MA and the 1882 New England Yearly Meeting (Rhode Island). His farming records are quite detailed, down to the specific varieties of pears grafted and apples harvested.

Folder 3Charles H. Osborne, North Weare, 1873-1899

The Charles H. Osborne diaries span the years 1893-1899 in six volumes, with 1896 missing. They chronicle Osborne’s graduation from Haverford College, subsequent teaching appointment at Wilmington College (Ohio) in 1894, and struggles to find a full time teaching job from 1895 through 1899. He was very educated, and regularly attended YMCA, Temperance League, and lectures in his spare time. Sports are frequently mentioned, but not music. Wilmington Yearly Meeting, Philidelphia Yearly Meeting, and New England Yearly Meeting are mentioned.

After finishing his teaching job at Wilmington College, Osborne moved home to the family farm in Weare NH. Diaries from this time depict visits to family and friends, funerals, farm life, and making a living producing maple syrup, surveying land, and fixing wagons and sleighs. By the end of the century he is teaching a small one room school with six students at Sugar Hill (part of Weare).