John H. Osborn, an old and well known resident of Evansville, Ind., has been for several years prominently identified with the manufacturing interests of the Lower Ohio Valley. He was born in Boone county, III., but when three years of age came with his parents, William and Ann (Burrell) Osborn, to Cannelton, Ind., where he grew to manhood and obtained his education. He learned the trade of machinist, worked in different shops in Louisville and Owensboro, Ky., and for nearly fifteen years was connected with the cotton mills at Cannelton. In 1875 he came to Evansville as master mechanic of the Evansville Cotton Mills. Nine years later he was promoted to the responsible position of superintendent of the mills, which he has ever since held, his previous practical training giving him especially high qualifications for the place, Mr. Osborn was one of the organizers of the White Oak Handle Company, which was incorporated in 1902 with a capital stock of $35,000, and has been president of the company since the formation, W. H. Patrick being the secretary and treasurer. The company manufactures plow handles exclusively and the demand for its products is constantly increasing. Aside from his private business interests Mr. Osborn finds time to assist in the promotion of any enterprise tending to advance the commercial prosperity of Evansville, and to devote to public affairs. Although he is an ardent Republican, and has frequently been urged to accept a nomination for public office, the only political position he ever held was that of trustee of the Evansville water-works, being a member of the board at the present time. In 1875 he declined to accept the nomination for Congress, though in 1904 he was a delegate to the national Republican convention which nominated Roosevelt and Fairbanks. It is therefore from no lack of loyalty to his political convictions that he declines political honors, but simply from his devotion to his business undertakings, Mr. Osborn has served with marked ability as a director of the Central Trust and Savings Company, the Union Savings Company, and the Evansville Business Men’s association. In fraternal circles he is a well known for, being a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is also a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal church and is a liberal contributor to the charitable work of his church. In June, 1878, Mr. Osborn was united in marriage to Miss Mary A, White, of Evansville.
Source: Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley, Federal Publishing Company, Madison, Wis., 1905