Matthew Osborn

MATTHEW OSBORN, proprietor of the Osborn House, was born August 25, 1836, in North Huntingdon township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, a son of George and Jane (Cowan) Osborn, one of four children, three of whom survive: Judith, wife of Jonathan W. Douthitt, of Eldorado, Kansas; Eliza, wife of Eli C. Cavitt, Lake City, Iowa; and Matthew, of whom later.

The paternal grandparents were Archibald and Judith (McWilliams) Osborn, he being a native of England and she of Protestant Irish stock, born in the north of Ireland. They were married in this country and later settled in North Huntingdon township, where they lived and died. Their homestead has passed out of the possession of the family. On the maternal side the grandparents were Joseph and Fannie (Patton) Cowan, both natives of New Jersey, born just across the line from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their parents having immigrated from Scotland. These grandparents came into Pennsylvania during the days of Indian possession, and settled in the vicinity of what is now known as Osceola Hill, Allegheny county, others coming with them, namely: George Cowan, a brother of Joseph Cowan, and veteran of the war of 1812: Rachael and Sarah, sisters in a family of the name of Hope; one William Ekin, whose farm is still in the possession of the Ekin family, now in the fourth generation. There was one other member of the party, John Cowan, who was captured by the Indians shortly after his arrival and taken by them into the Lake Erie region, but two years later, on a trading expedition, he escaped and returned to his people.

George Osborn, son of Archibald Osborn, was born on the same farm in North Huntingdon township where Matthew Osborn was born, in 1802. In his young manhood he learned the hatters' trade, which pursuit he followed during his short life. He died at the age of thirty-three on the old home farm where he was born.

Matthew Osborn grew up in the place of his birth, attending the public schools until he had reached the age of sixteen, when he found employment as a messenger from the terminus of the Pennsylvania railroad station at Beatly Station to the old Tavern stand of Samuel Blythe, a distance of two miles, receiving ten dollars per month, and board. He continued at this for a few months, then accepted a position in a store in his home town. Jacksonville, where he worked for one year. For the next six or seven years he was in the coal mines at Coultersville, driving a mule. He went into the mines of the Yough Coal Company as a driver in 1853. Upon the breaking out of the Civil war he and his brother-in-law contracted with R. R. McQuiston and Company to haul coal to the river and load the boats, which proved a money-making undertaking. In September, 1862, he took charge of a small coal property for Scott Andrews and Company, which was incorporated with the Y. C. H. C. Company, and Mr. Osborn remained in the position of manager of the property until 1880. In 1883 he built a hotel, in company with Mr. Joseph Hough, at Smithton, but some months later he sold his interest to his partner, and in 1884 built the modern hotel building in Suterville of which he is proprietor. His hotel has the reputation of furnishing the best accommodations between McKeesport and Connellsville, and he is one of the best known men of Westmoreland county.

Mr. Osborn married, in 1857, Elizabeth Gregg, of Westmoreland county. She died in November, 1904, survived by nine children, James H., office clerk in the machine shops of the Pittsburg Coal Company: George E., director of the Suterville First National Bank; Oliver 0., a Baltimore and Ohio railroad conductor; Jane C. and Anna G., twins; Lawrence E., superintendent of the Douglass plant of the H. C. Frick Coke Company: Maud H., wife of C. M. Suter, of Suterville; Edith L. and Eva A. With the exception of Maud H., the daughters all remain at home. Mr. Osborn is Democratic in politics, and is a member of the town council of Suterville. He is also a member of Franklin Lodge, No. 221, F. and A. M., of Pittsburg, Duquesne Chapter, No. 193. R. A. M., of Pittsburg, and Kedron Commandery, No. i8, K. T., of Greensburg.  

Source: Page(s) 250-251, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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