Thomas Osborne (1735 - 1810)

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Birthplace: Charlestown, Suffolk, MA, USA
Death: Died in Bolton, Worcester, MA, USA
Managed by: Maureen Alyson Babcock
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Osborne

The following information is excerpted from Bolton Historical Commission's Report on Historic Homes

( http://www.historicalcommission.town.bolton.ma.us/main/447mainst.html) :

"ASSESSOR'S PARCEL: 4D-17 ACREAGE: 4.26 acres FILM ROLL/NEGATIVE: VII-35

Since 1980, the property for this house, which once extended east to Burnham Road, has been reduced from 25 to less than five acres, and its one remaining outbuilding has been demolished. The house is in well-preserved condition, however, as a five-by-two-bay, two-room-deep, 2 1/2-story mid-eighteenth-century building with a succession of later updates. In the Greek Revival era, the main entry gained a set of full-length, 5-pane sidelights in a wide-board surround, and the roof was extended to overhang the gable ends, its detail updated with an echinus molding and cornice returns. The 6-over-6-sash windows, the moderately wide cornerboards and the sillboard or "water table" at the top of the foundation may have been installed at about the same time. The center chimney was replaced with a pair of narrow, widely-spaced ridge chimneys in about 1875. The main entry door is a twentieth-century six-panel type, with bulls-eye glass in the top two panels. The house is still clapboarded, with an asphalt roof, and stands on a fieldstone and granite-block foundation.

The building has several northeast rear extensions. The innermost is a two-story wing with two wall dormers on the east elevation. The wing is abutted by a one-story ell that appears to have formerly been a shed; to its rear and extending to the east is a modern side-gabled two-car garage with one wide wood-panel door. Two large bay windows that were added to the house in about 1890 were removed after 1953. At one time the house had a three-foot-wide wraparound porch, as well.

Formerly called the Oak/Horton House, current research had led to a name change, to the Oaks/Osborne House. (Former address: 447 Great Road).

According to the research of historian Esther Whitcomb, this handsome house was built by Nathaniel Oak(s), in about 1760. Nathaniel was a Revolutionary soldier, who marched with Capt. Hastings' company to the Lexington Alarm in 1775, and later saw action in 1778, 1779, and 1780.

In 1768 he sold the property to Joseph Keyes, a veteran of the French and Indian Wars, who also later fought in the Revolution. Soon afterward, in 1773, Mr. Keyes sold it to Mary Russell, a widow or unmarried woman who made her living as a tailor. Typical of a house owned by a single woman in the Colonial period, under her ownership it stood on a very small lot, and much of that appears to have been woods.

In 1786, she sold the property, with 1 1/3 acres, the house, "fencing, orcharding, and all the timber standing or lying thereon", to Thomas Osborne, "gentleman."

Thomas Osborne II (1735-1810) had served in the Revolution, attaining the rank of Lieutenant. Bolton Soldiers and Sailors in the American Revolution by Esther Whitcomb and Dorothy O. Mayo notes on p. 58 : Lt. Thomas Osborne served during the Lexington Alarm; BRR to Boston with General Heath in 1778 [MA Soldiers and Sailors, Vol. II, p. 689].

Page 691 of Volume 2 of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors lists Thomas as a 2nd lieutenant in Capt. Jonathan Houghton's (4th) Co., 2nd Worcester regiment of the Massachusetts militia; listed on the list of officers. He was commissioned on 3/20/1776.

The Military Annals of Lancaster, MA 1740-1865, p. 116, states "Lt. Thomas Osborne served in the company of Capt. Robert Longley, in Col. Asa Whitcomb's regiment [this information is attributed to the MA Archived, Revolutionary Rolls, XII, 182]. He was also part of the Field and Staff of the regiment of Minutemen under Colonel Asa Whitcomb.

He was a wealthy man, adding considerably to the property over the next several years. He even apparently allowed shoemaker Thomas Miles to build a small shoeshop east of the house on the property (see Form #65, 443 Main Street).

It is likely that this building, not #3 East End Road (see Form #119) was the inn or tavern run by Lt. Osborne from 1790 to 1803. In her writings of the 1980's, Ms. Whitcomb, apparently erroneously, located his tavern at the corner of East End and Great Roads. Subsequent deed research, however, showed that the land there had no house on it until at least 1826, well after he had died and left that land to his son, Ephraim (see Form #149, 96 Long Hill Road).

Lt. Osborne's ownership of this house, however, from 1786 until 1804, includes most of the fourteen years during which he had an innholder's license. Supporting the theory that 447 Main Street was his tavern is the recovery of several taps from hogsheads in the basement of the building. A piece of a clap pipe was found, as well.

Thomas Osborne II was the son of Lt. Thomas Osborne, one of the residents of Bolton at the time of its founding. He married at least twice. His first wife, in 1759, was Mary Whitcomb, daughter of Gen. John Whitcomb, from whom he and she probably acquired or inherited various pieces of land at the "East End" of the Great Road. His second wife was Sarah Whitcomb, whom he married in 1772 [NOTE : I think that this is wrong - it was Abigail, not Sarah]. She died in 1786, and he may even have married for a third time. In all, he had at least nine children. His son, Ephraim, who married Dolly Whitcomb and built "Osborne Hall" at 96 Long Hill Road in about 1800, became one of his closest neighbors.

The Index to Probate Records, Worcester, Series A, Vol. 1, 7/12/1731-7/1/1881 - (published by Oliver S. Wood, Worcester, MA, 1898 - LDS film #859,169, p. 1026) lists Thomas of Bolton filing a Will (case #44501) in 1811.

His estate was valued at 4 acres occupied by N. Hawkins, 1798. He sold John C. Stone 4 acres per uncle John Pierce's will in 1804.

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Lt. Thomas Osborne's Timeline

1735
June 14, 1735
Charlestown, Suffolk, MA, USA
1759
April 26, 1759
Age 23
Bolton, Worcester, MA, USA
1766
July 10, 1766
Age 31
Bolton, MA, USA
1810
September 13, 1810
Age 75
Bolton, Worcester, MA, USA
????
Bolton, Worcester, MA