William P and Amy Edmondson Osborne Family Page
William P Osborne Family Page

by Tom Osborne (tlosborne@aol.com)

William P Osborne was the first child of Charles Erbey and Jane Bean Osborne.  He was born in 1839 in Princeton, Caldwell County, KY.

William P Osborne married Amy S. Edmonson on October 21, 1855 probably in Illinois where they both lived.  Amy was born on February 4, 1838, the oldest daughter of James C. Edmonson of Tennessee, and Mrs Melia Edmonson of Alabama.  They had four children:  James Erbey Osborne, Thomas Green Osborne, John R. D. Osborne, and Millie Jane Osborne.  William enlisted in the Civil War Illinois Infantry at Vienna, IL, in August 1862 for a term of 3 years.  However, he died shortly thereafter on December 15th 1862 at St. Louis, MO and is buried there in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Amy subsequently married David J. Watkins in about 1864.  David was born December 26, 1839, and also was a veteran of the Civil War, having served in the same Company as William P. Osborne.   David and Amy had four children:  Jesse M. Watkins, Mary Watkins, Lydia Louella Watkins, and Millie Watkins.   Amy and David are buried in the Cedar Creek Cemetery, Ozark, Illinois.

William and Amy lived before pictures were generally available as illustrated in the article below from the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

     Photography -- Development of the dry plate

 In the 1870s many attempts were made to find a dry substitute for  wet collodion so that plates could be prepared well in advance and  developed long after exposure. The suggestion casually made in  1871 by Richard Leach Maddox, an English physician, to suspend  silver bromide in a gelatin emulsion led, in 1878, to the introduction  of factory-produced dry plates coated with gelatin containing silver  salts, an event that marked the beginning of the modern era of  photography.  Gelatin plates were about 60 times more sensitive than collodion  plates. The increased speed freed the camera from the tripod, and  a great variety of small hand cameras that allowed photographers  to take instantaneous snapshots became available at relatively low  cost. Of these, the most popular was the Kodak camera, introduced  by George Eastman in 1888. Its simplicity greatly speeded the  growth of amateur photography. In place of glass plates, it  contained a roll of negative material sufficient for taking 100 circular  pictures, each roughly 21/2 inches in diameter. After exposing the  last negative, the entire camera was sent to one of the Eastman factories (Rochester,  N.Y., or Harrow, Middlesex), where the roll was processed and printed. "You Press the  Button, We Do the Rest" was Eastman's description of the Kodak system. At first  Eastman's so-called "American film" was used in the camera. This film was paper  based, and the gelatin layer containing the image was stripped away after  development and fixing and transferred to a transparent support. In 1889 it was  replaced by film on a transparent plastic base of nitrocellulose that had been  developed by the Reverend Hannibal Goodwin of Newark, N.J., in 1887.

Consequently, all we have are a few documents from which to deduce a little bit about their life.  These documents are from the collection of the late Louise Earnhardt Osborne courtesy of her son William Roswell Osborne, III.

In no document is there a record of what the P in William P's name stood for.  One theory, proposed by our cousin William Roswell Osborne, III is as follows:

William's mother, Jane Bean, was the grandaughter of Ann Scott who was born in Ireland in 1760 and came to SC with her family in 1768 when she was 8 years old.  She married William Bean III who was also born in Ireland, in 1754, and came to SC with his family in 1767.  After arriving in SC, Ann's parents had three more children, Samuel, Patrick, and Mary.  Patrick was born when Ann was about 11 years old and was her youngest brother.  (Note that there is some disagreement among the various databases of who was the mother of most of William Bean III's children, but we have chosen to go with Ann Scott.)

Jane Beans 's father Thomas Bean migrated to Caldwell Co., KY and apparently brought Ann Scott, his mother with him since she died in Caldwell Co. Ann Scott who died around 1842 was still living when William P was born in 1839, also in Caldwell Co, so we believe his mother named him William Patrick, a good Irish name, after the younger brother of her grandmother, Ann Scott.

In September of 1850, when he was about 11 years old, William's family moved to Johnson Co., IL where he grew up and married Amy Edmondson on October 21, 1855.  At the time of their marriage, he was 16 and she was 17 years old.  William's  military records list him as being a farmer, so he probably took up farming at or before the age of 16 when he was married and continued at that until he enlisted in the Infantry at the age of 23.

In his short life, William and Amy had four children:   James Erbey, Thomas Green, John R.D., and Millie.  Thomas Green was our 2nd grandfather and his family is covered on the Thomas Green Osborne Family Page.  According to notes from Louise Earnhardt Osborne, John R. D. Osborne fell from a hay wagon and received a concussion from which he never recovered.    That required him to spend the remainder of his life in Anna State Hospital.  He died July 30, 1901, age 40 years of age.  Following is what we know about James Erbey Osborne's family and Millie Osbornes' family.

James Erbey Osborne's family

James Erbey Osborne was the first of William and Amy's four children.  He was born January 12, 1857 in Tunnel Hill, IL which is about halfway between Vienna and Ozark, just off of US 45 in the edge of the Shawnee National Forest.  This gives us some idea of where William and Amy lived after they were married.  James was no doubt named after Charles Erbey Osborne, his grandfather.  James Erbey first married Eliza A. E. but we don't know her family name; only Eliza A. E. is shown on her gravestone.

James Erbey and Eliza married before 1883 and had William Lyra Newton Osborne and Jesse Green Osborne.  We don't know where the name Green originates, but both Thomas Green Osborne and Jesse Green Osborne bear that name, indicating that it was probably  honoring someone in the family, possibly in the Edmonson line.

William Lyra Newton was born March 12, 1883 and died June 26, 1910 and is buried in Cedar Creek Cemetery in Ozark.  Jesse Green Osborne was born December 4, 1885, married Evvie Campbell in 1915, and had two children, James Byron and Freda M.   Eliza died on March 29, 1888.

James Erbey then married Dora Alice Reagan on November 11, 1888, and they had 8 children:  Mary Alice, Charlie D., Elmer Yerby, Amy Eveline, Ada Candis Smith, Harvey Hiram Lee, Coy Albert, and Cora Orval Lee.  We know very little about these children.  Below is a diagram James Erbey's known descendants.  It is curious that the notation on Eliza A.E.'s gravestone says "the wife of J. Y. Osborne", and one of his sons is named Elmer Yerby Osborne.  It is possible that sometime before the birth of Elmer Yerby, James took on a new spelling of his middle name, adding a Y.

Known Descendants of James Erbey Osborne

 1   James Erbey Osborne b: Jan 12, 1857 in Tunnel Hill, IL d: Dec 20, 1910 in Johnson Co, IL 
.  +Eliza A. E. Unknown b: Feb 6, 1861 d: Mar 29, 1888 
.... 2   William Lyra Newton Osborne b: Mar 12, 1883 d: Jun 26, 1910 in Johnson Co, IL 
.... 2   Jesse Green Osborne b: Dec 4, 1885 d: Dec 29, 1964 in Marion, IL 
.......  +Evvie Campbell   m: Feb 16, 1915
.......... 3   James Byron Osborne b: Jan 28, 1916 d: Jul 5, 1984 
.............  +Bessie McMullin
................ 4   Beverly Osborne
...................  +Richard Adams
................ 4   Judy Osborne
...................  +Ronnie Martin 
...................... 5   Richie Martin 
...................... 5   Michael Osborne Martin 
................ 4   Jimmie Osborne
.......... 3   Freda M. Osborne b: Jul 20, 1917 d: Jan 10, 1918 
  *2nd Wife of James Erbey Osborne: 
.  +Dora Alice Reagan b: Aug 20, 1865 in Ozark, Il d: Aug 30, 1947 in IL m: Nov 11, 1888 in Ozark, IL
.... 2   Mary Alice Osborne b: Mar 11, 1890 d: Nov 4, 1890 in Ozark, IL 
.... 2   Charlie D. Osborne b: Dec 15, 1891 d: Nov 2, 1894 in Ozark, IL 
.... 2   Elmer Yerby Osborne b: Oct 20, 1893 
.... 2   Amy Eveline Osborne b: Jan 16, 1896 
.... 2   Ada Candis Smith Osborne b: Apr 27, 1898 
.... 2   Harvey Hiram Lee Osborne b: Mar 14, 1900 d: Apr 2, 1917 
.... 2   Coy Albert Osborne b: May 30, 1908 d: Nov 4, 1918 
.... 2   Cora Orval Lee Osborne b: Apr 9, 1905 d: Jan 8, 1907 

Millie Jane Osborne's Family

Millie Jane was the youngest of William P and Amy's children, and was born on January 7, 1863, about 3 weeks after his death. 

She married John Wesley Barnwell on May 13, 1880 at the age of 17.  They had 10 children, two sons and 8 daughters; apparently the last three children died at birth. 

Below is a summary of Millie Jane's  known descendants.  We know very little about Millie Jane's family except the birth and death dates.   Louise Earnhardt Osborne does have a copy of the obituary for Etta Barnwell which shows that she died in Metropolis, IL, and at the time her two nephews lived in Metropolis, IL.

Known Descendants of Millie Jane Osborne

 1   Millie Jane Osborne b: Jan 7, 1863 d: Jun 1, 1942 
.  +John Wesley Barnwell b: Dec 1, 1857 d: Jan 21, 1942 m: May 13, 1880
.... 2   Freddy Grant Barnwell b: Jul 11, 1881 d: Jul 4, 1922 
.......  +Blanche Bell b: Oct 30, 1891  m: Apr 9, 1911
.......... 3   Fredline Barnwell b: 1913 
.............  +W. C. Westerfield 
................ 4   Shirley Jo Westerfield
................ 4   Perry K. Westerfield
.......... 3   Lucille Barnwell
.............  +Monte Collins
................ 4   Frederick J. Collins
.......... 3   Enid B. Barnwell b: Jan 1921 d: Mar 10, 1922 
.... 2   William C Barnwell b: Dec 5, 1883 d: Mar 1, 1943 
.......  +Zella McDonald   m: Sep 24, 1927
.......... 3   Betty Jo Barnwell
.... 2   Mary Alice Barnwell b: Sep 16, 1885 d: May 5, 1909 
.......  +Wiley Sanders   m: Jan 1906
.......... 3   Orpha Sanders b: Oct 3, 1907 d: Dec 17, 1933 
.............  +Alva Haneline 
................ 4   Alva Jr. Haneline
.... 2   Etta Barnwell b: Feb 8, 1887 d: Jul 1, 1967 in Massac Memorial Hospital, Metropolis, IL 
.... 2   Rettie Barnwell b: Nov 25, 1889 d: 1911 
.......  +John Franklin   m: Jan 1908
.......... 3   Lillie Franklin b: 1911 d: 1911 
.... 2   Sarah Ann Barnwell b: Dec 18, 1891 d: Apr 8, 1892 
.... 2   Bessie Barnwell b: Jun 8, 1892 d: Mar 12, 1964 
.......  +Alex Wayne   m: May 12, 1918
....  *2nd Husband of Bessie Barnwell: 
.......  +Louis Laird   m: Jun 9, 1927
.......... 3   William Howard Laird b: Jul 11, 1929 d: Mar 5, 1949 
.... 2   Oma Barnwell b: Mar 25, 1895 d: Mar 25, 1895 
.... 2   Zora Barnwell b: 1897 d: 1897 
.... 2   Female Barnwell b: Mar 6, 1898 in Livingston Co., KY d: Mar 6, 1898


The Civil War began in 1861 and in August of 1862 Colonel John G. Hardy was assigned to recruit a Regiment, the One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois Infantry, from in and around Johnson County. Colonel Hardy recruited seven companies - A, B, C, E, G, I and K - and set up a camp at Vienna, IL on Aug. 13, 1862.  (See the Adjutant Generals report of the History of the Regiment).  We can only imagine the scene as William bade goodbye to his pregnant wife Amy and three small children and set off for Vienna, about 8 miles south to enlist in the Infantry.

Louise Earnhardt Osborne has found and made copies of several documents relating to Williams militay service.  The most informatative is the service termination form. From it, we learn that William was 5 feet, 7 inches tall, had a dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair.  Although we have pictures of most of our later ancestors, we rarely have this much description.  I imagine him looking similiar to our grandfather William Roswell Osborne.

The form shows that William joined the company at it's original organization on August 14, 1862 for a term of 3 years, and that his captain was Samuel G. Parks.  Apparently they remained at Vienna a little over two months, probably in training, until October 29, 1862, when they we moved to Camp Butler, IL, and formally mustered into the service of the United States.

According to the Adjutant General's history, and the history by Frederick H. Dyer, their first assignment was to guard the railroad bridge at "Jimtown", although there is no indication of exactly where that is.  On November 9 they were moved to Alton, IL, which is on the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, then to St. Louis by steamer, then reassigned without delay to General Sherman in Memphis, no doubt moving on down the river by steamer.  According to the Adjutant Generals history, on "November 26, ..(the regiment) was assigned to garrison duty at Fort Pickering. While engaged in this line of duty, the men were attacked with small pox, measles, pneumonia and other diseases, and it kept the well busy, caring for the sick and burying the dead. As high as seven persons died out of Company D in one week, and the mortality was not much less in other companies."  No doubt William became ill with chronic diarryhia during this time, and was apparently moved back to St. Louis where he died on the U. S. Hospital Steamer D. A. January, according to the undertakers certificate.  He died on December 15, 1862, only four months after he had joined the Regiment in Vienna.  According to Dyer's history,  the Regiment lost 20 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded,  and an astounding 4 officers and 261 enlisted men died from disease by the time the Regiment mustered out on September 7, 1865.  (More information on Chronic DiarrheaMore information on disease in the Civil War.)

Louise has copied four other documents concerning Williams service; a casualty sheet and three muster roll forms, shown below.

In July, 1964, Louise wrote a letter to the Department of the Army in Washington, DC, requesting information on the actual burial place of William.  She received a reply stating that he was originally buried in Wesleyan Cemetery in St. Louis, but was moved to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis where he is interred today.  Below is a copy of the letter and a map showing the location of the Cemetery.  The cemetery is just north of the Jefferson Barracks bridge which is where Interstate 255 crosses the Mississippi River.  Many of us have been over that bridge, and passed within half a mile of where he is buried.

Williams death at such an early age left Amy with three young children and one on the way at the age of only 25 years.  The oldest, James Erbey, was almost 6 years old, and the youngest child, Millie Jane, was born about 3 weeks after his death.

The roster of Company K, 120th Illinois Regiment shows William P Osborne (mistakenly spelled Wilbur), David J. Watkins, and a William A. Watkins (both mistakenly spelled Wadkins).  At the end of the three year term of the 120th Regiment, David J. Watkins mustered out on September 10, 1865.  The William A Watkins, possibly David's brother, died at Jefferson Barracks on March 27, 1863.

Sometime in 1864 or 1865, we don't know the exact date, Amy married David J. Watkins, and they went on to have four children: Jesse M., Mary, Lydia Louella, and Millie.  We know very little about Amy's second family; what is known is shown below.

Known Descendants of Amy S. Edmonson and David J Watkins

1   Amy S. Edmonson b: Feb 4, 1838 in IL d: Aug 5, 1894 
  *2nd Husband of Amy S. Edmonson:   
.  +David J. Watkins b: Dec 26, 1839 d: Jun 17, 1892 m: Abt. 1864
.... 2   Jesse M Watkins b: Nov 17, 1866 d: Nov 20, 1938 
.......  +Tulula A. Rushing b: Jan 13, 1871 d: May 4, 1908 in Burnside Twp, Ozark, Johnson Co., IL m: Jan 1, 1888
.......... 3   Pearl Watkins   
.............  +Ernest McNeely   
.......... 3   Blanche Watkins   
.............  +Alva Barnwell   
.......... 3   Noma Clair Watkins   
.............  +Arthur Cavitt   
.......... 3   Harvey S. Watkins   
.............  +Iva Johns   
.......... 3   David (Jr) Watkins   
.............  +Clarice Barnwell   
.......... 3   Ernest Hobart Watkins   
.......... 3   Minnie E. Watkins b: Jul 8, 1899 d: May 11, 1908 
.......... 3   Harry E. Watkins b: Apr 22, 1903 d: May 23, 1908 
.......... 3   Anna Watkins   
.............  +Unkown Choate   
.......... 3   Amy Watkins   
.............  +Claude Choate   
.... 2   Mary Watkins   
.......  +Unknown Shelton   
.......... 3   Lucy Shelton b: Feb 17, 1874 d: Oct 1, 1912 in Johnson Co, IL 
.............  +James W. Evitts b: Jun 14, 1857  
................ 4   Pearl E. Evitts b: Jan 25, 1900  
.......... 3   Lydia Shelton   
.............  +Vernel Palmer   
.......... 3   Sarah Shelton   
.............  +Joe Palmer   
.......... 3   Maggie Shelton   
.............  +Unknown Butram   
....  *2nd Husband of Mary Watkins:   
.......  +Unknown Ditterline   
.... 2   Lydia Louella Watkins b: Nov 7, 1875 in Reynoldsburg, IL d: Jul 20, 1938 in Simpson, IL 
.......  +James Vernon Palmer b: Nov 26, 1869 d: May 14, 1945 m: 1896
.......... 3   Mollie Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Fort   
.......... 3   Edna Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Evitts   
.......... 3   Julia Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Stitler   
.......... 3   Lula Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Johnson   
.......... 3   Helen Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Sanders   
.......... 3   Elnora Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Jobe   
.......... 3   Dora Palmer   
.............  +Unknown Veach   
.......... 3   Ray Palmer   
.... 2   Millie Watkins   
.......  +Unknown Barnwell   

David died June 17, 1892 at the age of 52 and Amy died August 5, 1894 at the age of 56.  They are buried in Cedar Creek Cemetery, near Ozark, IL, see the picture below.  Louise had also found the obituaries of Jesse M. Watkins and Lydia Louella Watkins Palmer.  These are also shown below.


Credits:  Much of the information on the Regiment, the flag background, the union soldier, and the IL map are from the outstanding Illinois in the Civil War web site, an IL GenWeb project.
Geneology Pages For:
William P.
Amy Edmondson
David J. Watkins