Captain Frank D. Osborn
Captain Frank D. Osborn, master of the steamer Badger State for the season of 1896, was born in Berrien county, Mich., where he remained upon his father's farm until thirteen years of age, and attended school in the vicinity. He is a son of Deloss and Elizabeth (Simpson) Osborn, the former having lost his life by drowning in a river in California in 1862, while prospecting for gold, his wife dying in the same year. There were three children in the family: Frank D. (our subject), Ezra, eastern agent for the Live Poultry Transportation Company, at Hoboken, N. J.; and Mary, wife of John Farley, residing at Cedar Rapids, Nebraska.
Captain Osborn, who was left an orphan when about seven years of age, was compelled to shape the course of life for himself. He began sailing as cabin boy on the schooner Skylark, Capt. H. K. Langley, out of St. Joseph, Mich., in the trade between that place and Chicago. He was next cook of the schooner Lizzie Doak, and altogether was about five seasons on sail vessels. In 1875 he first entered the service of steamers, being wheelsman of the S. D. Caldwell that season, between Chicago and Sarnia, and the succeeding season he shipped out of Detroit as wheelsman of the passenger steamer Benton in the trade between Cleveland and Saginaw. After a period of four years in the West he again returned to the lakes and shipped out of Chicago as wheelsman of the Roanoke, remaining that season (1881) and until the following June, when he changed to the H. D. Coffinberry on the same berth. The season of 1883 he remained on shore, but the next season was wheelsman of the passenger steamer India. In the spring of 1885 he was appointed to second mate's berth on the India, which he filled until July 6, 1886, when he changed to the same berth on the steamer William Stevenson, then new, thus closing the season. The first three trips of the steamer Arizona, of the Anchor line, for the season of 1887, were made with Captain Osborn as her second mate, after which he was on mate's berth until the close of the season. For the respective seasons of 1888-89 he was mate of the Annie Young and China, and was also on the latter during 1890. During the season of 1891 he was mate of the Winslow, remaining as such until she burned at the dock at Duluth, where she was loaded with general merchandise. The fire took place at noon on a day in October, and she burned to the water's edge, a total loss, in two hours' time.
In 1892 he was made master of the steamer India, and so remained until she stranded on the reef at Erie, about the middle of the season of 1893. From August of that season until the close of 1895 he was mate of the steamer Vanderbilt, during which season she collided with the steamer Mark Hopkins in Hay lake, the latter vessel sinking, but having since been raised. The Vanderbilt was bound up the lakes with a load of general merchandise, and the Hopkins down with iron ore. For the season of 1896 he was mate of the steamer Badger State until September 13, when he was promoted to master's berth, in which he remained for the season of 1897.
Captain Osborn was married in Buffalo in 1882 to Miss Mary Holland, by whom he has seven children: William, John, Deloss, Mary, Eliza, Flora and Emma. The family residence is at North Tonawanda, New York.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.