Sunday, November 13, 2011

William Noyes Osborne of Fairfield Maine


Timothy Osborn & Olivia Noyes had only son together.  He was named William Noyes Osborn (after Timothy's closest brother), and he received the Osborn Homestead from his father in May of 1882, when he turned 21.

He received additional 45 acre Fairfield property from his father in 1885 (for which he paid his father $1600), which he did a successful six month mortgage on in 1895 to Henry Kelley for $960 at 6% interest.  This was an interesting and dramatic dip in property value.  In 1904, he mortgaged the same property for $700 to Fairfield Savings Bank, again for six months at 6% interest.  In 1913, he sold the property to Hume & Newhall Company, an Augusta based lumber company for an undisclosed sum.

In 1923, William purchased a mortgage on a Shawmut Village property, which was successfully reconveyed back to its owner, George Dickey.

He was elected Fairfield Town Selectman and served one term as a Somerset County Commissioner. William started up a new family business, Rocky Hill Spring Water, to supplement the farming income.

One story goes that when William got into politics, and added an "e" to the name to distinguish himself from a local cousin also named William.  Another story was told that William added the "e" to differentiate himself from a horse thief by the same name.

In the winter of 1886, William married Sylvia Piper from Benton (just across the Kennebec River).  She died in November 1887 giving birth to their one and only child, Milton Osborn.

In 1894, he married Bertha Helen Hodges from Winslow.  They had two children.  They first had a daughter named Ruth Irene (1896-1980) who married a Henry Munnoch, and moved to Niagara Falls.  They had two daughters, Elva and Sara. 

In the 1940 census, they appeared to have a 22 year old hired man named Hugh Bickford from Piscataquis.

William's son was Elwood Noyes Osborne (1903-2002) was an accomplished genealogist, and the source for many of my blog posts.   He is well remembered at the Fairfield Historical Society, where he brokered the deal for getting the Cotton-Smith House on High Street to be reused as a museum.  It's filled with antiques from the past, including the items shown above.


Waterville Morning Sentinel, Monday 30 Jan 1950 WILLIAM N. OSBORNE - Fairfield

William N. Osborne, a life long resident of Fairfield, died Sunday morning at the family homestead on the Shawmut road. He was one of the oldest residents here having been born 13 Sep 1860, the son of Timothy and Olvia Osborne.

Mr. Osborne has been engaged for many years in the spring water business it being known as the Rocky Hill Spring. He has also engaged in truck gardening and general farming.

He served for some years as selectman of the town of Fairfield and one term as a Somerset county commissioner. He was a member of Siloam Lodge, F. and A. M. and Victor Grange.

His wife Bertha Osborne died three months ago.

He is survived by a daughter Mrs. Henry Munnoch of Miami, FL, and a son Elwood Osborne of Pittsburg, PA, a sister Miss Clara Osborne of this town, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the family home, the time to be announced.

Funeral of William N. Osborne - Fairfield

Funeral services for William N. Osborne were held Wednesday afternoon at the home on Shawmut Road with Rev. David B. Howe officiating. The bearers were Leslie Ames, Isaac Works, Colby Lawrence, Harold Teague, George Webber, and George Dickey. Burial was in the family lot at Maplewood Cemetery.

Those from out of town attending the service were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Munnoch, Miami, FL, Elwood Osborne, Pittsburgh, PA and Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Basford of Northport.


William's will simply gives the real property to his son Eno, and let's the equal value of the remainder go to his daughter, Ruth Munnoch:

Gravesite of William Noyes Osborne and his two wives:


  1. Hi, I just wanted to tell you about something. As you stated above, Hugh Bickford was a worker on his farm. He is alive and he is my grandfather. Thanks for the story. I just showed the article to him and he was surprised to see the picture of William who used to be his boss. Today, my grandfather is still alive and he is now 97 years old. He just told me that was his job working by delivering water to the residents two times a week. He is so glad to see the pictures and wanted to say thank you for the wonderful article.

  2. Today, my grandfather just turned 99 years old. He was still talking about old job working with his old boss, Williams. One time, he asked me to pull up this article so he can look at the pictures again. I guess he wanted to look back to all those memories remembering his youth and growing up becoming a young man. Just wanted to say thanks again for keeping the article online. My grandfather was still smiling looking at this article. :)