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Biography of Colonel Alexander Osborn

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Alexander Osborn was born in New Jersey in 1709, and emigrated to the western part of Rowan county (now Iredell) about 1755. He was a Colonel in the Colonial government, and as such marched with a regiment of Rowan troops to Hillsboro in 1768 to assist Governor Tryon in suppressing the “Regulation” movement.

He married Agnes McWhorter, a sister of Dr. Alexander McWhorter, president of Queen’s Museum College in Charlotte. His residence (called Belmont) was one of the earliest worshiping places of the Presbyterians of Rowan county before the present “Center Church” was erected, and became by compromise the “central” meeting-house of worship for a large extent of surrounding country. Colonel Osborn was a man of fine character and wielded a strong influence in his day and generation.

In the graveyard of Center Church, on a double headstone, are the following records:

“Here lies the body of Col. Alexander Osborn, who deceased July y’e 11th, 1776, aged 67 years;” and, separated by a dividing upright line, this record appears:

“Here lies the body of Agnes Osborn, who deceased July y’e 9th, 1776.”

From these records it would appear that this worthy couple left the scenes of earth for a brighter world only two days apart, and not on the same day, as stated by some authorities. They left one son, Adlai Osborn, who graduated at Princeton College in 1768. He was Clerk of the Court for Rowan county under the Royal government, and continued in that office until 1809. He was a man of fine literary attainments, the warm friend of education, and one of the first Trustees of the State University. He died in 1815, leaving a large family, among whom were Spruce McCay Osborn, who graduated at Chapel Hill in 1806; studied medicine, entered the army as surgeon, and was killed at the massacre of Fort Mimms in the war of 1812; and Edwin Jay Osborn, who was distinguished as a lawyer of eloquence and learning, and was the father of the late Judge James W. Osborn, of Charlotte, one of Mecklenburg’s most worthy, gifted and lamented sons.


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