Thomas Osbourne, Marine Private

Thomas Osbourne. Born 7 October 1758 in Pembroke, MA; Thomas Osbourne was one of twelve children of George Osbourne (c.1733-1812) and Sarah Wade (c.1738-1778). Seven of George Osbourne’s eight sons by his wife Sarah, served like their father in the Revolutionary War. Much of their story is taken from Volume 11 of “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War” and the article “The Military History of the Osborne Family” written by William Osborne and published by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in 1900. Osbourne first served with his father and brother George on 21 and 22 April 1775 in Captain Elijah Cushing’s Company of militia which marched from West Parish in Pembroke to Marshfield in response to the Lexington alarm. Immediately following, the sixteen year old Thomas enlisted in Captain Eleazer Hamlin’s Company of Col. John Bailey’s Regiment of the Massachusetts Line and marched to Roxbury where he participated in the siege of Boston, serving eight months to the end of 1775. There is an order on record for a bounty coat or its equivalent in money to be paid to Thomas Osbourne dated Roxbury Camp on 9 November 1775. He immediately re-enlisted in the same company of Bailey’s Regiment now designated as the 23rd Continental Regiment and under the command of Captain Jacob Allen for one year, continuing to serve at Roxbury until the British evacuated Boston on 17 March 1776. Thomas Osbourne testified for the pension applications of fellow soldiers Alden Washburn and Benjamin Price concerning their service in the same company. Allen’s Company subsequently participated in the battles of Long Island on 27 August, Harlem Heights on 16 September, White Plains on 28 October and Trenton on 26 December. Thomas Osbourne’s name appears in the muster roll of Captain Adam Bailey’s Company, formerly Captain Jacob Allen’s, of Col. John Bailey’s Regiment newly reorganized as the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment beginning on 1 January 1777. Osbourne’s enlistment was extended six weeks into 1777 “at the solicitation of our officers” and he participated at the battle of Princeton in Glover’s Brigade on 3 January 1777 prior to his discharge at Chatham, NJ in February. Thomas Osbourne then returned home to Massachusetts where he served with brothers Peleg and Hugh in Captain Amos Turner’s Company of Col. Jonathan Titcomb’s Regiment marching to Tiverton, RI in April 1777. Thomas subsequently enlisted in Captain Christopher Dyer’s Company of Col. Joseph Stanton’s Regiment of RI Militia, serving for nine months total at Rhode Island before returning home again. Thomas Osbourne’s testimony in the pension application of Lot Ramsdell reveals that the 5 feet 10 inch tall light complexioned nineteen year old next “passed muster before Captain James Hatch of Pembroke” along with eleven others. The eleven, one of whom was younger brother Hugh Osbourne, were “put under his command as Sergeant” and marched to Fiskill, NY where he delivered the recruits to the commanding officer on 10 June 1778. There the contingent from Plymouth “joined the army” and were “put into different companys”. Thomas Osbourne was enlisted into Captain Benson’s Company, sent to West Point and then White Plains before being detached from the Massachusetts Line and joining the Pennsylvania Line under the “New Levies”. Osbourne is likely referring to Capt. Joshua Benson’s Company of light infantry in Col. Rufus Putnam’s 5th Massachusetts Regiment, designated at the time as the 27th Continental Regiment. According to one source, Thomas Osbourne reportedly entered the wagon service with his brother Hugh on 8 August 1778; however, this has not been verified. Thomas served a total of twelve months before being discharged at Middlebrook, NJ in March or April 1779. Osbourne’s pension application indicates he then served in the Sea Service, was taken prisoner and was carried to Nova Scotia. One family researcher concludes that Thomas Osbourne served on the MA armed vessel Protector under the command of Captain John Foster Williams of Boston. According to this researcher, the Protector sailed from Boston in April 1780 and had several engagements including her 9 June 1780 capture of the Admiral Duff. Later that year, the Protector was herself captured by the British warships Roebuck and Mayday, with her officers and crew carried prisoner to Halifax. It is reported that Osbourne was detained six months there. However, no evidence has been provided to support the conclusion that he was captured with the Protector. Thomas Osbourne, along with brothers Hugh, Peleg and William, enlisted for twelve months in Captain Matthew Parke’s Company of Marines and were attached to the Continental frigate Deane under the command of Captain Samuel Nicholson at Boston on 12 December 1781. All four brothers were transferred to the Continental frigate Alliance under the command of Captain John Barry. According to the payroll records of the Alliance in the Barry-Hayes Collection at Independence Seaport Museum Library, Thomas and his three brothers entered service on the frigate Alliance on 20 December 1781. According to the ship’s ledger in the same collection, four days later and about the time the Alliance sailed from Boston, Thomas was issued a blanket and frock. The clothes he wore onto the ship proved adequate for only one Winter month before he was also issued a shirt, jacket, shoes, hose and breeches on 7 February 1782. This was about the time the ship made a short cruise after arriving at L’Orient, France with supercargo Marquis de Lafayette aboard on 18 January 1782. Thomas was issued two more frocks and a pair of breeches in March, just about when the frigate sailed for home on the sixteenth. The Alliance took no prizes on the homeward voyage with eight men dying at sea within six weeks before arriving at New London on 13 May 1782. The large number of the crew who died at sea were followed by an additional ten deaths during the two months following, including brothers Peleg and William in June 1782. The frigate remained at New London until she departed on a cruise on 4 August 1782, about the time of Thomas’ last Ledger entry, reaching L’Orient on 17 October 1782. The Alliance departed L’Orient on 8 December 1782 on her return cruise by way of the West Indies. While on the homeward bound leg of the voyage, the frigate participated in an engagement with the British warships Sybil, Alarm and Tobago on 10 March 1783 which is recognized as the last major naval action of the Revolutionary War. The Alliance sailed into Newport on 20 March 1783 and shuttled to Providence several days later, anchoring just below the city. According to the payroll records of the Alliance in the Barry-Hayes Collection at Independence Seaport Museum Library, Thomas Osbourne was discharged in Providence, RI along with his younger brother Hugh on 1 April 1783 having served fifteen months and twelve days. One source indicates that during the war, “Thomas Osborne was wounded, but those who remembered him have stated that he had a wound in his face and lower jaw, which probably was a sabre wound and doubtless received in a deck fight.” No mention of this wound is found in the pension record or of his service in the Navy about the time of the War of 1812, which one genealogical source suggests. Thomas Osbourne married Hannah Wade on 16 December 1784 at East Bridgewater, MA. Hannah, daughter of James Wade and Ann Clark, was born on 16 April 1759 at Bridgewater. They had at least eight children including: Absalom baptized 30 October 1785 who married Lydia Howe on 22 March 1812 and died 16 January 1836, Peleg born 17 July and baptized 19 August 1787 who married Sally Pool on 5 March 1812 and died 27 August 1864, Mahala or Mahale baptized 18 October 1789, Martin born 19 September and baptized 30 October 1791, Hannah born 26 September and baptized 1 December 1793 who married Cushman Hathaway on 10 November 1845, Clarana baptized 1 November 1795, Abigail baptized 13 May 1798 and Levona or Lavonia born 22 January and baptized 2 May 1802 who married Thomas Wade on 27 January 1825. At the time of the 1790 Census, Thomas Osbourne is living at Bridgewater next to his father-in-law James Wade along with his wife Hannah, sons Absalom and Peleg and infant daughter Mahala. Ten years later, the Osbourne household had grown to seven children, with only the unborn Lavonia not numbered in the 1800 Census. According to Thomas Osbourne’s pension application # S-33413 testimony, eighteen year old Lavonia and her older sister Abigail called Nabby, described as an “idiot”, are residing with him and his wife in 1820. The 1820 Census suggests that one of the older daughters is also living in the household with the aging couple and their two youngest daughters. The census also reveals that his son Peleg and youngest brother Levi are living next door to Thomas Osbourne in 1820. The pension affidavit indicates Osbourne owes about one hundred dollars and is not able to work as a laborer due to his infirm condition at that time. The 1830 Census suggests that handicapped daughter Nabby is still living in the elderly couple’s household with son Peleg and his family residing next door. Thomas Osbourne died at the age of seventy-nine at East Bridgewater, MA on 28 December 1837. His widow Hannah died three months later on 14 March 1838 at the same place.

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