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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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RICHARD A. OSMER. One who occupied a high pedestal in the love, esteem and respect of all who had knowledge of him, who fought his way from a fatherless boyhood to the success of manhood, and who served his country in her hour of need, has obeyed the summons, “Come up higher.” Richard A. Osmer was born August 28, 1836, in Warren county, Pa., where he lived until 1858. His father died when he was eight years old. At twenty-two years of age he drove an ox-team across the plains to California, in which State he remained until 1866, excepting a term of service with the 2d California Cavalry, in which he rose to the rank of first lieutenant. While a part of the regiment was stationed in Nevada, Lieut. Osmer distinguished himself during an attack upon a camp of hostile Indians. One who participated in that fight writes; “You cannot bestow too much praise on Mr. Osmer. He is one of the kind who leads the way and says, ‘Come on, boys,’ not one of those who mount a horse and keeps out of the way of the bullets.” In 1866, satisfied with his accumulations, he returned to this county and engaged in the clothing business with W. H. Proudfit.

On July 30, 1867, Mr. Osmer united in marriage with Amanda Proudfit, who died June 27, 1874. By this first marriage he had two children: Katie (dead), and William, a book-keeper for W. H. Proudfit, in Jamestown. In April, 1876, Mr. Osmer married for his second wife M. Nellie King, a daughter of John B. King, of Ravenna, Ohio, by whom he had one child: Richard A., born in 1880. Mrs. John B. King’s mother, Mary Ann Wells, with her husband lived and died in Ravenna. The grandfather, John Wells, was a soldier in the war of 1812. By occupation he was a tanner, and at one time was in partnership with Jesse Grant, father of Gen. Grant, at Ravenna.

In all his public relations Richard A. Osmer was a leader. He was an active republican, was chairman of the Republican County committee in 1879 and 1880, and presidential elector on the ticket of 1880 and president of the village of Jamestown in 1876 and 1877. In May, 1875, he was chosen supreme treasurer of the Knights of Honor, which order was established January 1, 1874. He was re-elected five successive terms and held the office until his death. Over one million dollars passed through his hands while he was supreme treasurer. He was a member of the Royal Arcanum and Empire Order of Mutual Aid. Upon the organization of James Prendergast Hose company, No. 11, in 1873 he was chosen foreman, and unanimously re-elected each year until his death. He became subject to hemorrhage of the lungs and went to Florida for his health. While at Atlanta he was attacked with a hemorrhage and died. The Knights of Honor there took full charge of the funeral services, escorted the remains to the depot, and sent a guard of honor with them to Jamestown. He was greatly honored throughout the order for his honor, integrity and public-spirited character, and no one occupied a higher place in the affections of those who knew him. In all his social relations he made warm friends, by the many admirable qualities he possessed, being singularly generous, faithful and unselfish, reliable, steadfast and kind-hearted in his social life and intercourse with his fellow-men.

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

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