Pioneer Families

Mary Osmond


Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, August 2, 1951, section Six, page 2.

Militant Editor Was Colorful figure In Osceola Affairs In '90's

Miss Mary Osmond was born near the city of Philadelphia. When she was four years of age her parents moved to Farmington, Iowa and afterward to Clarke Co., Iowa. She lived with them on a farm near Hopeville until she went to Ohio to attend Lebanon Normal School.

She was a teacher in the Clarke county public schools and the Osceola school for some years. Her educational work ended with a four years term as county superintendent of Clarke county.

Miss Osmond had done occasional newspaper writing during her years of teaching and after leaving the teaching field, her interests and energies centered in the work of editing and publishing.

She first became associate editor of the Osceola Sentinel, then, for fifteen months (all of its existence) from Oct. 1889 to Feb. 1891, was sole owner and editor of the Osceola Gazette. For four years, until Jan. 1894, following the demise of the Gazette, she again edited and was half owner of the Sentinel.

Member of PEO

Mary Osmond was a member of chapter K, P.E.O. in Osceola. She joined this sisterhood in 1885 and continued to be an active and influential member of it until her death.

For eighteen years she was editor of the P. E. O. Record. This was from 1891-1893 and again from 1898-1913. During a number of these years the magazine was printed in Osceola in the Sentinel office while Miss Osmond was editor of the Sentinel also, and later by J. H. Richards in the Democrat office.

Died in 1921

Miss Osmond died Feb. 27, 1921. Certain phases of her interesting and robust personality are reflected in anecdotes that have been told through the years.

Without being particularly militant she was an ardent worker for woman suffrage and at one time adopted the bloomer costume representative of that group. Her independence and self-possession as she strode about her business in this attire successfully defied ridicule.

Protected Taxes

Her tax payments were always accompanied by written protests against taxation without representation.

Mrs. Merlin Linder of Mt.. Pleasant, formerly an Osceola resident, recently had the privilege of examining a collection of Miss Mary Osmond's papers. These manuscripts, some written by herself and others that she had filed for use in her editorship, reflect, in an inimitable fashion, says Mrs. Linder, the life of an individual, who was an individualist as well, and the thinkings and manners of Osceola fifty years ago.

Excerpts quoted from Miss Osmond's own account of her experiences as a newspaper editor show some interesting contrasts in the publishing business then and now. Frank L. Guches was the other half owner of the Sentinel at the time Miss Osmond's "autobiography" was written.

Boiler Plate

"We used many columns of plate, besides our galleys of type set matter. I used to collect a column or two of state news and about the same of general news which were to set, wrote two or three columns of editorials and expected to get from two to four columns of local items. These divisions of matter had their places which never varied. The paper was a 7-column folio, only, and its first page was never of town or city interest with headlines as papers usually have now. The second page carried editorials in its first column often trailing off into excerpts from other papers, duly credited. The third page had the local items, followed by personals, obituaries, marriages, real estate transfers, etc. Local items were altogether, but I regretfully saw business reasons for admitting among them many advertising locals. The big display ads never interfered with this arrangement.

No Page Ads

"Really we never had any page ads. A six inch double column was pretty good. Hall and Rice, Parrish Bros. Myer and Redmon, Osceola Hardware Co., Goldsmiths (Julius and Dave), Lauder and Lawrence, C. B. Hall, J. W. Boden were among our steady advertisers. D.W. Inghram, Harper & Harper, W. E. Morrow, B. F. Garretson were faithful advertisers, too, and we had lots of "foreign ads." B. S. Press and the Fair Store and G. A. Turner (drugs) made splashes in their time. And we had Al and G. B. Fluke, J. V. Banta, Simmons and Co."

Read Mary's account of early Doyle twp.

Read Ella Ashley's history of Hopeville

Mary Osmond, First Woman to Vote in County

Additional facts about Mary Osmond:

Sources: Clarke County, Iowa Cemeteries, Vol. 2, The Rural Cemeteries; Historic Hopeville and Vicinity: 1850-1982; Clarke County Iowa Early Marriages, 1852-1873; 1936 Old Age Tax Records, Murray;

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