Osborn, William (Henry)(1820–94) railroad promoter; born in Salem, Mass. A representative of a Boston trading house in Manila, in 1853 he married Virginia Reed Sturges, daughter of Jonathan Sturges, an incorporator of the Illinois Central Railroad. As president of the railroad (1855–82), he improved its financial condition and merged it with the Chicago, St. Louis, & New Orleans. When he retired, he engaged in philanthropy as an active promoter of, among other things, railroad workers' welfare.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.