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Jabez Kaleb "J.K." Osgerby
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Birth: Dec. 22, 1860
Delaware County
Iowa, USA
Death: Jan. 12, 1942
Tuscola County
Michigan, USA

Jabez Kaleb Osgerby, known to all as "J.K.", was the fifth of six children born to John Thomas Osgerby and his second wife Elizabeth "Betsy" Gaunt. Both his parents were born in Lincolnshire, England, but emigrated to the United States in 1852 shortly after their marriage. They first settled in Milford, Oakland County, Michigan, where Betsy's sister Ann and her husband Samuel Garner were homesteading. John and Betsy's first child, John Joseph Osgerby, was born in Milford.

In 1854 John and Betsy moved to Richland Township, Delaware County, Iowa to homestead near John's brother Jabez and his family who had moved there from Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Five children were born to John and Betsy in Delaware County, Iowa--the twins Miles and Giles, William, J.K., and Elizabeth, better known as "Lizzie".

John and Betsy remained in Richland Township until 1873 when they returned with their family to Michigan to settle on a farm in Denmark Township, Tuscola County, Michigan. Betsy's sister Ann and her husband Samuel Garner had settled there several years before.

At the time of the family's return to Michigan, J.K. was about thirteen years old. He graduated from Vassar High School, one of the many schools of which he would later be Superintendent.

On November 27, 1884, J.K. married Eliza Lusettia "Lusettie" Hathaway, daughter of the Methodist minister Rev. Austin B. Hathaway and his wife Roxanna Hulsey Clemons in Clio, Genesee County, Michigan. J.K. and Lusettie were the parents of three children:

1) Lela E. Osgerby (1886-1972), who never married;
2) Earl W. Osgerby (1887-1940), who married Carolyn "Carrie" E. Neilson;
3) C. Fenton Osgerby (1898-1930), who never married.

Lusettie passed away on January 2, 1905.

J.K. married Reine May Torrey, daughter of George Torrey and Abigail Smock, on January 18, 1907 in Fowlerville, Livingston County, Michigan. J.K. was Superintendent of Schools at nearby Howell, Michigan, at the time.

J.K. and Reine had three children:

1) Torrey Gaunt Osgerby (1907-1991), who married Lucille
Mae Haviland;
2) Jean L. Osgerby (1910-1912), who died at the age of 21 months;
3) Esther "Jean" Osgerby (1913-1980), who married S. Lakatos.

J.K. and Reine are buried on the Osgerby lot in Block B, Sec. 1 of Riverside Cemetery. Also buried on this lot are J.K. and Reine's daughter Jean Louise Osgerby; J.K.'s first wife E. Lusettie (Hathaway) Osgerby; two of J.K. and Lusettie's children, Lela Elizabeth Osgerby and Fenton L. Osgerby; J.K.'s parents, John Thomas and Elizabeth (Gaunt) Osgerby; and one of J.K.'s brothers, William Osgerby.


Remembering . . . J.K. Osgerby

Several veteran educators have had notable long terms of services to public schools of the Tawases over the years—the first coming to mind being A.E. Giddings at East Tawas, followed by Supt. Reynold Mick of Tawas Area Schools—but one of the most enduring records preceded the above administrators.

The late J.K. Osgerby and his wife, Reine T., compiled a combined record of 83½ years of teaching service to boys and girls of this community and many other parts of the state.

Osgerby, who served as superintendent at East Tawas from 1890 until 1897 and returned to the same position from 1921 until 1929, compiled 52 years of teaching schools in this state; his wife served as a teacher for 31½ years.

When Osgerby retired from the superintendency at East Tawas in 1929, he had served the schools of Michigan for 46 years. Succeeded by Superintendent Hugo Swanson, he was to continue as a mathematics teacher here for another six years until old age finally forced him to retire.

Interviewed by the Tawas Herald on November 1, 1929, the account stated that one of Osgerby's most vivid memories was the assassination of Pres. Abraham Lincoln. He could not have been more than five years old when John Wilkes Booth fired his fatal shot at Lincoln, but Osgerby—like a generation a century later which recalls the death of John F. Kennedy—never forgot the Lincoln tragedy.

"Another of his memories is that of the trip his family made in 1872 from Manchester, Iowa, his birthplace, to Vassar, Michigan," said the Herald's account. "The journey which was made in a covered wagon drawn by mules, covered a distance of 800 miles and lasted 20 days. At night, camp was made by the roadside."

Receiving his secondary education in schools of Iowa and at Vassar, Osgerby never received a college degree until 1923, when he received his bachelor of arts from Michigan State Normal College. By then, he was one of the most prominent teachers in the state.

This was not an uncommon situation in the early days of Michigan education for normal schools at the county level turned out the majority of teachers in Michigan for more than one-third century. It was rare for an individual in the teaching profession to have a college degree until the 1920s.

Experienced teachers handled the training of young people entering the profession and Osgerby was one of the state leaders in training young educators.

His first teacher's certificate in county institute work was granted him in 1879 by Joseph Estabrook, state superintendent of schools, and he later filled appointments for this kind of work for each state superintendent during the terms of office from Estabrook to Supt. F.L. Keeler.

Towns in which he served as conductor of these institutes included Farwell, Port Huron, Jackson, Hillsdale, Gladwin, Oscoda, Greenville, Midland, Vassar, Cheboygan, Standish, Howell, and Caro. His work as instructor in summer institutes was done in East Tawas, Tawas City, Gaylord, Alpena, and Flint.

His public school services included acting as superintendent of schools in the following communities: Mayville, 1884-1886; Marlette, 1886-1890; East Tawas, 1890-1897; Fenton, 1897-1903; Howell, 1903-1908; Vassar, 1909-1912 and 1914-1920; East Tawas, 1921-1929.

During his two terms of superintendent at East Tawas, Osgerby's wife was principal of the Iosco County Normal for 18 years, retiring in June 1939.

"Her long distinguished service is an achievement of which she can be very proud, for its inspiration and influence cannot be measured," stated the Herald upon her retirement.

She began her teaching career at the age of 17 years in the Wexford County rural schools, serving three years on a salary of $25 to $28 per month. Following her experience in the rural schools, she taught four years at Cadillac.

In 1905, she entered county normal work at Standish and, in 1906, organized the Saginaw County Normal. During that year she was united in marriage to Osgerby. She taught English and history for four years at Vassar High School and spent one year in the public schools of Caro before coming to the county normal at East Tawas.

Osgerby was the third superintendent of schools at East Tawas. He followed Supt. R.B. McKnight, who had headed the school since it was changed from district status to a graded high school in 1876, and.B. Laird of Tawas City, who was hired as superintendent at East Tawas on June 18, 1885, at a salary of $100 per month.

Among teachers mentioned in minutes of board of education meetings after 1890 were Miss Bertha Langworthy, Miss McElhinney, and Miss Amanda Hamilton. The staff numbered five teachers.

On June 15, 1893, a resolution was submitted to raise a sum not exceeding $15,000 to build a new school, but the proposal lost by a vote of the people. On September 22, 1893, the board of education rented the GAR Hall to use as a school room and Miss Herber was employed as music teacher for six months. In March 1895, the Baldwin District School No. 1 became the East Tawas Public School, the city now being duly chartered, All of the above events took place during Osgerby's first tenure as superintendent here.

One local resident who recalls the Osgerbys during his second tour as superintendent at East Tawas is Miss Clara Bolen, who graduated from East Tawas High School. She later served as an educator at public schools in Alabaster and the Tawases for 46 years, retiring as elementary principal of Tawas Area School a number of years ago. Mrs. Osgerby was principal of the county normal when Miss Bolen graduated.

"I remember Mr. Osgerby as a fair person, a deep thinker, and a man with great compassion for all of his students. He had a great influence on the lives of young people, was an excellent teacher and a good disciplinarian," recalled Miss Bolen.

"I will never forget his voice. He had committed to memory ‘The Raven' by Edgar Allen Poe and we students would sit spellbound when he recited that poem in class," said Miss Bolen. "With that voice, he could have been a Shakespearean actor."

After their retirement here, the Osgerbys returned to their old home at Vassar. Mr. Osgerby died January 12, 1942, at Bradenton, Florida, and his body was returned to Michigan for burial in Riverside Cemetery at Vassar. He was 81 years of age at the time of his death.

Only one picture is known to have survived showing a likeness of Mr. Osgerby. The picture was snapped about 1896 by A.G. Emery of East Tawas and shows the superintendent with a group of young ladies.

(East Tawas Herald, August 16, 1978)

Political Announcement:


Satisfied He Could Make Good
as Commissioner of Schools

The Pioneer contains the following in regard to J.K. Osgerby of Vassar:

Yielding to the requests of scores of prominent Republicans in various sections of Tuscola County, J.K. Osgerby has announced his candidacy for the office of County Commissioner of Schools, and now asks his friends to give him their active support at the caucuses and in the convention—since the nominations must be made by the convention system, not by direct vote at the "primary".

Mr. Osgerby is a product of Tuscola County. He was raised on a farm in Denmark Township, attended the district schools in the vicinity of Gilford, the high school at Vassar, the State Normal at Ypsilanti and the University at Ann Arbor. He taught school in the rural districts of Fairgrove and Gilford townships several years, was the principal teacher in the Mayville schools two years and is now the superintendent of schools at Vassar.

His work here and elsewhere in the state has given him a state-wide reputation as an educator and his services have been in demand for some time as a leader and instructor of teachers at state teachers' institutes. In this capacity he has been sent by State Superintendents to Pt. Huron, Flint, Jackson, Hillsdale, Midland, Greenville, Cheboygan, and many other places.

His experience has given him a thorough first hand knowledge of the schools not only of Tuscola Co., but of the state at large. He would thus bring to the Commissioner's office complete preparation for service to sustain its dignity and high standing.

As a citizen, Mr. Osgerby stands for things sane and clean and honest. He has not been an office seeker in the past. He does not ask for a "life lease" of the commissionership now, nor could he be persuaded to accept a third term if it were offered to him, but is ready and anxious to serve the educational interests of Tuscola County for a limited time as County Commissioner of Schools. (Adv.)

(Cass City Chronicle, January 6, 1911.)


J.K. Osgerby, 81, of Vassar, a former superintendent of schools at Mayville and Vassar died Monday, Jan. 13 [1942] in Bradenton, Fla., where with his wife he was spending the winter months. Funeral services were held Saturday at Vassar from the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Milo N. Wood officiating.

(Mayville Monitor, January 22, 1942)
Family links: 
  John Thomas Osgerby (1818 - 1879)
  Elizabeth Gaunt Osgerby (1818 - 1889)
  Eliza Lusettia Hathaway Osgerby (1865 - 1905)
  Reine May Torrey Osgerby (1879 - 1951)*
  Lela Elizabeth Osgerby (1886 - 1972)*
  Earl William Osgerby (1887 - 1940)*
  Clarence Fenton Lincoln Osgerby (1898 - 1930)*
  Torrey Gaunt Osgerby (1907 - 1991)*
  Jean Louise Osgerby (1910 - 1912)*
  Esther Jean Osgerby Lakatos (1913 - 1980)*
  John Joseph Osgerby (1854 - 1908)*
  Miles M. Osgerby (1856 - 1943)*
  Giles Osgerby (1856 - 1934)*
  William Osgerby (1858 - 1885)*
  Jabez Kaleb Osgerby (1860 - 1942)
  Elizabeth Osgerby Manning (1865 - 1899)*
*Calculated relationship


1860 – 1942

1879 – 1951


Riverside Cemetery
Tuscola County
Michigan, USA
Maintained by: Joann Geybels
Originally Created by: Amy (inactive)
Record added: Jan 09, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 63952483
Jabez Kaleb J.K. Osgerby
Added by: Joann Geybels
Jabez Kaleb J.K. Osgerby
Added by: Joann Geybels
Jabez Kaleb J.K. Osgerby
Added by: Joann Geybels
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