"Osgood Family" - taken directly from 'The Journal of American Genealogy"
"Divinely good" is the meaning of Osgood, which is of Saxon origin. "Os" is God, or Divinity. The word in the Norse tongue is quite similar -- "as" -- pronounced "ouse." Other words derived from "os" are Osbert, "handsome as a god"; Ostgood, "good host"; Osmuna, "divine protection"; Oswald, "divine power." Then are other forms -- Osburn, Osbourne, Osland, Osmore, Ostrom, Ostrander. Variations of Osgood or Osgoode are Osgot, Osegod and Ossgood. The Latin form is Osgotus. Two old variations of the name are Osgirth and Osyth.
The King of Northumbria in 612 was Osway. He rang many changes on the name, some of which were Oswin, Osino, Oswius, Osweus, Oswin and Osguid. His successor some years later was Oswulf or Osulf.
Before the Norman Conquest Clapa Osgod was living at Lambeth, and it was at the marriage feast of his daughter, Gytha, in 1402, the Harthacnut, or "Hardicanute," died, as he drained his goblet. Osgod was second only to the king in power.
After the battle of Hastings the Saxon monks Osgod and Alrik, removed Harold's remains to their monastery at Waltham. In Domesday Book mention is made of several Osgoods, holding lands in a number of counties. Osgot was a great landed proprietor, probably one of the Saxons who made his peace with the Conqueror, and was confirmed in his possessions. Robertus Osegood was a burgess of Wiltshire, living in the thirteenth century. In 1316 Adam de Osgodby, or Yorkshire, was keeper of the great seal.
For two centuries the Osgood family has been in power in Massachusetts and New York.
One ancestor was John, who came over in 1638. He came from Herrell, or Wherwell, near Andover, and is said to have named Andover, Massachusetts, which town he helped to found. His was the second house there, and religious services were held in it until the church was built. The property has been in possession of the family until within the last few years. According to tradition, John "feared neither the theological devil nor the red ones" who prowled in the neighborhood. He went to church with his musket, and he and his sons went armed to the teeth when trouble with the Indians threatened. John Osgood was a religious enthusiast who "devoted all his leisure to the glory of God," as it has been expressed. No better type of the God-fearing, stout-hearted pioneer can be found. He was the first representative for Andover to the General Court, 1651.
Another ancestor was Christopher Osgood -- or Ossgood, as the name was more commonly spelled in colonial times. He and his wife, Margaret, were the first settlers in the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts. Another pilgrim was William Osgood, who went to Salisbury, Massachusetts.
It is said that the three Osgoods were brothers. It is somewhat singular fact that each reared a family of two sons and four daughters. A curios document is Christopher's will, proved in 1650. "My wish is that my daughters do not marry without the desire of my wife, and the consent of my overseers, and that their several portions be paid when they are 20 years old, if they be not married before that."
All Osgoods educated their sons well, sending them to the best Boston schools and to college. Nineteen were graduates of Harvard before 1834, and eight at other New England colleges. Few of the family have cared for a commercial career, although it may be mentioned that the first mills on the Concord River were built by Christopher Osgood; nor have the clash and struggle of political life appealed to them. One characteristic is a strong religious nature, with the result that a large number have chosen the ministry of the gospel -- so many, indeed, that the name has a distinctly religious sound.
The Osgoods have ever been staunch patriots. Captain John, son of John the first, was one of the number imprisoned by Andross during the opposition to the taxation of 1687. Colonel John and Captain Peter Osgood were members of the committee which drew up resolutions against the stamp act. Peter was a leading member of the committee formed to encourage home manufactures. He would have nothing to do with English importations. Yankee-made articles were good enough for him -- everything else was superfluous.
Massachusetts Revolutionary rolls of those who flew to arms upon the "Lexington Alarm" give the names of six Osgoods from Andover, eight from Salisbury, and twelve from other towns. Under "Miscellaneous Services" Benjamin Osgood "marched 26 miles from home," Thomas "enlisted October 6, 1777, discharged October 18, 20 miles from home."
Samuel Osgood, of Andover, the fifth in descent from John, commanded a company of minute men at Lexington and Concord, and served on many important committees in the Provincial Congress. He helped to frame the Constitution of the United States, and was a member of the Cabinet. This position, however, he resigned when the capital was removed from New York to Philadelphia. He was conspicuous in all public movements. The first two names on the list of incorporators of the present public school system of New York are those of De Witt Clinton and Samuel Osgood. Samuel was the first Postmaster General of the United States, and at his house, 1 Cherry Street, Washington stayed when he came to New York for his inauguration.
Another Samuel Osgood, born in 1812, is regarded as one of the literary lights of the family. Samuel is a name of honor; the representative in art is Samuel, born 1808. Many of his canvases are treasured in the great public collections of the country. His wife was Frances Sargent Locke, better known by her pen name, "Fanny Forrester."
One of the few poems of merit suggested by the Civil War was written by Kate Putman Osgood. "Driving Home the Cows" was its title, and it was copied by nearly every journal in the country. In the realm of philanthropy we find the name Helen Osgood, of Boston, who won fame and praise for her patriotic labors. Thaddeus Osgood, born in 1775, organized the first church in Buffalo and founded many others. The great philanthropist, George Peabody, was of Osgood lineage.
Martha Osgood, a Colonial belle and beauty, furnishes the romance and the family history by having obliging enough to elope, in true heroic style, from a second-story window, with her lover, Enoch Poor, the General Poor who commanded a regiment at Bunker Hill. Her sister, Dorcus, married General Dearborn, a name also honored in history of the early struggles of our country.
The old-fashioned names, Eunice, Lois, Polly, Dolly, and Susannah have many representatives in this family. Less common, but more curious, are the names Apphia, Farina, Lana, Zuriah and Sabinet. In one family we find the three sisters, Prudence, Patience and Relief. The Beau Brummel of the family was Dr. Kendall Osgood, surgeon in a Revolutionary regiment. Afterward he went to Petersborough, New Hampshire, to practice his profession, but his dress worked his undoing, and he was obliged to abandon medicine and take up farming. His every-day grab was a red broadcloth coat, buff vest, buckskin trousers, silver knee buckles, silk stockings, wig, and cocked hat. The good doctor was so far from resenting the slight put upon him and his rainbow attire that he left $1,000 by will to the town.
The arms represented belonged to John, the pioneer. They are: Argent, three garbs, in a double tressure, flory counterflory, gules, double argent.
Crest: A demi-lion, rampant, proper, supporting a garb, gules.
In heraldry, the garb denotes plenty, and the first bearer of the arms did deserve well for his hospitality. Another symbolic meaning in that "the harvest of the first hopes had been secured." The tressure flory is an emblem signifying preservation or protection. It is bourne in the arms of Scotland, and the legend is that is was given to Achailus, King of Scotland, by Charlemagne, in order to signify that the French lilies should defend the Scottish lion. This double tressure was first assumed by Robert Stuart, to testify his approval of the alliance which he had renewed with Charles V of France. The lion has always held a high place in heraldry as an emblem of deathless courage. The helmet denotes wisdom and surety in defense. As to the colors, gules stands for fortitude, and argent, for peace and security.