Monday June 26 1950
It will be many a day before the residents of Hillsborough will forget the phrase "Back to Osman's" because the Osman property was for so long a show place of the community, beloved for its beautiful grounds, flowers, shrubs and artificial lake. The drive in to the house, a mile or so off the main thoroughfare, is in itself a delight over a narrow road paved with crushed limestone sparkling in the sun, beneath tall trees as it nears the grounds, and finally winding up to the handsome residence, once the centre of gracious hospitality.
The setting is English and English Influence marks the interior as well, for Charles Joseph Osman was English born and bred. He was born in Kensington, London, "within sound of Bow Bells" as Londoners are proud to proclaim, on April 22, 1850. He was educated at Cheshunt Boys School near Waltham, in the country and thus was fostered a natural love for the great out-doors. As a very young man he became a commercial clerk on the London docks - a position well suited to broaden anyone's education and outlook on life. His great friend there was John Bell, son of one of London's greatest ship owners, and when he was twenty the two friends set sail for Canada in one of Bell's ships, landing at Chatham, NB. There he started life in Canada as book-keeper for one of the contractors on a section of the Intercolonial Railway then being laid from Moncton to Riviere du Loup. With his friend John all spare hours were spent exploring forest and stream along the "North Shore" and when he moved to Toronto his heart was still "in the wilds of New Brunswick" and when, returning from a trip to his old home in England, he was offered the position as secretary and book-keeper of the Albert Manufacturing Co. by the general manager Joseph Tompkins, he accepted and thus came to Hillsborough. In 1877 he married Laura Tompkins and became a citizen of the village for life. Active in body and mind he was always tireless in any activity promoting public good. He was made Justice of the Peace, news of which caused much amusement in England among his boyhood companions who remembered all too well his leadership in many a prank at school. In 1883 he was elected to the County Council. In 1897 he was elected as Liberal member of the Provincial Legislature for Albert County, during the governorship of A. R. McLelan of Riverside. By this time he had succeeded Mr. Tompkins in business so that with local and political doings his life was a busy one. He was re-elected in the general election of 1899 and again in 1903. It was said of his speeches that no other member could express his views in such beautiful English, and that city clergymen often attended parliament to learn from his easy fluency. He became a personal friend of Sir Wilfred Laurier, himself an eloquent speaker.
On March 6, 1907 he was appointed speaker of the House, and the next March was defeated with his party. He died on April 13, 1922, leaving one son, Conrad J., who made the old homestead his home until a short time before his death when he purchased valuable property in Montreal.
"Back to Osman's" became known to natural scientists some years ago when the bones of a prehistoric Mastadon were uncovered while a small brook was being dammed to form a picturesque pond. These interesting relics were presented to the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John and provided material for one of...