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The End of a Line

Enoch Osgood House, built 1810, Newburyport

Enoch Osgood (1775-1849) and Mary Brown (ca 1788-1863)

Generation Five Family 500

ENOCH OSGOOD (John Osgood4, Hannah Abbott Osgood3, George2, George1), b. at Andover, 7 Nov 1775 son of John and Huldah (Frye) Osgood; d. at Newburyport 20 May 1848; m. 15 Feb 1807 MARY BROWN of not yet known origins; Mary d. Dec 1863. (1) She was known to be living in 1859 when her daughter’s estate was probated.

Enoch Osgood was involved in the start-up of The Newburyport Mutual Fire Insurance Company which was incorporated in 1829. (2) Fire insurance companies first came into being after the Great London Fire of 1666 in which three-fourths of the buildings in the city were destroyed. In the American colonies, the first forms of insurance were marine insurance protecting vessels involved in trade. Toward the close of the 18th century, companies began to offer fire insurance. In the first 40 years of the 19th century, there was a boom in the formation of mutual fire insurance companies. Most often, these companies were financed by the selling of shares and were joint stock companies. They paid very tiny dividends to the stock holders. In the early years, the companies often did not have enough cash reserves to fully pay out claims if there was a large fire. This occurred in 1835 in the great New York fire when many insurance companies became insolvent. In 1837, the state of Massachusetts was the first to require insurance companies to maintain a fund that would insure that contracts were carried out. (3)

Enoch was apparently prosperous as he was able to build a large home in 1810, still standing at 37 Prospect Street in Newburyport. The house is pictured above. Enoch Osgood did not leave a will. The only available documents deal with the administration of the estate which is assumed by Enoch Osgood and agreed to by widow Mary Osgood and Mary Anna Osgood. The bond surety for the estate was $30,000 suggesting that the value of the estate was considerable.

Enoch and Mary Osgood had four children all born at Newburyport. One child died in infancy and their son Henry died at age 21 years. Neither daughter Mary Ann or son Enoch married, so the line of descendants ends here for this limb of the tree.

1. MARY ANNA OSGOOD, b. 29 Dec 1807; d. at Somerville, 7 Jun 1858. Mary Anna did not marry.

2. ENOCH OSGOOD, b. 30 Jul 1811; d. at Chelsea, 22 Mar 1866. Enoch did not marry. In his will written 29 September 1858, Enoch left his estate to Mrs. Laura P. Holland who had cared for members of the family. The will also gives the dates of death of his siblings Henry and Mary Anna and his father Enoch. (4) Mrs. Laura P. Holland seems to be Laura Pierce, widow of Samuel Holland daughter of Joseph (or Isaac) and Frances Pierce. She was born in 1804 and died 1892 in Chelsea.

3. JOHN FARNUM OSGOOD, b. 14 Jun 1815; d. 1 Aug 1815.

4. HENRY OSGOOD, b. 31 May 1819; d. at Newburyport, 12 May 1841.


Photo credit:

1) Osgood, Genealogy of Descendants. . . Osgood, p 69

2) Currier, History of Newburyport, p 160

3) Oviatt, F. C. “Historical Study of Fire Insurance in the United States,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol 26, Sep 1905, pp 155-178

4) Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991, Suffolk County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, 1636-1899

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