ASHLAND -- Since Monday was World Teachers’ Day, it seems appropriate to honor the legacy of Belle F. Osborn.
Belle was born in Ashland on July 24, 1854. She was the daughter of Judge and Mrs. William Osborn. William was an attorney, common pleas judge and editor of the Ashland-Times in the 1800’s.
Belle attended school in Ashland, the College of Wooster, Wittenberg College and Vassar College and began a teaching career in Ashland. She first taught at Walnut Street School (which later became Arthur Street School.) Belle had a love for teaching and helped all of her students.
She often volunteered her spare time to assist young women in becoming better educated and well-rounded.
Belle was very involved in the community. She was a friend of the public library, a member of the Friday Literary Club, the Art Club and was a charter member of the Sarah Copus Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also a member of the Presbyterian Church and loved to write.
Belle later taught at Ashland High School for 11 years. She eventually became the principal and was so beloved that the Ashland High School Class of 1904 presented her with a valuable hairpin. In 1897, when the superintendent passed away in February, Belle was appointed as interim superintendent until the end of the school year. She then returned to teaching.
Belle spent a total of 22 years involved in educating Ashland's youth.
She was remembered for her genial personality, grace and charm, dedication to education and other causes so much that Osborn School was dedicated in her name. The school was opened on Jan. 29, 1925, replacing the Fourth Street School.
Osborn School was located at the corner of East Main Holbrook Streets and was torn down in 2015.
Belle died March 19, 1923 in Austin, Texas leaving bequests for a scholarship for a music student and the purchase of new books at the library.
A dear friend of Belle’s looked down upon her face in her casket and stated, “I never knew anyone of whom so many persons said ‘She was the best friend I ever had.’ ”
Our many thanks go out to our teachers today who must face the ever changing challenges of teaching during the Covid 19 pandemic.