Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 141] William Cosgrovea keen and progressive farmer of Wampum, who has made a splendid record for successful work in agricultural lines, and is an honor alike to his township and his county as a representative of the best class of citizens, was born in County Armagh, Ireland, June 4, 1845. He is a son of James and Elizabeth (McKinley) Cosgrove, and a grandson of William Cosgrove, who was a weaver and draper in County Armagh in the north of Ireland, and employed a large number of men at one time. He died at the age of sixty, and was laid away according to the burial service of the Presbyterian Church, of which he was a life member.

James Cosgrove, the father of the present scion of the family, farmed in Ireland until he came to America in 1851. In the spring of that year, he took passage in a sailing vessel out of Belfast, and came very near not living to tell the dreadful experience that befell him and his family, for they were shipwrecked, and none of their goods saved, and their only possession on landing in the new country was the money in the belt that Mr. Cosgrove wore strapped around his waist. After their arrival in New York City, they moved to Little Falls, N. Y., where they lived but a short time. Friends had preceded him several years before to Washington County, and they provided him a house, where he lived a year and a half while he was looking about for a suitable property in which to invest his money. He soon selected two hundred acres of land on high ground a few miles from New Galilee in Big Beaver township, Lawrence County. By the following fall he had made ready a house, and taken possession of it with his family, most of whom are still living on the estate. Mr. and Mrs. James Cosgrove brought nine children into the world, namely: Margaret; William, the subject of this sketch; James, who lives in Little Beaver township; Mary, who is the wife of Dr. William McCune; Elizabeth J., deceased; Samuel P., whose home is in Little Beaver township; Maria, who became Mrs. Albert Scott; David S; and Mattie A., who is the wife of Robert Dawson. James McKinley, our subject's maternal grandfather, was a farmer, who lived in Ireland, and followed his chosen occupation until his death when upwards of eighty years of age.

Ever since he was eight years old, our subject has lived in Lawrence County, and most of the time on the farm to which his father brought the family. He attended school until he was eighteen, working on the farm in the summer. When he was twenty-five years of age, Mr. Cosgrove bought from his father fifty acres of land, paying for it in cash $1,200, besides the value of his labor for the preceding four years. To this original tract he has added by purchase twenty-one acres on the north and forty-seven on the south, making a farm of almost 120 acres, which he devotes to general farming, although his orchards come in for a large share of his attention.

In 1876, Mr. Cosgrove built an elegant house, 28x32 feet, and has fitted it up in the most complete style, introducing hot and cold water throughout the house, and heating the rooms with a furnace. Only gas or electric light is lacking, and that is hardly available as yet for a residence outside of a city. In 1890, he built a large barn, 40x60, and put up a steel windmill to force water from a good spring to a tank that is placed on the highest spot in the orchard. Water is then supplied from the tank for the house, both upstairs and downstairs, and for the barn. Mr. Cosgrove has a fine country-seat, and it would be a hard matter to find one more pleasantly located, more completely furnished, or more conveniently arranged in Lawrence Co. He well deserves such a home, for he is cordial in his friendships, kind to his neighbors, ready to oblige in any matter within his power, and thrifty and enterprising in his business. The house, being on an elevation, commands a magnificent view of the Little Beaver River, and the wooded slopes beyond.

In 1880, Mr. Cosgrove wedded Ann Rhodes of Beaver County, daughter of Smiley Rhodes, and she became the mother of one son, William J., before her death. In August, 1889, our subject entered into his second union, his wife being Nancy Boyce, who was born in Pittsburg, and was a daughter of Hugh and Mary (Young) Boyce. Mr. Cosgrove exemplifies the virtues of a refined, Christian gentleman, and reflects great credit on his parents for his excellent bringing-up. He and his beloved wife are members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, to whose spiritual and material support they give liberally. His political views coincide with straight Republican doctrines, and he has served as school director three years, and as supervisor one year. The manner in which Mr. Cosgrove has executed the responsibilities of the trusts that have devolved upon him proves the genuineness of his integrity and the justice of the reputation he has earned for energy and executive ability, as well as probity and unswerving rectitude. Mr. Cosgrove's portrait may be found on a preceding page.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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