Frank I. Osborne

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Francis "Frank" Irwin Osborne (1853–1920) was the Attorney General of North Carolina from 1893 to 1896. Osborne was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and attended the University of Virginia before reading law for 2 years in the offices of Richmond Mumford Pearson, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Osborne was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1875. At age 25, he was elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina and served in the office from 1879-1880. He was elected Attorney General of North Carolina in 1893, but, defeated for reelection to the same office in 1896. Osborne served a term as a state senator from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in the North Carolina General Assembly from 1898-1899. He served on 9 standing Senate Committees. After 1899, Osborne resumed his legal practice at the law firm of Osborne, Maxwell & Kearn. Though, himself, a Democrat, in 1901 Osborne defended both North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice David M. Furches and North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Martin Douglas during their impeachment hearings. Osborne was of the opinion that the Republican judges’ impeachments were unwarranted and an attempted political purge. Osborne’s brilliant speech before the North Carolina General Assembly in closing defense of the justices caused both to be acquitted. As reward for his successful defense of the justices, Theodore Roosevelt in the same year appointed Osborne an associate justice of the United States Court of Private Land Claims.[1][2]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Theodore F. Davidson
Attorney General of North Carolina
1893 - 1897
Succeeded by
Zeb V. Walser


  1. ^ Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 4 (L-O), William S. Powell ed., © 1991 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p. 402
  2. ^ Staff, History of North Carolina, Vol. 6, © 1919, Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, pp. 283-284

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