Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

July 31, 2013

Home-grown pastor

Miami County native looks back on 40 years serving as Mennonite minister.

Over the years, 80-year-old Millard Osborne has lived in Oregon, Texas, Canada, Illinois and Virginia. So what was it that took a farm boy born and raised in Miami County all across North America?

It was a calling to serve as pastor in the Mennonite church.

For more than 40 years, Osborne worked in different positions within the church, known for its historical link with the Amish faith and a hard stance against war.

Now, as a retired pastor living in Harrisonburg, Va., Osborne has written two memoirs chronicling his life in the ministry and growing up in Miami County. His newest, “Rain on My Roof,” was published in 2012.

Osborne shared from his most recent book Sunday at the Howard-Miami Mennonite Church, which his great-great-grandfather helped establish in the 1800s.

Osborne was born at the family farm near Amboy in August 1932 to Pearl and Ed Osborne, who attended the church at 3976 E. 1400 South.

How his parents’ ancestors ended up in Miami County is a story in itself. Osborne said his grandfather was born in North Carolina to Quaker parents.

During the Civil War, the Confederacy began drafting men up to the age of 50. To avoid serving in that army and fighting for a cause he didn’t believe in, his great-grandfather secretly moved the family in 1865 across the mountains into Indiana on the Underground Railroad — a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century slaves to escape to free states.

They ended up in Richmond, Ind., and eventually moved to the farm near Amboy.

Osborne’s mother’s family came from a staunch Amish community in Ohio. Osborne said his grandfather “got bit by the homestead bug,” and moved out to Kansas, but eventually came back to Indiana and decided to settle in Miami County.

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