ALBERT STETSON, A. M., who ably fills the chair of Language and Reading in the Illinois State Normal University
[Illinois State University], and a resident of Normal, was born in Kingston, Mass., Aug. 6, 1834. The Stetsons
in the United States are direct descendants of the Pilgrims who landed on our shores in 1820, from the Mayflower.
Albert Stetson is a son of Joseph and Hannah (Bryant) Stetson. They had a family of four children, of whom there
are living at the present writingóEmma F., the youngest, and Albert, our subject, the eldest. Our subject's father
was a harnessmaker by trade and followed the same in Kingston, Mass.
In early life Albert worked at shoemaking, and afterward in a tack manufactory. His education, however, was not neglected, for after attending the common schools at Kingston and an academy at New Hampton, N. H., for a while, he entered the Bridgewater Normal School, from which graduated at the expiration of a year. Soon after leaving the Normal School he entered upon the duties of a pedagogue at Provincetown, Cape Cod, having charge of a grammar school in that locality one year. After this he entered the preparatory department of Antioch College at Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he remained a year. He then returned to New England and accepted a position as assistant teacher in a private school for boys, at New Bedford, Mass., and was there one year. Leaving the school-room he was under private tutorship for a few months, and then matriculated at Phillips Exeter Academy, the school from which Daniel Webster graduated, and followed the curriculum of that institution for one year.
In 1858 Prof. Stetson entered the Sophomore class of Harvard University and graduated therefrom with honors in 1861, having completed the entire course. He then taught for one year the High School at Provincetown, Mass., the same town where he had taught just ten years before. In the fall of 1862 Prof. Stetson came West, arriving at Normal, October 12, and accepted a position as teacher in the Illinois State University, which position he is filling at the present time with credit to himself and honor to the institution. Richard Edwards, long President of the State Normal University, and now Superintendent of Public Instruction of Illinois, was one of Mr. Stetson's teachers at Bridgewater, and it was at his request that our subject accepted the position he now holds.
Prof. Stetson was married, June 29, 1864, to Margaret E. Osband. She was born in Wayne County, N. Y., and is the daughter of Gideon and Mary Ann Osband. Their family consists of two childrenóLillian M. and Will Stetson. Mrs. Stetson is a graduate of Macedon Academy, Wayne County, N. Y., and a teacher for many years. She came to Normal in 1861 to accept the position of Preceptress of the State Normal School, having been the first to hold that position, and continued as such for three years. She was then married to the subject of this sketch and abandoned the profession, having taught altogether for upward of twelve years. In the summer of 1868 Prof. Stetson went to Europe and was absent for about four months. During that time his competent wife taught several of his classes. Mrs. Stetson is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The brother of Mrs. S., Gen. E. D. Osband, was a resident of Chicago prior to the breaking out of the late Civil War, and was among the first to enlist in the Union army with Barker's Dragoons, in which he held the rank of First Lieutenant. This was the first company to leave Chicago for the field of conflict. He served three months under George B. McClellan and then came to Chicago and helped to raise the 4th Illinois Cavalry, and was elected Captain of Company A; later this company was detached, becoming Gen. Grant's escort, its Captain was thus on very intimate terms with the General, and at his request went to Mississippi and raised the 3d United States Colored Cavalry, of which he became Colonel, and was finally brevetted General. He died in 1866 on a plantation in Mississippi, where he had settled at the close of the war.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 603. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.