I came across this drinking trough in the picturesque little part of Garrison, NY know as Garrison Landing.

Clearly it had something to do with Gurdon Saltonstall Osborn (what an interesting name) born June 14, 1895 and died at a very early age (less than one year) on March 13, 1896. I knew that there had to be some kind of story behind this, but for some reason I didn’t pursue it as I normally would.

I belong to a Facebook Group called ‘The Hudson Valley in Pictures‘ and while browsing around today I came across a couple of pictures (very similar to mine) in a post by Cliff McCann. He provided the following information:

Here’s another photo I took while at Garrison last month,This is a watering trough for horses dedicated to, well as you can see Gurdon Saltonstall Osborn. So, who was he, there’s not to much to say about him since he was only a few months old when he died. He is buried in St.Philip’s churchyard in Garrison. He is the grandson of William H. Osborn, railroad tycoon, who in 1881 built Castle Rock as a summer home. His father, Henry Fairfield Osborn, was the president of the American Museum Of Natural History for 25 years and was an avid fossil hunter who named Tyrannosaurus Rex. His brother,Henry F Osborn Jr. was head of the New York Zoological Society. The Osborn’s have left their mark on the Hudson Valley, and a pleasant mark at that

My thanks to Cliff McCann for the additional information.

Hudson Valley magazine provides similar information, but adds a few extra details:

At first glance, you might think that this stone memorial is an old fountain, or perhaps a large and elaborate flower box. In fact, it is a horse trough, used to water thirsty steeds after they ferried their owners to the adjacent train station (which still stands today). Not much is known about Gurdon Saltonstall Osborn, the nine-month-old immortalized by this monument, other than the fact that he is buried in nearby St. Philip’s Churchyard.

Of young Gurdon’s family, however, we know plenty. His grandfather, William H. Osborn, was a 19th-century railroad tycoon. In 1881, William used a portion of his earnings to build a grand “summer home” on a steep hill 600 feet above the Hudson River. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house — complete with a turret and a distinctive red-slate roof — is easily visible from both sides of the river.

Gurdon’s dad, Henry Fairfield Osborn, inherited the fancy digs (which, by the way, are in the same small town as the memorial trough) upon father William’s death in 1894. A well-known paleontologist, Henry was president of the American Museum of Natural History for 25 years, from 1908 to 1933. He was also an avid fossil hunter, and the first scientist to describe and name several dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex. Gurdon’s mom, Lucretia Perry Osborn, authored the 1927 book Washington Speaks for Himself, a collection of General George’s journals, diaries, letters, and official papers. And Henry Fairfield Jr., Gurdon’s older brother, took after both parents: A highly regarded conservationist, he headed up the New York Zoological Society and penned Our Plundered Planet, a 1948 treatise which argued against society’s rampant consumption of natural resources.

I was tempted to convert my picture to black and white, but I decided I liked the pastel blues and yellow of the buildings in the background and so left it in color.

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