Sheriff F. O. Ostenberg

Franc Ostenberg was born in Morlunda, Sweden in 1857.  He, along with his parents, two brothers and two sisters were among the immigrants who settled in southern Saline County in the late 1870’s. 

Mr. Ostenberg held a number of positions in local government in the 1890’s, including Clerk of the District Court and Undersheriff.  He is known to have been active in the local Republican Party.  Upon the death of Sheriff Malmgren on March 21, 1897, Undersheriff Ostenberg became Sheriff of Saline County.   Newspaper accounts from that period suggest that he had taken on many of the responsibilities of the Sheriff’s office as Malmgren struggled with his own personal problems.   

Salina’s Mayor at the time was an outspoken member of the now defunct Populist Party.  He objected strongly and publicly to Ostenberg’s assumption of the Sheriff’s duties, citing it as an attempt on the part of the Republican Party to dominate local government.   Upon learning of Sheriff Malmgren’s death, the Mayor appealed to Kansas Governor John Leedy (also a Populist) who appointed Olaf Forsse as Saline County Sheriff on March 31, 1897.  Ostenberg’s tenure as Sheriff lasted only ten days.

Franc Ostenberg left the Sheriff’s office to become a respected member of the Saline County business community.  He operated a farm implement dealership on Iron Avenue near downtown Salina until his death in 1912.