Biography of William Skinner
Kalamazoo County, MI Biographies



Kalamazoo County

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Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

Henry Skinner was born in Rutland Co., Vt., Oct. 27, 1777. Among the Grecu Mountains he grew to manhood, choosing the trade of a saddler and harness-maker, which he followed for many years. Arrived at majority, he emigrated to the town of Providence, in Saratoga Co., N. Y., where he bought and cleared up a farm, which was a good one, although the township was, and now is, one of the poorest in the State. On this farm he reared a family of ten children (five boys and five girls), of whom eight are still living. In 1850, Mr. Skinner sold his farm and came to Cooper, where most of his children reside, and with whom he lived until his death, which occurred Aug. 25, 1853.

William Skinner, the fifth child of Henry Skinner, was born in Providence, N. Y., Dec. 10, 1805. He attended the district schools winters and worked on his father's farm summers, until he arrived at majority, when he started out in business for himself. He spent six months in the Gaines Academy, where he made such good use of his opportunities that he fitted himself for a teacher. For several years he followed teaching winters and farming summers. In the fall of 1833, Mr. Skinner came to Michigan, stopping near Ann Arbor, where he taught school two terms. In 1835 he returned to New York, and married. He remained there four years, when, with his wife and one child. he again came to Michigan, this time settling in Cooper, where he bought the east half of the southeast quarter of section 16. It was heavily timbered land and unimproved. On this a log house was erected, and life in the new home commenced. Mr. Skinner at once commenced to improve his land. The farm of eighty acres has been enlarged, until he now owns three hundred and fifteen acres of land,-two hundred and thirty acres of which is improved. He has erected large and commodious buildings. Mr. Skinner is a supporter of the principles of the Democratic party. His first vote was for Andrew Jackson, and since that time he has never missed an election. He has been elected to most of the offices in the township; was supervisor one term; township clerk four terms; treasurer one term; and school inspector several terms, which office he now holds, although in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He is one of the best-read men in the township, and as a ncighbcr and citizen is held in high esteem. Mr. Skinner has never had to use eye-glasses, and can see to read the finest print by lamp light, or otherwise. He is a believer in the Universalist religion. On the 25th day of October, 1835, he married Miss Hannah Tabor, who was born in Providence, N. Y., Dec. 15, 1817. She was the daughter of Peleg and Rebecca (Hicks) Tabor. Mrs. Skinner died Sept. 16, 1850. There were born to them six children, as follows; William L, born Sept. 3, 1838; Stephen V., Feb. 10, 1840; Jarvis H., May 22, 1842; James M., Oct. 14, 1844; Mary E., born Jan. 8, 1847; and Peleg T., born Sept. 4, 1849. Mr. Skinner married, April 23, 1851, Harriet Wadsworth, who was born March 16, 1829. She was a daughter of James W. Wadsworth. There were born to them two children, as follows: Lewis C., born Feb. 27, 1852, and Leslie, May 24, 1853. Mrs. Skinner died July 3, 1854, and he married Alice Ann Athey, daughter of James Athey. She was born Jan. 8, 1816, and died May 7, 1861. Their union was blessed with three children, Charles E., born Oct. 18, 1855; Hattie Ann, Dec. 1, 1857; and Francis L., April 21, 1860. On the 9th day of April Mr. Skinner was married to Mrs. Ellen W. Mosher, who was born Dec. 7, 1821, in Aurelius, Cayuga Co., N. Y.

History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of its Men and Pioneers.
Everts & Abbott., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.