Colonial Skeen Family History

The Colonial Skeen Family

Carrel W. Skeen gave this to
Dempsey Jackson in 1964. She gave a copy to her cousin's son,
Richard Jackson, in the early 1980s. He sent a copy to me,
Joan Taylor Gillen, 21 July 2000.

For me, there is information about Robert TAYLOR, his in-laws, children and the granddaughter who married Jesse SKEEN. Additionally, there are many other names along with sources that might assist other researchers of these and other lines. To the best of our knowledge, this material has never been published. Richard and I believe it is worth sharing so others might evaluate the work and explore its veracity. While we invite you to print, distribute and enjoy this document for your own nonprofit, personal use, we ask that you link to this site rather than reproduce the work online. Additionally, we ask that you do not claim any of the apparent work of Carrel W. Skeen as your own.


Joan Taylor GILLEN

Transcription Notes:

Page 1

SKENE, John of Newtyle & Peachfield b. 1649 d ca 10 Apr 1695
Fullerton, Helena

We have not located the place of his birth. His parents were married in Kirkaldie and his older brother was born there (parish records), their third child and all other were born in Aberdeen (parochial records).

He was the first Freemason to become a permanent resident of the New World. The oldest roll of Freemasons is that of 1670 A.D. of Aberdeen Lodge #1. This lists forty-nine "Maister Meassones" and eleven "Entered Prenteises". John, listed as "Merchand and Meason," is the 27th name on this roll. (John BOSWELL, Laird AUCHINLOCK was the first non-operative mason, he was raised in Edinburg 8 June , 1600. Laird ALEXANDER, raised 3 June 1634 was the second. Gradually Scottish Gentlemen L ? ca?? [?Locate? cannot make out the letters] Speculative Masons. With the movement of the Scot's Court to London the custom came to England. John was obviously of that first generation of Scottish Freemasons.)

Like his father, John became a Quaker. He married Helena FULLERTON, the sister of Robert and Thomas FULLERTON who were among the first quakers to migrate to New Jersey. The fact that he was a Burgess of the city made no difference in 1676 John along with George KEITH (later Surveyor Gen'l for East Jersey) with others was arrested for "speaking and praying after the manner of Quakers". They were jailed, their property confiscated, improperly tried and suffered all manner of indignities. This was the more poignant perhaps because John's uncle and cousin were the leaders of those trying to rid Aberdeen of Quakers. The Friend, vol xxvii p259ff published in 1858 give a full report of the trials of this early leader of that denomination. thus, long before the proprietors decided to deport dissenters to the colonies, John resolved to move his family to New Jersey.

On 24 June 1664 the Duke of York had executed a "lease and release" to John, Lord Berkeley and Sir John CARTARET the province of Nova Caesarea, now New Jersey. In 1674 the proprietors divided the province into East Jersey and West Jersey; the dividing line ran from Little Egg Harbor to a point near the present junction of N.J., Penna., and N.Y. Edward BYLLYNGE was the Chief Prop. and Gov. of W. Jersey. On 14 June 1682 John SKENE received a deed from Edw. BYLLYNGE for a plantation to be surveyed for him in any par  of of the province he might choose. With his wife and family he sailed from Aberdeen on the Golden Lion, Capt. REED, commanding. The ship reached the mouth of the Delaware River in October 1682. The family joined the Quaker community near Burlington and John named his new plantation "Peachfield".

John was promptly elected by the freeholders to the General Assembly, and was soon serving on the Governor's Council. On 9 November 1685 he published the commission of Gov. BYLLYNGE making John the third Deputy Gov. of the colony. When Gov. BYLLYNGE died, Gov. Dr. Dan'l COXE renewed the appointment. (The Governors often remained at home, the Dep'y Governor serving as actual governor. Samll JENNINGS was the 1st Dep'y Gov'r and called the 1st Gen'l Assembly on 25 Nov. 1681 which drafted the constitution. The Dep'y Governors who followed were respectively: Thomas OLIVE, John SKEINE, Wm WALSH, Dan'l COX, and Andrew HAMILTON.

He was also a leading member of "the meeting". He was periodically named as a representative of the local "meeting"; he was called upon to speak with couples declaring their intentions to marry and to those reported for a breach of discipline. The last of the many entries in Friend records is for "the 5 day 4mo 1693" when John SKENE and Thomas GARDNER were appointed to attend "Quarterly Meeting ye last 2nd day of this month."

John [cannot make out the rest of this line, the last of page 1]

Page 2

continue transcription, page 2 Colonial Skeen Family**********

The records of the Aberdeen Monthly Meeting show among marriages: "John son of exr SKEEN married Helen FULLERTOUNE daughter of John FULLERTOUNE at Kenever 23 day ___ mo 1669]. The record does not give the date of birth for his son Alexander; his will [refe]eRs to Alexander as his oldest son. Records of the Soc. of Friends do record the date of birth of three daughters: Katherin b 2 day 4 mo 1671; Lilias O day (last of m ___ 2 mo 1673; and Christian (dau.) 5/6 day 3 mo 1675. It would seem, then, that Alexander was probably born in 1670.

With Parochial Records for the family extending up to 1662 and with records under Soc. of Friends as early as 1669 we can place the conversion of both Alexander and m ___ to have taken place between the two dates. It's entirely possible that all of John's children returned to the established church after his death. We know that Alexander and Lilias" did, and Penna. & N. J. Rec'ds of the Soc. of Friends are strangely silent about family after 1695. We know, too, that one of their close childhood friend George ___ th returned to the Ch. of Eng. and became the first Rector at Burlington.

John drafted his will in 1690, it was proved 10 April 1695. Insofar as we are able re ad the document it reads:

I John Skeene of Peachfield in the County of Burlington Gent. being of a sound & dissposing mynd & memorie at present &c and knowing how uncertain mans time is doe therfor make & Declare this my last will and testament In Maner & following (That is to say) first & principalle, I commend my Soul into the hansof Almighty God who gav'd it & my body to the Earth to be decently buriede and that in my buring ground on Peachfield & as touching my personal estate which the Lard hath been pleased to lend and bestow upon me I Give Dispose there of as followeth That is to say I doe hereby Gi ve and dispose my whole estate Real and personal to my Dear & intyrly beloved Wife Helena SKEN that aifter the payment of my just debts she may be in A capacity to dispose of ________ of my said estate among the children procreat betwixt us as she shall see meet as they deserve Giving & to her the sd Helena SKENE my just powers to sell And Dispos of the whol or part of my Lands of Peachfield of Coun and Town _______ Bounds of Burlington or of any of my undivided shair of a quarter part of a proprietary of c ___cel and advice of Patrick ROBESSON, George EUBESON & James MARSHALL my Trusted & beloved friends to whos care as executors In Trust I commend thes & _______ Requesting th ey may be assisting to my dear wife and children. Item my mind is allso Notwithstanding the promisses, that of my dear wife Helena SKEENE should be removed by death before me or day intessed that then that cald this house & plantation wth barns orchids & Gardens _____ now called by the name of Peachfield be intyrly given to Al exander SKEENE oure eldest sone & that all the Rest of my lands and chattells be di vided amongst the other five equalie (there follow provisions should Helena should remaary.

document is signed by John and bears his seal but the device in now indisticnt. The will was not witnessed, but it was proved on the "knowledge" of the hand and seal" by [smudged] REVELL, Secr'y & Reg., Justice Edward BUNLOKE, and Justice William BIDDLE on 10 [smudge, probably April] il 1695.

On 30 March 1695 George HUTCHESON, Daniel LEEDS, and Samuel FURNIS had submitted inventory of John's estate listing: "Personal £308/3/3, a library valued at £24/14/3 negro woman slave £30 and £335 (other slaves or cash), a plantation of 250 acres at ANickson and 1300 acres in town bounds." Letters testamentary were granted to his widow executrix, Helena SKENE on 10 April 1695.

Sources: Hist. of Freemasonry in N.J. R. W. David M'Gregor, in Proc. of N.J. Grand LodgeX1 pub 1937: N. J. Archives of Wills, Series I. Vol. I p 517, 523, vol II p. 4 n; Hist N J. from its Discovery Thos F. Gordon, Trenton 1834 p 335; Historic Collections of state of N.J. by John Bower and Henry Hower p 28; The Friend vol XXVII p 259ff; Arlington Mo. Meeting Records; Burlington Court Book of West Jersey; Burlington Records 1s; Parochial Records of Aberdeen (Scot.); Records Soc. of Friends, Friends House, ni

[In copying, two to five lines appear to have been lost from the bottom of this, the second page.]

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