The First Skinner Families of Edwards County, Illinois

Source:  History of Edwards Co ILL 1993, Pg. 471

(Sometimes called History of Ed Co Vol 2)


Submitted by John Edward Skinner of Albion IL. And Samuel Anderson Skinner


    Benjamin Skinner, according to the Shawneetown Land Records, purchased three tracts of land from that source: on 24 October 1817; 25 January 1819; and on 19 April 1820. This land is located west of Albion, Illinois, bounded by the Ellery Road on the east and Highway 15 on the north.


       Information has been handed within the family that this branch of the Skinner Family arrived in Edwards County in spring of 1817 and that the first branch of this Skinner Family arrived in America in 1642.


       Benjamin and his family were reported to have spent the previous year in Kentucky and several years before that in the Nashville area of Tennessee. He was reported to have been an overseer for Andrew Jackson during his involvement in the Indian Wars and The War of 1812 (The battle of New Orleans was fought in Jan 1815).


The story came down that difficulties of understandings developed between the two men.


      There is no evidence in the Jackson Papers at the Hermitage, which would indicate that this information is accurate.  One scholar involved with the papers stated that Jackson's records during this period were very incomplete.


      Benjamin Skinner was reported to have been born in South Carolina in the area of the Pee Dee River, and his wife, Charity, was born in North Carolina (Illinois Census of 1850 reports her as having been born in North Carolina.)


      There were four girls in the family:


       1.  Nancy married William Batson

       2.  Clarissa married Joseph Huston

       3.  Chlorinda married a man by the name of Carlton

       4.  And a fourth daughter was reported to have married a man by the name of Moss


      The eldest son was named John Davis who was born in South Carolina in 1805 and died Feb 27, 1855.

      The youngest son was Samuel L and he was born about 1819 and died October 21, 1875. He married Elizabeth Fortnor (Eliza).


      The census records of 1820, taken in Illinois, indicate that Benjamin Skinner was over the age of 45 and was born in South Carolina. This would indicate he was born in 1775 or earlier.


      The first census taken in the United States in 1790 indicates that there were four Skinner families living in South Carolina and that a Benjamin Skinner resided in the Cheraw Area of South Carolina, which is located on the Pee Dee River.


      This Benjamin Skinner was made a land grant of 200 acres in 1785 on Sparrow Swamp in the Cheraw land District.


      According to that census he had a wife, seven sons under the age of 16, and three daughters.


      The Benjamin Skinner who came to Illinois in 1817 was probably one of those sons.


      The Benjamin Skinner who came to Illinois died between these dates: his will was dated May 25,1848 and it was filed for probate on June 12,1848. He willed his farm to his youngest son, Samuel L. For years it was believed that Samuel L. was the eldest son, but census records indicate otherwise.


      John Davis Skinner, eldest son of Benjamin Skinner, had a farm west of Albion, adjacent to his father's. He married Barpha Anderson Grayson on May25, 1829. In the census of 1830 he is listed as head of a household. His wife and a small child are listed as members of that household. His wife's maiden name was Anderson and she was previously married to a man named Grayson. It is evidently the child of her first marriage who is listed on that census report.

      The Census of 1850 gives a more accurate picture of the John Davis and Barpha (Anderson-Grayson) Skinner Family. Appearing on that report was the name of Sarah Grayson, age 23.

The following children and their ages appear:


 William, age 19

 Benjamin, age 17

 Thomas, age 15

 Samuel, age 13

 Charity, age 10

 Margaret, age 8

 Annice, age 7

 Nancy, age 5

 Mary, age 9 months.


Another boy, John, was born after 1850.


John Davis Skinner died February 27, 1855 and his estate was settled December 16, 1856. His estate papers are on file in the Edwards County Courthouse. During the 1980's his tombstone, along with two others of his children, were moved to the Wanborough Cemetery and placed on the Skinner burial plot. All other stones have disappeared as the land has been under cultivation for years.

         Loyd Skinner made the statement that at least twenty people must have been buried there. (Speaking of burials on the farm)




 Skinner, John Thomas and Etta Jane Cox



         John Thomas Skinner was the son of Samuel Anderson and Mary Elizabeth (St. ledger) Skinner. Etta Jane (Cox) Skinner was the daughter of James Monroe and Elizabeth Jane (Worley) Cox. John and Etta had six children; five reached maturity, Ruby Jane dying in infancy:


      Hazel Marie Skinner was born September 13,1902 and died in March 1988. She married Harry Keen in 1926. Marie taught eight years in the schools of Illinois - in Mill Shoals, Browns, West Frankfort, Albion Grade School and the Scottsville Rural School. Her husband was associated with these schools - West Frankfort, Virgennes, Ashley (as principal of the High School), Mt. Carmel (as Superintendent of Schools), Lawrenceville (as Superintendent of Schools) and Vincennes (Indiana) University. They had three children: Robert Donald, married Margaret Stillwell, and they reside near Carbondale, Illinois. (He retired as a teacher from the Niles Township High School, near Chicago.); Mrs. Robert Brunson (Jean) of Champaign ILL, where her husband is a Certified Public Acct; Mrs. Duane (Jo) Kessler of Centralia, Illinois. Jo teaches Kindergarten in one of the Centralia schools and her husband is the Business Manager of the junior college.


     Ina Mae Skinner Was born February 16,1904. She married Elmer Hielpa in 1956. Ina taught over forty years in the Albion Grade school-Third Grade, Kindergarten and First Grade and three years in the Rural Schools of Blood and Shelby. Her husband was employed by the United States Post Office in Albion for many years.


     Samuel Bernard Skinner was born October 31, 1905 and died August 26,1972. He married Marie Lipper in 1935. The first several years of life, he worked for the Firestone Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio. After his marriage and his wife engaged in farming the remainder of their lives. They had four children; one, Frank Edward, died in infancy, Mary Etta is minister of a Lutheran Church in Rome NY. Previous to her entering the ministry, she was engaged in education in Illinois, with Air Force in Spain, with the University of Iowa and with New York University - Utica; Mrs. Harry (Kathleen) Hindman of Olivette,  Missouri.  She taught school for a few years. Her husband is employed by the Monsanto Chemical Company in the St. Louis, Missouri area; William Benjamin was born June 29, 1946. He married Vicki Schneider in 1972. He is employed installing and maintaining scanners in several hospitals. He and his wife are deeply involved with Jehovah's Witnesses Religious Groups.


     Helen Marjorie Skinner was born July 1,1911. She married Glendon Sharp in 1934. She was a Psychiatrist Nurse with the Peoria State (IL) Hospital for over 30 years. Her husband was employed by the Keystone Steel and Wire Company in the Peoria, Illinois area. They had three daughters: Mrs. Jerry (Jacqueline) Richter of Ottawa Lake, Michigan (Toledo Ohio area), Ohio. She is a nurse and her husband is an engineer. Mrs. Clarence (Katherine) Modglin of   Davenport, Iowa. She is employed in the Pharmacy Section of a K-Mart Store. Her husband taught in the public schools of Iowa and is presently employed as a teacher in a prison. He has side interests as an automobile mechanic. Mrs. Bradley (Margo) Brown of Cedar Rapids She is employed as an industrial Nurse and her husband is engaged in the installation of air conditioning and related installations.

     John Edward Skinner was born October 8, 1914. He married Martha Jane Wilbourne in Oct 1948 and was divorced in August 1968. He served with the Eighth Air Force in Europe during World War II. He was on duty in the Pentagon, Washington D.C. for over three years after World War II. He served in the United States Air Force Reserve for over twenty years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was in public education for over thirty years. He is the only descendent of the Benjamin Skinner who settled in Edwards Co in 1817, who carries the Skinner surname, presently living in Edwards Co IL.




 Samuel Anderson Skinner



          Samuel Anderson Skinner, the fourth son of John Davis and Barpha Skinner, was born March26, 1836 and died October 19,1908. He is buried in the Wanborough Cemetery west of Albion. He first married a young girl by the name of Rachael. Her tombstone was found in the Wilson Cemetery in northern Wayne County, Illinois. Her maiden name must have been Rachael Wilson. She died young. He married Mary Elizabeth St. Ledger on December 1, 1873. They lived in the Wanberough area, west of Albion, Illinois, from 1885 until his death October 10,1908. To this union were born seven children, six reaching maturity, Philip dying in infancy.


     John Thomas Skinner born September 23,1873 and died October 10,1952, married Etta Jane Cox, March 18, 1901 and she died Jan 4,1946. John taught school in Illinois and Idaho for 25 years. He engaged in the following pursuits in addition to teaching: raised fruit, truck farmed, crop farmed and was a beekeeper, having over 200 hives of bees at one time.


     Martha Skinner, born February 5,1875 and died from complications during childbirth in 1900. She married Lincoln Moody.


     Rose Skinner, born November 11,1876 and died in the fall of 1958. She taught schools few years. She married Arthur Shepherd. They were engaged in farming during their active lives.)


     Dan (Daniel) Skinner, born December 18,1880 and died in 1971. He married Rozzie McKibben. He was a Rural Mail carrier much of his active life. He engaged in many small businesses in addition to working for the U.S. Postal Service: raising and selling plants to the community, selling appliances and bottled gas, orcharding, general farming and dairying.


     Rena (La Rena) Skinner, born February 2,1883 and died in 1949. She married Samuel Smith. They were engaged in farming most all their lives.


     Loyd Skinner, born November27, 1890 and died in 1969. He married Rose Perille. He was employed by the United States Postal Service most of his active life in Chicago.




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