Biography of William H. Skinner

The father of Charles Skinner came from England to the place where Hartford, Connecticut, now stands in an early day and the city is partly on land that he owned. Charles was born there and married Sarah Orborne, of Maine, then removed to New Brunswick. His son, Alfred, married Abigail Bigelow, to whom was born Henry Skinner, in Kings County, Nova Scotia, on March 26, 1824. On March 26, 1845, this gentleman was united to Ruth A., daughter of James and Mary Illsley, a native of Kings County, Nova Scotia, and to them were born William H. Skinner, the subject of this sketch, on July 24, 1856, in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, and also James Stanley, now in Lewiston; Alfred L., in Lewiston; Samuel W., John, and Oscar, deceased; Charles A., in Brookings, South Dakota; Bradford, deceased; Mary and Agnes A., both deceased.

On April 13, 1873, our subject married Miss Elizabeth A. Laird, who died in July, 1886, leaving five children, Ansel O, at Rathdrum, Idaho; Agnes A., now Mrs. C. L. Wright, at New Hampton, Iowa; Charles H, Guy E., and Mary E., all in Lewiston. On February 29, 1888, Mr. Skinner married Miss Georgia A., daughter of George and Catherine Laird, and a cousin of his former wife. Mrs. Skinner was born in Bradford, Iowa, in March, i860, and has two brothers, J. G. Laird and J. J. Laird, and E. G. Laird, Mrs. W. R. Longhorn, and Mrs. E. G. Sage, half sisters. To Mr. and Mrs. Skinner have been born the following named children, Gladys I., deceased, Catherine, Ruth A., Rae G., Grant, Helen, and Georgia, all at home. Mr. Skinner was educated in Nova Scotia at Acadia College and at Bradford Academy, in Iowa.

He came with his parents to Iowa in 1869. He had taught four years before his advent to Iowa and there for two years he was one of the thorough educators. In 1873 he took a homestead in South Dakota, Brookings County, moving there in 1875. He farmed for a few years and in 1878 he opened a real estate and loan office in Brookings. There he continued until 1900, when he sold and came to Lewiston, where he engaged in contracting, paving the main street in Lewiston. He then went into real estate with Hon. Eben Mounce, the firm was known as Skinner & Mounce.

In 1901, Mr. Skinner was elected to the office of mayor of Lewiston, and 1902 reelected without opposition and he is serving in that capacity at the present writing. It speaks highly of his ability and integrity that he was so soon called by the people to this responsible office. While in Brookings he was postmaster fromi89i to 1895, was elected to the office of district clerk and served the County for five years, was secretary of the board of regents of the State Agricultural College and the United States Experiment Station there and was chairman of the board of County commissioners for three years. In all this long public career in important offices it must be said of Mr. Skinner that he has with great faithfulness, and excellent efficiency conserved the interests of all, and in every case the office sought the man and not the man the office. In his position of chief executive of Lewiston he has wrought many beneficial changes and his work is appreciated by a discriminating people.

He is a member of the Masons, blue lodge, Royal Chapter, and Knights Templar, also of the A. O. U. W., the M. W. A., and the K. of P. He and his family are allied with the Baptist Church and are staunch supporters of the faith. Mr. Skinner is one of the able men of our County, and has wrought with marked wisdom and executive force for its interests; is held in high esteem by all, being a man of enterprise and progressive ideas and dominated by keen perception and practical judgment and sound principles in all of his ways. In addition to his other arduous and many labors, he has found time to study law and is admitted to the state courts.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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