Holt County, MO Biography

Judge George P. SKEELS, one of the leading citizens of Liberty township, was born in Seneca County, Ohio. His English ancestors were early settlers of New England and lived in Conn. His grandfather, Jason SKEELS, was a captain during the Revolutionary War. His father, Silas SKEELS, was born in New Haven, Conn. and in 1806 the family moved to Cayuga County, N.Y., and settled near what is now the city of Auburn, the whole country at the time being wild and uncultivated. Silas SKEELS was a soldier in the War of 1812 under Scott and Brown, was in the Canada expeditions, and participated in the battles of Lundy's Lane, Fort George, and Fort Erie. His second wife was Nicy BEARDSLEY of Cayuga Co., N.Y. She was a native of the state of Conn. and the mother of George P. SKEELS.
In 1832, Silas SKEELS moved the family from N.Y. to Ohio and settled in Scipio township of Seneca Co. where he lived until his death in Jan. 1863 at the age of 84. George P. SKEELS was born in 1833 and obtained most of his education at the Seneca Co. Academy at Republic, Ohio. At age 17 he began teaching school in the winters and working on his father's farm in the summers. In the spring of 1856, he re-located in Franklin Co., Kansas, about 22 miles south of Lawrence. While living in Kansas he could not avoid entanglement in the Kansas Border War, 1856-57. He was in numerous skirmishes and engagements; was at Lawrence at the time Atchison and Stringfellow attempted to cross the river; was at the battle, with Titus, on Bull Creek; was near Osawatamie when the place was burned; and at Hickory Point received a bullet through one of his legs while attempting to dislodge the enemy from the log house which figured prominently in the conflict. During the summer of 1857, Judge SKEELS was in the land office at Lecompton, Kansas.
He came to Holt Co., Oct. 26, 1857 and taught school the following winter. He engaged in teaching until Jan. 1, 1860 when he married Serelda A. CATON, daughter of C.P. CATON, an old resident of Holt Co. Because his father was in failing health, he returned to Seneca Co., Ohio and remained until his father's death. He came back to Holt Co. in April 1864 and began farming in Township 62, Range 39 (about 3 miles northwest of Mound City). In 1866, he was elected to the Holt Co. court and was re-elected in 1868 and served until 1874. He was 6 children. He has always supported the Republican party and assisted with giving the large vote to Fremont in 1856.

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