Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Capt. Abraham Skinner 1755-1826

From A Record of the Revolutionary Soldiers buried in Lake County, Ohio, New Connecticut Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Painesville, Ohio, 1902.

Typed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.

Capt. Abraham Skinner, descended, as family tradition relates, from an old English family, was born in Glastonbury, Conn., in the year 1755.

About the time of the accession of Charles the Second to the British throne, the family emigrated to America, feeling, in consequence of their having espoused the cause of Cromwell, and held office under him, that a more congenial home might be found in this country.

In the possession of this branch of the family, at the beginning of the past century, was a sword, which had been used by an ancestor in his service as an officer under Cromwell. This same sword again did valiant service at the time of the Salem Witchcraft Craze, for the descendants of this branch of Skinners boast, that it was one of their ancestors, who dared to lead a squad of determined men to rescue from the gallows a poor woman, condemned to death as a witch.

Capt. Abraham Skinner, son of Abram Skinner and Phoebe Strong, was one of a family of ten children. Two of his sisters married pioneers of the Western Reserve.

Phoebe was the wife of Benjamin Blish, who settled in Mentor, and Jemima married Benaiah Jones, from which the Goldsmith family are descendants. From another sister is descended the well known authoress, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.

Of the early life of Abraham Skinner, we know but little. In the War of the Revolution, his military record shows that he served from the town of East Windsor, among the men who marched from the Connecticut towns, for the relief of Boston in the Lexington Alarm of April 1775, in Capt. Amasa Loomis' Company. Again, enlisted April 24, 1778, in Capt. Harrison's company, served eight months, and was Commissary of Prisones, in the Fourth Regiment, Connecticut Line, Col. John Durke, commanding.

In 1788 he was married to Mary Ayers, resided for a time in Mulberry, Conn., and then moved to East Windsor. In 1796, as the agent of an association, he made a trip to England and returning brought with him three blooded horses, by the name "Creeper,", "King William" and "All Fours." From these have come some of the finest horses of Virginia and New England.

In 1798, Capt. Skinner in company with Gen. Edward Paine, came to the Western Reserve and made large purchases of land in Painesville and elsewhere on the Reserve.

In Painesville, in conjunction with Col. Eleazor Paine, he bought the entire tract No. 4, embracing about 3,240 acres.

Capt. Skinner returned to Conn., remaining in East Hartford until 1803, when he again visited his Ohio lands in company with the family of Col. Paine. They brought with them horses and cattle, farming implements and young fruit trees. They contracted for the clearing of lands, and built log cabins to shelter the Paine family, and one to be ready for the Skinner family when they should come.

Col. Paine and Capt. Skinner at this time, together platted out a town, embracing the site of their improvements, and located on the west side of Grand river about two and a half miles from its mouth. Much on the order of a New England town, this plot included a park or public square, and at the river landing a log warehouse was erected. This town was called "New Market" from the old Indian name Nemaw Wetaw.

Capt. Skinner again returned to Connecticut, and in March 1805, started with his family, consisting of his wife, two daughters, three sons, and two hired men, for their new home in the wilderness. Their journey took them over the accustomed route, through the state of New York and as far as Buffalo. Thence by sleighs they came over the ice of the frozen lake. On the last day, between Ashtabula and Madison a team driven by one of the hired men broke through the ice, soon the horse ridden by the younger daughter, Paulina (afterward wife of Nathan Perry, and mother of Mrs. H. B. Payne of Cleveland) broke through and was extricated with some difficulty.

They spent the night at Madison, and by the next day, the ice which had borne them up so well was unsafe, and they journeyed on by land to their new home, reaching it that same day.

Capt. Skinner was active in the interest of the new place, and other settlers shortly cam in, among them the families of Joseph Pepoon, Benj. Blish and Benaiah Jones.

He made strong efforts to have the county seat located at "New Market," and the first trial was held in Skinner's barn. Soon a two story court house, built of black walnut logs, was compelted by Capt. Skinner, where for several years, law and justice were meted out. At that time the whole of Cuyahoga, Lake and Ashtabula counties were included in the limits of Geauga county.

The first frame house of the new town was now built for the family of Capt. Skinner. Here lawyers, judges, members of Congress, and the early governors, met with the free hosptitality of these old pioneer days.

This house is still in repair and occupied by a great-grandson of its original days.

In 1810 Geauga county was diminished by two0threes of its former territory, and in 1812 the county seat was removed to Chardon.

That same year, Capt. Skinner laid out the village of Fairport, and was one of the most efficient men in getting appropriations for its harbor.

It is said of him, that being a man of large means, and his farm always well stocked, he was thus enabled to be a source of some help to the poorest settlers, that "polite to every body and generous to the needy and suffering everywhere, Capt. Skinner occupied a prominent place among the people of his day."

A notice of his death on Jan. 14, 1826 at the age of seventy-one may be found printed in an early copy of the Painesville Telegraph of Jan. 21, 1826.
He was buried with Masonic honors.

In Capt. Skinner's direct line, the name has not been perpetuated, only the descendants of his daughters, Mrs. Mary S. Hine, and Mrs. Paulina Perry being now alive. Of his children's children but one is now living, Mr. Augustus Hine, formerly of this place, now residing in Los Angeles, California.

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Last updated 3 Apr 2002

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© 2002 Cynthia Turk. All rights reserved.