Lake County Ohio GenWeb
This biography is taken from History of Geauga and Lake counties; Williams Brothers, 1878.
Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.
Abraham Skinner was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut, October 18, 1755, and married October 13, 1788, to Mary Ayers. In 1795 he made a trip to England, and brought back from that country four thorough-bred horses, from which have sprung some of the finest horses of the United States. He made a visit to Ohio in 1800 or 1801, and came to settle in 1803, when he completed his purchases of large tracts of land in what is now the township of Painesville, also in Springfield and Twinsburg, Summit county, and Breckville, Cuyahoga county. In February, 1805, he brought his family to his new home. Three large two-horse sleighs were used to convey the family and household goods. From Buffalo the journey was made on the ice of the lake, arriving on the 5th of March, and having much difficulty in getting on shore because the ice had separated. Mr. Skinner first moved into a log house which stood on the ground now occupied by the residence of his son, Augustus Skinner.
That same season he erected a frame house, which he moved into in the fall, and in which he lived until his death, January 14, 1826, aged seventy years and three months. His wife, Mary Ayres Skinner, died October 7, 1812. The building Mr. Skinner then lived in forms the main part of the house now occupied by his grandson, Homer H. Hine, and is perhaps the oldest frame sstanding in this part of the State, being seventy-three years old. Captain Skinner was a genial, warm-hearted, hospitable and enterprising citizen, to whom this section of the country was indebted for much of its early prosperity. He laid out and was the original proprietor of Fairport. He also laid out a town which he called New Market, some three miles, by the course of the Grand river, above Fairport, and at the head of vessel navigation on the river. New Market at one time bid fair to be quite a thriving place. It contained three warehouses on the river, one or two stores and taverns, a number of residences, and a distillery. The first jail in the county was built by Captain Skinner, and stood in what is now Mr. Hine's garden. The first court held in the county was held in a large frame bardn belonging to Captain Skinner, the frame of which barn, still in good repair, stands in the rear, to the north of Mr. Hine's house.
Captain Skinner was in active correspondence with numerous parties at the East, trying to induce the emigration into this country of an enterprising and valuable class of citizens. Among those whom he nearly persuaded were Hon. Gideon Granger, postmaster- general of the United States, and General Champion, of Connecticut.
Captain Skinner was noted for his liberality in aid of all public enterprises. He built a large hewed log building at New Market for a court-house, composed entirely of black-walnut logs cut from his river-bottom land. He was also noted for the free-handed liberality with which he aided the early settlers in furnishing them with seeds, provisions, and other necessary aid. His heirs have now in their possession promissory notes, representing thousands of dollars, given during those early days, which still remain unpaid. Many of those early settlers remember with gratitude the aid then extended to them.
The children of Captain Skinner were Mary, born September 20, 1788; Abram Ayres, born October 19, 1791; Paulina, born March 14, 1794; Roderick Washington, born July 3, 1796; and Augustus, born July 7, 1798. The oldest daughter, Mary, was married in 1807 to Homer Hine, of Painesville, with the latter of whom she now resides, at the age of ninety. Paulina Skinner married Nathan Perry, of Cleveland. R. Washington Skinner died January 17, 1871. Abraham Ayres died in 1831, after an active life. Captain Skinner died January 14, 1826, and his wife, October 12, 1812, and the community lost in their taking away two of the most worthy settlers it had.
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