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George M. Skinner, was born in Easton, Massachusetts, in 1833, son of Harrison G. O. Skinner, a native of Massachusetts, and now a resident of Riverside. His mother, Betsey Holmes, was also a native of Massachusetts. Mr. Skinner was reared and schooled in his native place, and given the advantage of a common-school education until seventeen years of age. He then located in Brockton, Massachusetts, working in the boot and shoe manufactories until 1863. In that year he responded to the call of his country for troops, and enlisted in Company F, Fifty-Eighth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. His attention to duty and soldierly bearing was soon recognized, and he was promoted to be Sergeant. Mr. Skinner served gallantly throughout the war, and was not discharged from the service until August, 1865. During his service he participated in some of the most arduous campaigns and the hardest-fought battles that are chronicled in our history. His regiment was attached to the Ninth Army Corps, under the command of General Burnside, in the Army of the Potomac. He was engaged in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, South Anna, Cold Harbor, and the siege of Petersburg, mine explosion in front of Petersburg. He was wounded and compelled to leave the field, and did not return to duty until the fall of 1864: from that time he was actively engaged in the siege until the spring of 1865. His regiment was a portion of those troops detailed to capture Fort Mahone: in that charge Mr. Skinner was again wounded and taken prisoner by the Confederate troops, and was held a prisoner until the surrender of Lee’s army at Appomattox. After his discharge from the service he returned to Brockton and resumed his work in the manufacture of boots and shoes, and later established himself in business.
In 1879 the subject of this sketch came to California and located in Riverside. In February of that year lie purchased a ten-acre tract on Brockton avenue in Brockton Square, about two miles south of Riverside, and has since devoted himself to horticultural pursuits. This place was at the time of his purchase partially improved, but he has made many improvements in tree planting, taking up deciduous trees and replacing them with orange trees.