Isaac Skinner was born in Vermillion County, Indiana, January 5, 1829, and is a son of Joseph Skinner, who was among the earliest settlers in the neighborhood of Newman, coming, in 1839, from Vermillion County, Indiana, and settling along the timber a mile and a half southwest of where Newman now is. There were no schools in the vicinity when he first came to the County. He worked for his father until of age and then engaged in farming on rented land. In about 1853 he had saved money enough to enter one hundred and sixty acres of land. His mother, whose maiden name was Polly Gaston, was a daughter of Thomas Gaston, who lived in Meigs County, Ohio, and probably was a native of Canada. His father, Joseph, was born in Maine. His grandmother, Sarah Gaston, was born on the St. Lawrence River, while her parents were held captives by the Indians.
Isaac Skinner was reared on a farm and received the limited school advantages that were common in that day. He was first a Whig and since the birth of the Republican party has been identified with that organization. He has been three times married. First, in February, 1859 he married Miss Mahala Drake, who died in 1865. His second wife was Mrs. Mary Hill, whose maiden name was Lewis; her death occurred in 1869. His third wife was Mrs. Catherine Barnes, whose maiden name was Bell. He has five children, one, Robert, born of the first union, and four, Katie, Margaret, Elvin and Arthur, by the last marriage. Mr. Skinner owns three hundred and twenty acres of land adjoining the city of Newman, and has about retired from active business pursuits. He joined the Methodist Church in 1858. As a Christian gentleman and public-spirited citizen, Mr. Skinner has an enviable record, one upon which he and his friends can look with pride and satisfaction.