Biography of Barton Skinner
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Barton Skinner was born in Westmoreland, N. H., December 19, 1801, and was the seventh of a family of nine children, only one of whom was a girl, and only two of whom survive, aged respectively eighty-two and seventy-eight years. They were a family of remarkable longevity. Barton, who was the first to die, reached the age of sixty-three years, and this age was exceeded by all who have since deceased. Their parents, Timothy and Ruth Warner Skinner, removed from Brookfield, Mass., in 1793 or 94. The nine children were: Warren. born June 2, 1991; Cynthia, born September 10, 1792; Alanson, born May 21, 1794; Avery, born June 9, 1796; Hiram, born June 9, 1798; Dolphus, born May 18, 1800; Barton born December 19, 1801; John L., born February 11, 1803; and Albert G., born June 28, 1807. The first two were born in Brookfield. Mass.; the rest in Westmoreland, N. H. Warren and Dolphus were clergymen, the former residing at Proctorsville, Vt., and the latter for fifty years in and adjacent to Utica, N. Y., where he died October 2, 1869, having earned a wide reputation as editor of the Evangelical Magazine. Cynthia married Hiram Walker, of Mexico, N. Y., where she died February 27. 1872. She was a woman of remarkable powers and purity of character, and was a successful teacher for many years. Mexico was also the home of Avery and Hiram, the former of whom settled there in 1822. He was appointed postmaster thereby John Q. Adams, and held the office till his death in 1876. He was a life-long Democrat, and was always influential in the councils of his party. He was county treasurer for sixteen years; was elected to the assembly in 1831 and re-elected in 1832; was senator from his district from 1838 to 1842; and held other responsible positions. Hiram, although attacked at the early age of fourteen -with a nervous disease which destroyed the sight of one eye and rendered him a cripple for the rest of his life, filled the offices of postmaster and justice of the peace, and reared a family of six children. He died October 10, 1865. Alanson settled in Brownville, N. Y., in 1815, and ever after made that his home. He engaged in manufacturing and amassed quite a fortune. He was noted for his industry and integrity, and was faithful to every trust. He was supervisor of his town for twelve years, and represented his district in the State senate in 1850. He died June 7, 1876.
Barton Skinner was universally respected and beloved, his sterling honesty, liberality and fine social qualities endearing him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. The winters of his early manhood were spent in teaching, and the summers in laboring upon the home farm, which he soon purchased. He was appointed justice of the peace in early life and was frequently chosen referee in cases of dispute among his neighbors in his own and adjoining towns. In 1846 he was elected registrar of deeds for Cheshire county and removed to Keene. He held the office until 1852, when, declining a re-election, he moved to Chesterfield, where he gave his attention to the manufacture of auger bits. Later he purchased the cotton-mill and devoted himself to that business until the commencement of the civil war in 1861. In Chesterfield he will be remembered as an earnest Republican, upright and conscientious in all his methods, but intensely interested in the great questions which then pressed for a solution. He was always an advocate of freedom, and the first negroes his children saw were fugitives from slavery who found a welcome retreat at his home until, under cover of dark-ness, they could make their way to other friends on the route to Canada. He was also an earnest advocate of temperance and delivered lectures in its support when but few voices were raised against the evil of strong drink. Always interested in the cause of education, he served many years as superintending committee both in Keene and Chesterfield, and in the latter town he was usually chosen moderator at the annual town meetings. He served several terms in the state legislature, representing in that capacity at different. times his native town of Westmoreland and Chesterfield. In 1863 he removed to Keene, where he died February 11, 1865. Thus ended a life,
Faithful in love, in honor stem and chaste ;
In friendship warm and true, in danger brave ;
Beloved in life, and sainted in the grave.”
Barton Skinner was married June 24, 1835, to Betsey, daughter of Captain Aaron Weeks of Westmoreland, by whom he had three children: Mary Elizabeth, born August 13, 1836; Azro, born February 14, 1839i and Samuel Weeks, born September 3, 1840, all of whom are living. Mary E. was for a number of years a successful teacher, but impaired health compelled her to relinquish this vocation, much to her regret. She was married in 1895 to Maurice B. Beckwith, who was called from Brown university to the position of teacher in the royal schools of Honolulu, Hawaii, where she still resides. Azro B. was for a number of years previous to the war a teacher in the schools of Chesterfield, Keene and Winchester. During the war he worked twoyears in the armory at Springfield, after which he was engaged in life insurance business in New York city; but on the death of his father in 1865, he returned to Keene, where for the past seventeen years he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits as manager and one of the proprietors of the Museum, a store well known through all this region. Samuel W. has been engaged in mechanical pursuits during all his active life, beginning in the old cotton-milll at Chesterfield, from which he went to the armory at Springfield, Mass., where be remained until called to take charge of a department in a gun manufactory in New York city. He subsequently engaged in the same business with E. Remington Sons, of Dion, N. Y.. where he has resided most of the time for the past twenty years and where he still makes his home.