The Family Scattered, But He Stayed Still: George Skinner, 1841-1920 (52 Ancestors #8)

If you were expecting the tale of my second ancestor who died a fiery death, you might be disappointed. (How’s that for an intro?!) I was sick most of last week and couldn’t complete the research that I wanted to devote to it. So instead, I present to you my great-great-grandfather, George Austin Skinner.

George was born in Perry County, Ohio in 1841, one of nine children born to William Harrison and Matilda (Debolt) Skinner. What has fascinated me about George is that he never moved away from Perry County. That by itself isn’t extraordinary, until you put into context with the rest of his family.

His father William died in 1850, which left Matilda to raise the youngest seven children. (George’s brother Marian was just 11 months old at the time of William’s death.) By the 1860 census, the family had scattered. Matilda (twice-remarried) was living with her daughter Amaretta and her husband in Jay County, Indiana. George’s brothers Robert, William, and possibly John Rezin were also in Jay County. His brother Stephen was in Porter County, Indiana. Brother Marian is unaccounted for (so far).

Why did only George stay behind in Perry County? Even his grandfather George Debolt had moved on to Jay County.

For reasons yet unknown, George did stay behind. His descendants are grateful he did, because it was in Perry County that he met and married Susan Orr. They had 11 children, including my great-grandmother Clara (Skinner) Starkey.

George died in Thorn Township, Perry County, Ohio on 28 March 1920. He is buried in Zion Ridge Cemetery.

Leave a Reply