Richard M. Skinner

Taken From The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1896
Page 9-10

Among the most active and enterprising citizens of Princeton, one closely identified with almost every interest, business, social or financial, is the subject of this sketch. He is a native of New Jersey, born in Morris County, April 13, 1847, and is the son of John C. and Mary (Stevens) Skinner, both of whom are natives of New Jersey.

When Richard was but six years of age his father determined to emigrate west, and accordingly, with his family, moved to Ohio, and one year later, in 1854, to Bureau county, Illinois, locating upon a farm near Princeton, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying there in 1877, at the age of sixty-three years - the result of an accident. His wife survived him some years, dying in 1893, at the age of seventy-eight years. They reared a family of five children, two sons and three daughters, namely: Sarah S., wife of Henry U. Bacon of Ottawa, Kansas; Richard M., of this sketch; George S., an attorney of Princeton; Mary E., wife of Elijah P. Lovejoy, and Eliza J., librarian of the public library.

The boyhood and youth of our subject from the time he was seven years old were spent upon a farm, and his primary education was received in the country school. Entering the high school at Princeton, he took the regular course, graduating there with the class of 1870 - then first class sent out from that institution. He then became a student in Cornell University, of Ithaca, New York, where he took a partial course. Having resoled upon the law as his life profession, he entered the Albany Law School, of Union college, from which he graduated in 1872, and was later admitted to practice in all the courts of New York State.

For certain reasons, Mr. Skinner did not enter at once upon the active practice of his profession, but for two terms was engaged as teacher of the high school at Princeton, a position which he filled with eminent satisfaction to its patrons. In the fall of 1873, however, he hung out his shingle, and from that time to the present he had been a member of the Bureau county bar, and has won distinction in his chosen profession. He has practiced in all the courts of the state, and is recognized by his associates as an able counselor and strong advocate. From 1876, until 1880, he served his county as state's attorney, and again from 1888 until 1892. During his incumbency several very important cases were tried by him and prosecuted to a successful issue.

While never neglecting his duties as an attorney, Mr. Skinner has ever felt it incumbent on him to discharge any public duty that he might be called upon to perform. In politics he is a strong republican and has from very boyhood advocated the principles of that party, principles that might be said to be "bred in the bone". In various campaigns since attaining his majority, he has taken the stump and dealt some stalwart blows against the errors and heresies of the opposition. A thorough temperance man from principle, he has always opposed the licensing of the liquor traffic and in 1895, was elected mayor of Princeton on a no-license ticket - the majority of the council, however, favoring license - and is now serving in that capacity.

On the 12th of June 1878, Mr. Skinner was united in marriage with Miss Mary Ella Sharp, a daughter of John N. and Nancy (McCracken) Sharp, of Hackettstown, New Jersey, now of Brooklyn, New York. By this union five children have been born. The eldest, De Witt, died in 1892, at the age of twelve years. The living are Walter R., a student in the high school; Annie B.; John S., and Richard M., Jr., all of whom yet reside at home. The family are attendants of the Congregational church, with which body Mrs. Skinner is an active worker, being interested in every department of church work, especially in the women's societies.

Mr. Skinner is a lover of good and harmless sport, and is at present president of the Princeton Rifle club, an association of gentlemen for social purposes and for target practice. In the public school system of the state he has always taken a lively interest and for twelve years has been a member of the board of education of the Princeton high school district, being one of the first graduates of the high school, and one of the first of its alumni to occupy the position of a teacher in it. The interest manifested as student and teacher has ever been maintained. The Princeton high school occupies a peculiar position, being the first high school in the state to be organized under a special charter from the state. Its standing as an advanced school has always been the highest and to Mr. Skinner much of the credit of its efficiency is due. For several years he was president of the board and is now its clerk, and he is familiar with every detail of its work.

In his official capacity as mayor of the city he brings to bear good judgment and pride in the place of his adoption, and a steadfast determination to make it take a front rank among its sister municipalities of the state. After the death of Mrs. Matson, Mr. Skinner was made a member of the Matson Public Library boar, a position which he filed with signal ability until his election as mayor, when he resigned the position. His judgment of books is always considered good. As a business man he has served as director of the Farmers' National bank, and is now a director of and general attorney for the Citizen's National bank, of Princeton. Conservative in all business matters his judgment is relied upon by his associates, and the public has confidence in the stability of an institution conducted by such men as the subject of this biography.

Mrs. Jane Sheldon (nee Brightman)

December 9, 1880
Taken From the Henry Republican

The following obituary, though a little late, we publish at request of friends.  Had our attention been called to it, it would have appeared at the proper time.  She was an old pioneer, and will be remembered by many of our readers.

Died, three miles south of Tiskilwa, in Arispie, October 6th, at 6 o'clock p.m., of ovarian tumor, after three years ailing, Mrs. Jane Brightman, wife of A. M. Sheldon, in the 63d year of her age. The funeral services occurred at the M. E. church, Tiskilwa, October 8th, at 1 o'clock p.m., Rev. N. T. Allen preaching an effective and feeling discourse from the following text: Job 16:22; "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I cannot return." Our departed sister was laid in a beautiful casket covered with garlands and wreaths of flowers, the loving heart-offerings of friends.  The funeral was well attended, while a large collection of carriages and teams followed the remains to Mt. Bloom, the resting place of over 500 of our dead.

Mrs. Sheldon was born at Fall River, Mass., May 17th, 1817.  She was married to her berieved and disconsolate husband at Pawtucket, R. I., in May 1835. In 1837 they moved to Bureau county, and for a time settled in the western suburbs of Tiskilwa.  After three years residence in and about here, in 1840 they moved to their old residence four miles south of this place, and just south of Snachwine creek, where they have lived 40 long years.

When Mr. Sheldon first moved there, their nearest neighbor south was at Drake's Grove, nearly opposite Lacon. In the direction of Henry the nearest inhabitant was in the suburbs of the city, near the old seminary. At Tiskilwa, only a few houses met the eye.  There was the old log hotel of Mr. Dexter, near the town hall. A few other log houses were visible; Mr. Magoon, of Wyanet, was just building the house where Mr. Jack lives, and Spalding was completing the building of the old hotel, now the residence of J. W. Lea.  Col. H. L. Kinney, of fame and notoriety, and brother Warren, were keeping store in Fraser's old market stand. Tiskilwa and surroundings was almost an unbroken wilderness.  In the 40 years of their wedded bliss and happiness, they have seen the wilderness and unbroken prairies blossom as the rose - with people, farms, animal life and cereal crops.

They have raised a respected family of two sons and a daughter, and were happy as grandparents. In 40 years two score years have passed - more than a generation gone, and the trackless prairies of the west and the wild mountain and forest have given way to the civilizing influences of man's ingenuity.

Mrs. S. was the mother of four children, three of whom are now living - one departing this life in 1858 (a daughter). Of those living, two are sones and living nearby, and a daughter, Mrs. Ira Barnhart of Snachwine, Ill., and all comfortably settled in life. Of Mrs. S. we may say she was the managing spirit of the household.  As an energetic business woman and manager, she had few superior; and to her unerring judgment and sound advice, Mr. S. is largely indebted for his thrifty advance and success in life. In all commendable womanly traits of character, whether as wife, mother or counselor she has shown the bright evening star of the household.  Well may the family mourn, and well may they linger in taking the last look at the pale lips and marble brow of the beloved one - the fold mother and exemplary wife.

Tiskilwa, Ill., October 10, 1880

John L. Scott

John L. Scott, senior member of the well known livery firm of Scott & Anderson, of Ohio, Illinois, is a native of this state, born in Stark county in 1860. His parents, Rev. J. L. and Mary (Carter) Scott, were born and reared in Jefferson county, Ohio, but later took up their residence in Stark county, Illinois. The father was a minister of the Methodist Protestant church, but is now living retired. His estimable wife also still survives.

At the age of twelve years our subject went to Marshall county, Iowa, where he remained until twenty, and there completed his literary education. At the early age of fourteen he started out in life for himself, and has since been dependent upon his own resources for a livelihood. He first came to the village of Ohio in 1881, but three years later returned to Iowa, where he remained the same length of time. On again coming to Ohio, he engaged in agricultural pursuits for three years, at the end of which time he embarked in the livery business, and in dealing in horses. This he has since continued with excellent success, and by his courteous treatment of customers has secured a liberal share of the public patronage.

In 1884 Mr. Scott was united in marriage with Miss Nellie Wilson, daughter of the late Joseph G. Wilson, a prominent farmer of Ohio township, Bureau County. Three children have blessed their union, namely: Amy, Foster and Pauline.

In politics Mr. Scott is a straight and stanch adherent to the principles formulated in the platform of the republican party, and while not an aspirant to official honors he has served his fellow citizens in the capacity of assessor, and is the present efficient constable of Ohio. Socially he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. He has achieved success by unremitting toil, directed by sound business principles, and truly deserves the honorable American title of a self-made man.

[The Biographical record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois., Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1896, Page 63 - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]


JOSEPH SKEFFINGTON, who resides about one mile south from Molson, combines the life of the miner and farmer, as so many are doing in this favored region. Abundance of fertile land, with excellent mineral deposits adjoining, make it a Utopia for mineral work by the ordinary man. He has traveled much to different parts of the world but is now content to remain beneath the stars and stripes, enjoying the wholesome pleasures of civilization. Joseph Skeffington was born in Ontario, Canada, on October 16, 1855, the son of Michael and Mary (Brinnan) Skeffington, natives of Ireland. They were the parents of sixteen children, eleven boys and five girls, our subject being the tenth of the family. They removed to Bureau county, Illinois, in 1871, and four years later went to the Black Hills, South Dakota, in wagons. The next year they returned to Nebraska and Iowa, and later our subject came to Bear Gulch, Montana. He mined there till the spring of 1881, then went to Drummond and engaged in business. In the spring of 1883, he went to Portland and took ship for Juneau, Alaska. Landing after a good journey, he prospected from there to Wrangle, and then returned to Puget Sound. In the spring of 1884, we find Mr. Skeffington on Canyon creek in Couer d'Alene country, where he located the Union mining claim, which he later sold to Finch & Campbell. He remained there until 1892, then went to the Slocan region, and in 1895, hearing of a rich strike at Coolgardie, Australia, he went thither. The trip was dangerous and extremely hard. For one hundred and fifty miles, he traveled over the burning sand afoot, carrying provisions and buying and carrying water. When he arrived at the gold fields the people were dying, and found that the natives lived on ants, lizards and snakes, and as these did not suit his appetite, he came back to good old America. He was in the Shasta region, then on the Salmon in Idaho, later at Slocan, and in 1898 came to Toroda creek and did mining. On the day the reservation was opened, October 10, 1900, Mr. Skeffington located his present place, and since then has devoted himself to general mining and the improvement of his farm. He has a good house, barn, young orchard, fencing, granary, and so forth. Mr. Skeffington has a group of good claims adjoining the Dreyfus, which show excellent values in gold. Fraternally he is associated with the miners Union and is a man of broad experience and good address. [Source: "An illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, and Chelan Counties in the state of Washington" Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904 - Tr. by Helen Coughlin]

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