DEACON DANIEL WEBSTER SKINNER, a prosperous and honored citizen of Madison County, the descendant of a widely and favorably known pioneer family of Hamilton, was born in Farmersville, Cattaraugus County. His grandfather, Captain Isaac Skinner, was a native of Connecticut, spent the earlier years of his life in that State, and served as Captain in the State militia. Coming from New England to Madison County, he bought a farm in the eastern part of Hamilton, being one of the original settlers of the town. He at once identified himself with the interests of the growing community, built up a good homestead on the uncultivated land, and there died at the age of about fifty-five years.
Erastus Skinner, father of our subject, was born in Hamilton. He was reared to manhood on his father's farm, attending the pioneer school during its session, and gaining a knowledge of agriculture when at home. After his marriage he migrated to Cattaraugus County, coming overland with teams, bought a tract of timbered land in Farmersville, and immediately began improving his property,
putting up first a small frame house for the shelter of his family. He cleared quite a number of acres, and, after residing there a score of years, removed to the adjoining county, where he bought a farm of eighty acres, a part of which was afterward included in the village of Arcade, Wyoming County. Disposing of that land, he purchased a homestead of one hundred acres, three miles east of the village of Arcade, making that his residence until his death. He was a man of sterling worth, and a member of the Baptist church; while his wife was reared as a Presbyterian. The maiden name of his wife, mother of our subject, was Eunice Willy; and she was a daughter of Jeremiah and Hannah (Staples) Willy. She was born in East Haddam, Conn., and died in Cortland County, New York, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Eggleston. She reared a family of eight children: Sarepta, the widow of Hon. O. B. Lord, resides in Hamilton; Caroline, widow of Hollis Atwater, resides in Allegan County, Michigan; Saxton; Monroe; Nelson; Adonijah; Daniel W.; and Madison. Of the sons, all but one served in the late war, Monroe having previously met with an accident which rendered him unfit for active service. Adonijah served in the Second United States Infantry, and was three times wounded, at one time being left for dead on the field. The others served in New York regiments. Two of them lost their lives in the service of their country, Nelson dying from wounds received at the battle of Cold Harbor, and Madison dying in the rebel prison at Salisbury, N.C. All but one (Saxton) of these brave brothers were wounded in the Rebellion.
D. W. Skinner, of whom we write, spent his youthful days on the home farm, attending the district school, and, when sixteen years of age, came to Hamilton to live with his uncle, Deacon Isaac Skinner, remaining there until he attained his majority. He had already an excellent common-school education, but, anxious for more extended knowledge, spent the next year at Hamilton Academy, and afterward pursued his studies in the academy at Homer. Returning to Hamilton, Mr. Skinner entered the Freshman Class of Madison University. During that year came the outbreak of the late Civil War; and on September 2, 1861, he enlisted as a Union soldier in Company C, Sixty-first New York Volunteer Infantry, and served until November 11, 1862. He was with his regiment in different marches and campaigns, taking an active part in all skirmishes, and at the battle of Fair Oaks, June 1, 1862, received a wound in his right shoulder, the ball entering at the front and being taken out at the back. He was sent to the hospital in Philadelphia, where he remained about three months, rejoining his regiment September 4, although his wound was not yet healed. The 17th day of the same month, while participating in the battle of Antietam, Mr. Skinner's gun was hit by a bullet; but he was not injured. The regiment was subsequently sent to Harper's Ferry, and a few weeks later was ordered to Fredericksburg. During this latter march, his wound breaking out anew, our subject was disabled from further service, and received his honorable discharge. As a soldier, he was brave and courageous, never shirking any duty, and at the time of his discharge was filling the office of Sergeant, to which he had been promoted. For some time after returning home he suffered much from his wounds, but, after obtaining relief, resumed his studies at the university, and received his diploma in 1865. He had already resolved upon a ministerial life, and next became a student in the Theological Seminary, from which he was graduated in 1867.
Mr. Skinner was actively engaged in his professional duties for a time, but his health, never very good, began to fail; and he reluctantly retired from the ministry, and returned to Hamilton, where he has since resided. He has never lost interest, however, in the dissemination of the gospel, but as far as in his power has assisted it in every way, serving for a number of years on the Board of the Baptist Educational Society of New York, and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the university for six years. He is a member of the Baptist church of Hamilton, in which he served as superintendent of the Sunday-school for fifteen years, and for the past twelve years has been Deacon of the church. Mr. Skinner has also identified himself with the welfare of the town, and was at one time a member of the Village Board of Trustees. In politics he was formerly an ardent Republican, but is now a supporter of the Prohibition party. Socially, be is a member of Arthur L. Brooks Post, No. 272, Grand Army of the Republic.
MadisonCountyNewYork.com All rights