file updated Jan, 2003
Family Record Summary
KDS Commentary
Source References
Map - Cranbury, NJ
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 Son of William SKINNER (b. 1700-1710? Essex, England, d. 7 Aug 1749, buried Woodbridge, NJ) and Ann Archer, of England (unsourced JimSkinner-6a)
RESIDENCE and LAND OWNERSHIP - Teamed up with George Morris to purchase land from John Drake in 1759 in New Brunswick, Middlesex Co. (record-7i). This is probably the same land that a John Skinner advertised for sale in 1779 - a plantation that was in the general vicinity of South Brunswick (news-7b). John was living at South Brunswick, Middlesex Co. in 1776 (Thurston-7a). Relocated to Hopewell Township, Lancaster (now Cumberland) Co., PA, about 1779 (Thurston-7a, JimSkinner-6a). In 1788, as a resident of Franklin Co., Pa., he gave Power of Attorney to David Olden concerning land in Middlesex Co. that he sold to Reuben Moore and John Dunbarr (Thurston-7a).
OCCUPATION - Attorney (exhibit-7g)
b. ca 1733 Woodbridge, NJ (Thurston-7a); 1733 (per family records, Monnette-7); 1733 (JimSkinner-6a)
m. 1754 at Horse Valley, Franklin Co., Pa (JimSkinner-6a)

w. MARY _____ (Thurston-7a); MARY ELIZABETH MORRIS (JimSkinner-6a)
daughter of George Morris (b. 1702) and Rebecca Decou (Decoux or Decaw?; b. 23 Feb 1703) who married 19 Oct 1731 at Burlington, NJ. (JimSkinner-6a)
Rebecca Decou's original French name was 'des Cou' (, 2003).
Rebecca DeCow married 14 Oct 1731 Burlington Co., NJ (, 2003).
Mary may not have been John's first wife as Mary was born 1743 and John's first child - 1756. (speculation byThurston-7a)
b. 1743 (Thurston-7a, Monnette-7); 1733/1743 (JimSkinner-6a)
d. Jun 21, 1799 Franklin Co., PA (Thurston-7a, JimSkinner-6a)

CHILDREN: thought to have been all born in NJ (Thurston-7a, JimSkinner-6a)


Jim Skinner, a descendent of John, has a very nice web site on this branch of the family at Jim's web site includes two pieces of information not seen elsewhere - the name of John's wife and also John's ancestry. I communicated with Jim but could not learn the sources of those pieces of information. The name of John's wife - Mary Morris, certainly makes sense. Mary matches the first name identified as being his wife in (Thurston-7a). It also is cocnsistent with John's close links with the Morris family throughout his life. As to John's ancestry, I am not clear as to how solid the evidence is that John descends from William Skinner of Exeter, England. Seeing the original source materials would certainly help.

I also communicated with Vonnie Skinner Pitman. Vonnie holds a yearly reunion of the descendents of John Skinner, of which she is one. Vonnie is unsure as to John's ancestry (Vonnie-6b).

The Morris Family Tree appears in Allied Families - Vol. III. Neither Mary Morris, nor her father, George Morris, appear in that family tree. George (b. 1702) would be the same generation as the well-known Hon. Robert Morris of that family.

George Skinner, son of John Skinner and Mary Morris married Susannah Freeman. The Freeman Family Tree appears in Allied Families - Vol. I. Susannah Freeman was said to be a granddaughter of Robert Morris. It is not clear how this is possible, unless there is some mistake in the Freeman family tree. Note that Susannah Freeman did have a cousin - Elizabeth Freeman, who married into the Morris family.

There is a remote possibility that John Skinner could have descended from Richard Skinner and Susannah Poulain of Elizabeth, NJ, but it is a stretch. While in NJ, John resided at South Brunswick, some 20 miles to the south of many of the descendents of Richard and Susannah who were residing at Somerset and Morris Counties. Nathaniel Skinner, the head of one of the Skinner branches there, relocated to Bedford and Somerset Co., PA at about the same time as John moved to Franklin Co., PA, just to the east. That common relocation, however, means little, as many NJ residents began an exodus from NJ into PA in the late 1700's. Note also that John was an attorney, as was Reuben Skinner, one of the sons of Nathaniel Skinner.

The Morris family figures prominently in the family of John Skinner. John first appears in the records in 1759 when he teamed up with George Morris to purchase land in New Brunswick from John Drake. In 1776, a bond and power of attorney signed by John Skinner was witnessed by a Reuben Morris and Nathaniel Moore. George Skinner, a son of John, married Mary Freeman, who was said to be a granddaughter of Robert Morris. And per Mary K. Thurston in 1918 - "Morris is a given name down to the present time in the family".

The Moore family appears twice in relation to John Skinner. The bond and power of attorney John signed in 1776 was witnessed by a Nathaniel Moore. And in 1788, he signed a power of attorney to David Ogden to bring suit in connection with land he sold in Middlesex Co. to Reuben Moore and John Dunbarr.

The Freeman family intersects both the South Brunswick family of John Skinner and the descendents of Richard and Susannah Skinner. George Skinner, son of John, married as his first wife, Susannah Freeman. And Anna Skinner, daughter of Captain Richard Skinner and descendent of Richard and Ann Skinner, married Isaac Payne, son of Captain John Payne and Mary Freeman (b. 12/21/1743 - d. 9/26/1819). Anna's step-sister, Sarah Baker, also married a Freeman. These common links with the Freeman family might suggest that John Skinner, ancestry unknown, was related to the descendents of Richard and Susannah.. However, it is much more likely that these links resulted from the fact that the large Freeman family had branches recorded in both Woodbridge and South Brunswick.

Note also that other Skinners that descended from Richard and Susannah also had ties to the Morris and Moore families discussed above. See KDS Commentary in the Family Record of Captain Richard Skinner.

A John Skinner advertised the sale of a plantation in 1779. According to the advertisement, the plantation was located 2 miles from Cranburytown and about 7 miles from Princeton College. Today, there is a Cranbury, NJ that sits right next to the town of South Brunswick. This clearly connects the sale of the plantation with John Skinner, Esq. of South Brunswick Ward, Middlesex Co, NJ.

Land records of Franklin Co., PA show that John and his sons had begun to purchase land there by 1785. The family vanishes from NJ records by 1789.


Exhibit 6a - Geneaology of John Skinner, per web site of same name at Web site developed by James Skinner, a descendent of John. Communicated to me via email April, 2002. The following are extracts from the web site:

JOHN SKINNER was born 1733 in England. He died 21 Nov 1801 in Horse Valley, Franklin Co., PA and was buried in Skinner Cemetery, Back of Skinner Inn, Horse Valley, East of Fannettsburg, Franklin Co. Pa.. JOHN married Mary Elizabeth MORRIS in 1754 in Franklin Co., Horse Valley, PA.
In 1779 JOHN moved to Hopewell Twsp., Lancaster Co., PA. and in 1782 purchased land in the Cumberland Valley. By 1790 he was well established in Horse Valley, sometimes known as Skinner's Valley. They were a much publicized family because of their Revolutionary War service, two Skinner's Taverns, a grist mill and the Three Mountain Road. Skinner's Tavern is on Howell's Map of 1792 and the Skinner's are on the 1890 Census and Tax Lists. A warrant was taken out in 1786 in the name of JOHN SKINNER bound the first grant of land for 355 acres, which lay on both sides of the Condoquinet, near the present bridge. In 1787 a warrant for 226 acres was laid out for him which lay along the present Bear Valley Camp Road from the top of Strasburg Mountain.

Mary Elizabeth MORRIS was born 1733/1743 in Burlington Co. NJ. She died 21 Jun 1799 in Horse Valley, Franklin Co., PA and was buried in Skinner Cemetery, Back of Skinner Inn, Horse Valley, East of Fannettsburg, Franklin Co. PA.

[Parents of John Skinner] William SKINNER was born 1700-1710? in Essex, England. He died 7 Aug 1749 and was buried in Woodbridge, NJ. William married Ann ARCHER. Ann ARCHER was born in England. They had the following children:

[Parents of Mary Morris] GEORGE MORRIS was born 1702. He married Rebecca DECOU (AKA) DECOUX? DECAW? on 19 Oct 1731 in Burlington, NJ. Rebecca DECOU (AKA) DECOUX? DECAW? was born 23 Feb 1702/1703. They had the following children:

They [John and Mary Skinner] had the following children:

Exhibit 6b - Email from Vonnie Skinner Pittman to KDS dated 4/29/2002, regarding Exhibit 6a information:
"Jim got alot of his information from Dave Skinner in Ca. I have not proven that John Skinner was born either in England or in New Jersey. I have seen different places that he came from England and different places he was born in New Jersey, but no one can prove either one."

Exhibit 7 - "First Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge of Olde East New Jersey", by Ora Eugene Monnette, 10/9/1995/KDS
p1587, Genealogy - "John Skinner of Pennsylvania", (vide, ante, part four, p630)
"This man had a wife, Mary, and left NJ about 1776. (N.B. Waters considerably muddied by a prof. gen.?), but the family records show definitely that he was b. 1733, d. Nov 21, 1801, and that in March, 1775, he was living in South Brunswick, as a P. of A. (orig.) shows, and he lived in Cumberland (then Lancaster) Co., PA, and when he d., had sons, William, John, Jr., Archer, George and Enoch, his wife, Mary, d. June 21, 1799, having been b. in 1743, in NJ. There were daughters Anna, Phoebe, and a son, Archer. The son, John Skinner, Jr., was b. Feb. 15, 1765, d. Mar. 23, 1819. (for Rev. J. W. Skinner, of Berkeley, Calif.)"

Exhibit 7a - "Jersey Genealogy", Newark Evening News, by Mary K. Thurston, Mar 30 and Apr 27, 1918, per files of DSW/VEM:

"I have a large amount of data relative to the descendants of my ancestor, John Skinner, but have been unsuccessful in ascertaining his place of birth, the names of his parents, brothers and sisters, or the maiden name of his wife. I am obliged to you for writing to me and hope some good results may be obtained, as I have no doubt my ancestor is of the Skinner family, who came to New Jersey as early as 1696, and probably much earlier.
John Skinner was born about 1733 and lived at or near Woodbridge, N.J. until about 1779, when he removed to Hopewell Township, Lancaster County, Pa., and it is thought all their children were born in New Jersey. It is not known whether he and his wife were natives of New Jersey. There was a family of Skinners in Woodbridge as early as 1708. He died in Franklin County, Pa., November 21, 1801. Following are his descendants: Children of John (1) and Mary (_____) Skinner:"
John Skinner may have been married twice as his wife Mary was born 1743, and his first daughter, in 1756.

A bond and power of attorney, signed John Skinner, dated Mach 25, 1776, which I have, conveying a loan of 197 pounds from Provincial Loan Office, shows him living at South Brunswick, Middlesex County, witnessed by Nathaniel Moore and Reuben Morris (Morris is a given name down to the present time in the family).

In newspaper extracts for 1779, a vendue advertisement, dataed September 9, 1779 covering 135 acres of land. (I think this is the land deeded By Dr. Robert Wright to Richard Skinner in 1700.
[KDS note - the title of Doctor for Mr Wright comes from a mistaken interpretation of the abbreviation Do, which stands for 'document', that appears somewhere in the New Jersey Archives. The land conveyed in Mr. Wright's Will, land which was located in the Rahway section of Woodbridge, has nothing to do with the 1779 advertisement for land at Cranbury (South Brunswick).]

Unable to locate transfer of this land, but in 1788 John Skinner of Franklin Co., PA issued power of attorney to David Olden with joyner to bring suit in connection with land sold by him in Middlesex Co., NJ to Reuben Moore and John Dunbarr.

If this land could be located the land record should show from whom John Skinner secured it, and would probably develop his parentage. (Can F. W. G. offer any assistance, or suggestions? M. K. T.)

The Skinner family of Middlesex County, N.J., who are probably related, but with whom I am unable to connect:

(1) John Skinner and wife Ann. (2) Francis and (3) Richard Skinner, probably his brothers, joined the Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, 1708.

(1) John Skinner died 1749----will probated August 19, 1749, named wife Ann and children (4), John Jr., Daniel, Richard, Ann, Mary.

(3) Richard Skinner was constable, Woodbridge, 1696, and was perhaps the Richard Skinner, who was son-in-law of Dr. Robert Wright and brother-in-0law of John Moore. This relationship was evidenced by a deed from Dr. Wright to his son-in-law, Richard Skinner in August, 1700, (60 acres) land located on branch of Rahway Creek, Middlesex County.

I have a list of the descendants of (4) John Jr, among them Captain Richare Skinner, who was killed by the Bristish near Woodbridge in 1776.

I believe those are all of my family. You will note they aare Presbyterians as are our branch in the present day.

Another Skinner, Nathaniel,m was born Woodbridge, 1706, died Somerset County, Pa., 1801 - a Baptist minister. Have met some of his descendants.

C. S. M.

Exhibt 7bb - Newark Evening News, 'Jersey Genealogy', 4/27/1918, p25, per notes of VEM/6/7/1966:

[KDS note - this article refers now and then to the previous article in exhibit-7a, above].

" .........

..........You state that George Skinner married twice. Of this I know - Susannah Freeman, first wife of George Skinner, was a daughter of Captain Matthew and Margaret (Cotheal) Freeman of Woodbridge Township.

Captain Matthew Freeman entered the Revolution as a lieutenant, and in 1780 commanded a troop in the First Regiment, I believe. He married, first, Margaret Cotheal, daughter of William and Margaret (Dove )Cotheal; married second, Meribah Manning (who outlived him), daughter of Lieutenant James and Mary (Ford) Manning.

Captain Matthew Freeman was the son of Joseph and first wife, Desire (_______) Freeman.

Joseph Freeman married, second, Susannah ______, who outlived him.

As to Susannah Freeman (who married George Skinner as his first wife) having been a grand-daughter of Robert Morris, it could not have been through her mother, but may have been through her father, but I have not the maily name of Desire, her mother, the first wife of Joseph Freeman. What were the names of the children of Robert Morris?

Joseph Freeman was a son of Judge Henry and Elizabeth (Bonne) Freeman of Woodbridge, N.J.

In the Will of Captain Freeman, dated at Woodbridge, August 10, 1823: probated Mary 17, 1824, mention is made as follows: Item, I give and bequetath unto my grandchildren, the children of my daughter Susannah, viz.: Josiah, Joseph and George Skinner, thirty acres of land off the north side of my place, etc. the same to be divided among the said children, share and share alike.

Among the notable descendants of Matthew Freeman was the late Andrew D. Mellick, author of "The Story of an Old Farm and Life in New Jersey in the Eighteenth Century."

Can you give me the marriage date of George Skinner and Susannah Freeman with dates of births, names of their children, and to whom married?


Exhibit 7b - "Newspaper Extracts, 1779", NJ Archives, Vol. III, First Series, 1906, p575, 10/1995/KDS:

"For Sale at publick Vendue On Thursday the ninth day of September

A Plantation containing 135 acres of land, in the county of Middlesex, and state of New-Jersey, and has on it a good two story house, four rooms on a floor, a cellar under it, a good barn, and other buildings, a good well of water near the door, and plenty of orchards and meadow, with 30 acres of excellent timber, all lying but two miles from Cranberry town and mills, on the north side of the mill brook, which serves for a good fence for near 50 chains, and is but 7 miles from Princeton college, being near the great road that leads from thence to Monmonth courthouse: The land is good for grass or grain, and may be seen by applying to the subscriber on the premises, who will give a good title to the purchaser. Also, will be sold the same day, cattle, sheep, swine, bees, household furniture of various sorts, and farmers utensils.
The vendue to begin at ten o'clock of the above-said day, on the premises, when due attendance will be given, and on the conditions made known by me. JOHN SKINNER"

Exhibit 7c - "Abstracts of Wills, 1761-1770", NJ Archives, Vol XXXIII, p122, 1/5/1996/KDS:

Exhibit 7d - "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1665-1800", William Nelson, Vol XII, 1900, p349, 1/5/1996/KDS:

Exhibit 7e - New Jersey Tax Lists, 1772 - 1822, Vol. 5, edited by Ronald Vern Jackson, computer print-out, Trenton State Library, 10/27/1995/KDS:

Exhibit 7f - "Official Register of the Officers & Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War", William S. Stryker, 1872, 9/24/1995/KDS:

Exhibit 7g - "Revolutionary Census of New Jersey", by Kenn Stryker-Rodda, 1972, 10/2/1995/KDS:

Exhibit 7h - "First Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge of Olde East New Jersey", by Ora Eugene Monnette, 10/9/1995/KDS

Exhibit 7i - "Colonial Conveyances, Provinces of East & West New Jersey, 1664-1794", computer print-out, Rutgers University library, 1/11/1996/KDS:

 Exhibit 7j - PA Archives, Third Series, Vol xxii, Returns of Taxables, p217, 6/95/KDS: