Return to Home Page


This is a summary look at the issues and geography of the descendants of Richard Skinner and Susannah Poulain to the year 1800.

Four generations of Skinners, descending from Richard Skinner and Susannah Poulain, were located in the Woodbridge/Rahway area of NJ until the late 1700's. Along the way, various members of the family relocated away from NJ and the trail of others simply runs cold.

Early in the 1700's, some of the descendants of Richard Skinner and Susannah Poulain began a westward migration into outlying regions of NJ. This group of Skinners is not well-documented and the exact family relationships are largely unknown. For much of the 1700's, these Skinners were concentrated in a very small area where the counties of Somerset, Morris and Hunterdon intersect.

The following is a summary of these Skinner family branches, with a concentration on their geographic relationships.

Please reference the Early Map of East Jersey and the Map of Central Jersey for the geographic place names mentioned below. A more complete look at the family is available at the Skinner Family Tree.


1. First Generation

Richard Skinner - Susannah Poulain
Recorded at Elizabethtowne, NJ from 1665 to 1673

2. Second Generation

Richard Skinner - Sussanah Poulain:
Deacon Richard Skinner - ____ Wright
John Skinner Sr. - Ann ____
Francis Skinner

The evidence suggests that Deacon Richard and John were brothers - not father and son as some have suggested. Deacon Richard was born in 1664. John first appears in the records in 1691 as an adult, when Richard was just 27 years old. Francis is likely a brother as well - all three Skinners were members of the Woodbridge Presbyterian Church in the 1708 to 1710 time frame.

There is only circumstantial evidence connecting these three Skinners to first generation Richard Skinner and Susannah Poulain of Elizabeth, NJ:

1) The three second generation Skinners did not immigrate to NJ on their own -

a) Deacon Richard Skinner was just 23 years of age when he first appears in NJ records. He was much younger than the other heads of families who immigrated to NJ, too young to have migrated on his own. His parents would have been the immigrants, though that does not preclude the possiblity that his parents were someone other than Richard and Susannah of Elizabethtown.

b) None of the three second generation Skinners came from the Newbury, MA origins of the original Woodbridge Associates (founding landholders), none of the three were Associates themselves and there is no evidence they interacted with the Woodbridge Associates. This does not preclude the possibility that they migrated to Woodbridge at a later time. There were several known Skinner families in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut from which they could descend from. There is also the possibility that they were a part of the large migration of families from Europe that had become quite large by the early 1680's.

2) Deacon Richard Skinner first appears in the Woodbridge records in 1687, when he leased an existing farm. He seems to have been of an inferior status compared to the original landholders who received free land, and later immigrants who came prepared to make land purchases at low prices.

3) The lease of a farm by Deacon Richard Skinner in 1687 may provide the only linkage to first generation Richard and Susannah of Elizabethtowne. Richard Skinner leased the farm with partner Isaac Clark. The previous tenant of the land was John Jones. These three persons - Skinner, Clark and Jones, are all likely children of the original eighteen indentured servants who came to NJ in 1665. Isaac Clark would be the son of indentured servant John Clarck. And John Jones would be the son of indentured servant William Jones.

4) If the three second generation Skinners are not the children of Richard and Sussanah, then Richard and Susannah had no known offspring.

Deacon Richard was born in 1664 - before first generation Richard and Susannah arrived in late 1665 and before they were married in 1666. This would tend to indicate that Deacon Richard and the other Woodbridge Skinners did not descend from Richard and Susannah. This all comes down to the accuracy of his date of birth, which was calculated from his date of death and age at death, per his tombstone. It would be worthwhile to research whether there is more than one published account of the tombstone, and whether the tombstone exists today.

3. Third Generation

Richard Skinner - Sussanah Poulain
Deacon Richard Skinner
Richard Skinner Jr.
Presumed to be son of Deacon Richard by reason of "Jr" moniker
Served in Woodbridge company of Farmer's 1715 regiment
Wright Skinner
Presumed to be son of Deacon Richard by reason of first name
Served in Woodbridge company of Farmer's 1715 Woodbridge regiment
Living 1730's - 1740's Paepack, Somerset Co., NJ; same town as Nathaniel Skinner and Benjamin Manning
1740's - involved in land ejectment suit vs. the Jersey Proprietors, as was friend Benjamin Manning
1750's - a family including the name Wright Skinner appear in Dutchess Co., NY
John Skinner Sr.
Catherine Skinner
John Skinner Jr. - Mary Cutter
Known son of John Sr.
Served in Woodbridge company of Farmer's 1715 regiment
Lived and died at Woodbridge
Daniel Skinner
Richard Skinner
John Skinner, of Elizabeth, Essex Co., NJ
Captain Richard Skinner - Sarah Britton, of Woodbridge, NJ
William Britton Skinner - Anne _____, of Woodbridge, NJ
Anna Skinner - Isaac Payne, of Rahway, NJ
Richard Skinner - Jane Clark, relocated from Woodbridge, NJ to Butler Co., OH
Possibly also Private John Skinner of the Middlesex Co. militia
Katherine Skinner
Rebecca Skinner
Mary Skinner - Samuel Kempton
Daniel Skinner, of Woodbridge, NJ
Amos Skinner - Margaret _____, both of Essex Co., NJ
Benjamin Skinner
Ann Skinner
Mary Skinner
Francis Skinner

It is very surprising that the many generations of Skinners shown above, located in the vicinity of Elizabeth, Rahway and Woodbridge, NJ, have no known descendants today. The only known descendants are from Richard Skinner and Jane Clark, included above, who relocated out of NJ to Ohio. You would think that some Skinners of today would descend from this large group of Skinners.

Unknown Parentage
Cornelius Skinner, Sr.
Brother-in-law to Benjamin Manning Sr.
1737-1743 recorded at Lamington, Somerset Co., NJ, a few miles from brother Nathaniel, below
1755-1765 - he and Lamington neighbor John McCarty relocated a few miles away to become the earliest settlers of Tewksbury, Hunterdon Co., NJ
1763 - purchased land from Stephen Crane at Tewksbury
Moved to Loudon Co., Virginia in the 1760's with his children
Children (or grandchildren?) documented in Virginia -
Cornelius Skinner Jr.
Nathaniel Skinner (b. 1748) - married Martha Frame in 1770 in Chester Twnshp, Morris Co
Richard Alexander Skinner (b. 1740)
Hannah Skinner
The list of children of Cornelius comes from the published work of Leste Holcombe. Holcombe's work is based on Virginia records and would not reflect any members of the family that stayed behind in New Jersey. The number of children does not seem adequate and Nathaniel's 1748 birth seems rather late for a child of Cornelius.
Holcombe's list does not include a Phineas Skinner, b. 1730, who appears among the Virginia Skinners and who would have been born in NJ. Phineas is also a name carried down to later generations of the family of Cornelius.
Note that Phineas and Richard Alexander Skinner, probable children of Cornelius, could correspond to the Phinehas and Richard Skinner of unknown parentage that are shown several sections below.

Nathaniel Skinner
Brother-in-law to Benjamin Manning Sr.
Presumed brother of Cornelius Skinner, above
Born 1705 or 1706 Woodbridge
1737-1745 - recorded at Paepack, Somerset Co., NJ, same town as Wright Skinner and Benjamin Manning. John Congor also lived at Paepack. John, or a father by the same name, was originally of Woodbridge. John Skinner Sr. witnessed a deed of Woodbridge land to John in 1691.
Moved to Somerset Co., PA about 1773 with his children
Children documented in PA -
Samuel Skinner - Agnes Critchfield
Ruben Skinner - Sarah ____
Robert Skinner - Mary Willetts? (see Phinehas Skinner, below)
John Skinner - Rebecca Todd? (see Daniel Skinner, below)
Franky Skinner - Drake
James Skinner

Sussanah Skinner?
Benjamin Manning was brother-in-law to both Cornelius and Nathaniel Skinner. Therefore, his first wife - Susannah ____, maiden name unknown, may be a sister to Cornelius and Nathaniel Skinner. Note, however, the references to Manning being a brother-in-law occur years after his wife's death, and years after Manning relocated from Piscataway, where she died, to Somerset Co., NJ. The only other explanation as to why Manning was a brother-in-law to the Skinner brothers is if the two Skinners both married into the Manning family.
Susannah ____ , wife of Manning, was b. 1703 or 1704; d. 1725 Piscataway, Middlesex Co., NJ.
Benjamin Manning was recorded in Piscataway until 1734. He was recorded at Paepack, Somerset Co. from 1738 to 1745. He was recorded at Knowlton, Sussex Co., from 1761 until his death circa 1782. Some of his children then relocated to the lush farmland of the Finger Lakes region of western NY state (Ulysses and Thompkins Co.). Some of the Skinner branches shown on this page follow this same geographical progression.

Cornelius and Nathaniel are closely associated with Wright Skinner in terms of their geography, and could be brothers to Wright. However, Cornelius and Nathaniel seem to be about half a generation youner than Wright and his presumed brother Richard Skinner Jr. Nathaniel was born 1705 or 1706 - Wright and Richard Jr. were old enough to have served in Farmer's 1715 regiment.
Cornelius and Nathaniel also seem too young to be children of Deacon Richard Skinner - the Deacon being the presumed father of Wright and Richard Jr. The Deacon was born in 1664. This is why Lester Holcombe, genealogist of Cornelius, speculated that Cornelius and Nathaniel may been the children of someone else, such as Francis.

Unknown Parentage -
The following Skinners appear to be brothers and are closely connected to Cornelius, above - likely his brothers, or less likely, his children.
Richard Skinner
1756 - subscriber to a Lutheran Church at Pluckemin, a few miles from the other Skinners living at Lamington, Paepack and Tewksbury
1763 - purchased land from Stephen Crane at Tewksbury, one month after Cornelius, above, did the same
Robert Skinner
1756 - subscriber to a Lutheran Church at Pluckemin - a few miles from the other Skinners at Lamington, Paepack and Tewksbury
Phinehas Skinner
1756 - subscriber to a Lutheran Church at Pluckemin - a few miles from the other Skinners at Lamington, Paepack and Tewksbury
1752 - resident of Hunterdon Co.
1762 - resident of Hunterdon Co., serving as Fellowbondman in theWill of Samuel Willet of Monmouth Co. Note that William Willets, son of Sam, may have married an unknown Hannah Skinner. A son of Nathaniel Skinner, above, also married into theWilletts family.
Note also that the relatives of Cornelius Skinner, in Virginia, included a Phineas Skinner. Phineas was born 1730, when the family would still have been in NJ.
Also James Skinner
James could be a sibling to Richard, Robert and Phinehas, or alternatively, to Richard Skinner Jr. and Wright Skinner, farther up on this same page - basically a potential sibling to any of the third generation siblings born in the 1690-1710 time frame.
1729 - defendant in a land trespass suit (State Supreme Court per www.njarchives.org) in Somerset Co., similar to Wright Skinner and family friend Benjamin Manning.

4. Fourth and Fifth Generations
Issue - since the families of Cornelius and Nathaniel, above, relocated out of NJ, the question becomes - who remained behind to become the progenitors of these fourth and fifth generation Skinners of central Jersey?