The Immigrants
Woodstock, Connecticut
The Move to Royalton
Skinners Multiply
Calvin & Sally's Family
Lewis Skinner Family
John Calvin Skinner
Lewis & Olive Ann
Other Skinner Towns
Cheat Sheet

Slavery and Vermont
  Vermont was an anti-slavery state. It passed a constitution in 1771 that was the first and only to prohibit slavery. In 1776 a law was passed that made it illegal to sell or transport slaves in the state. Vermont was an important stop on the Underground Railroad and by 1837 there were 89 local anti-slavery organizations in the state. The Republican party was formed largely as an anti-slavery party (no other party at the time took an anti-slavery stance), and several Skinners were active both in the party and in supporting anti-slavery candidates, including Abraham Lincoln.

A Skinner Governor
  From 1820-1823, a descendant of immigrant Thomas Skinner, Richard Skinner, was Governor of Vermont. He also served in the State Legislature from 1815-1818. He was Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court from 1823-1828. The chart below shows his relationship to Thomas Skinner of Malden.

Important Skinner Unitarians
  A strong tradition and Unitarian Universalism exists in the Skinner family. Descendants of immigrant Thomas Skinner, brothers Rev. Dolphus Skinner and Rev. Warren Skinner were Universalist ministers. Rev. Warren Skinner preached widely in the Connecticut River border towns in Vermont and New Hampshire and for a time was in charge of a boarding house connected with the Liberal Institute in Woodstock, VT, which eventually became the Green Mountain Perkins Academy. It stands today and houses a museum and library. Rev. Warren was author of 12 religious essays in the church. A granddaughter reported that Rev. Warren Skinner was "a sour soul who never had a kindly word for any of us...we might have as well been his chickens or his cows." It seems the Reverand might have rubbed a few too many people the wrong way--he lost his church in Ludlow, VT after a parishioner accused him of saying, 'The blood of Christ had nothing to do with our salvation more than the blood of a dog.'

Rev. Warren's son, Charles Augustus Skinner was also a Universalist minister, woven of the same personality as his father. Another Skinner relative wrote about Rev. Charles Augustus Skinner: "(he) came from a long line of granite-faced New Englanders, worthy citizens righteous and God-fearing to a conscientous point when one wondered if it might be a case of the Diety who was doing most of the fearing." Of Charles Augustus' wife, this relative wrote: "Modest, soft-spoken, her union with the Skinner family tree was in the nature of the grafting of a delicate fern onto a giant oak. Whoever married a Skinner became a Skinner; their children were Skinners and there was no nonsense about it." Rev. Charles Augustus was minister of the Universalist Church in Cambridge, MA for fourteen years. The home of Rev. Warren Skinner was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It still exists as a Bed and Breakfast and the guest rooms are named after members of the family. You can see the house and the rooms at

The Green Mountain Perkins Academy, now a library and museum.

Ministers and Actors
  The branch of the Skinner family, that produced Rev. Warren and Rev. Charles A. Skinner is shown. Descendant Clarence Russell Skinner, shown at the bottom, became an important figure in the Unitarian church. Otis Skinner, noted on the chart, became a well known actor, and his daughter, Cornelia Otis Skinner also became and actor, author, and humorist. An obituary for Rev. Dolphus Skinner appears on the 'Obits' link.

According to the Unitarian Church Clarence R. Skinner (above) was "widely regarded as the most influential Universalist of the first half of the twentieth century." Clarence Russell Skinner was a minister, teacher, author and social activist. The Universalist Church has quite a bit of information on him at

Otis and Daughter Cornelia

Otis Skinner (above right group of 5 photos) was born in Cambridge, MA, while his father was minister of the Unitarian Church in Cambridge. His acting career spanned 40 years and he appeared in hundreds of roles throughout the world. His daughter Cornelia Otis Skinner (above left group of 5 photos) was educated at Bryn Mawr and studied theater at the Sorbonne in Paris. She authored a one-woman show that toured the US from 1926-1929. As a humorist, she wrote short pieces for magazines and authored several books, including "Nuts in May", "Dithers and Jitters" and "The Ape in Me". She appeared with Orson Welles on May 27, 1929 in the Campbell Playhouse play "The Things We Have". A google search on 'Otis Skinner' will produced much more information about both Otis and Cornelia.

The Skinners and The Mudges
  It's not too uncommon in colonial times that first cousins married. But this family mix has got to be some sort of record. Four children in one Skinner-related family marry four children in another Skinner-related family. The mother of one set of children and the father of the other set of children are brother and sister. That would make the marriages first cousins going both directions. Get all that? Here's a diagram...

Cute Story
  Here's a cute story recounted from the History of Royalton by Evelyn Lovejoy. It's probably fictional, but the townspeople mentioned are not. The Martin Skinner farm mentioned in the story is the homestead of his father, Calvin Skinner, and is pictured elsewhere on this web site. Porter Lyon was the son of Zebulon Lyon, but was raised by the same Calvin Skinner.

Tradition tells us of a man, who came to Royalton one day in early spring, dragging along in a sleigh on his way to Randolph; the road was unknown to him, and he must ask his way. His first inquiry was at the old Martin Skinner farm, of Porter Lyon, a half-witted boy to whom his uncle Calvin stood for all knowledge. His reply was "Ask uncle Calvin. He'll tell ye." The man drove on, and the fates ordained that, just after entered the village, he should again interrogate a half-witted boy, Phy Rix, who relpied as he ran off "You'll hurt me, you'll hurt me!" Next the traveller overtook a woman, Hitty Gaines, who was deaf. Her answer, "I buy my snuff 'ter Lyman's," (the popular store of the town). Somewhat amazed he drove on. As he reached the brick house at the end of the village, he saw a man in the dooryard and his hopes rose. But alas! Mr. Bliss Thatcher, though sound mentally, stammered most woefully, and being asked if this were the road to Randolph, went through various facial contortions only to end with this remark: "Golong--ye'll 'git thar 'fore I kin tell ye."

Next he met John Safford walking, but the mild question started him into a brisk run shouting, "Catch me if ye can!" By this time the traveller had reached the Rix farm, and was passing the old house which stood in the field between the graveyard and the present barn. Standing in the doorway was Mrs. Conkey watching for her lazy husband's homecoming, and to the oft repeated question, "Is this the road to Randolph?" came the sharp reply, "He's down to the tavern, where he allers is." The wayfarer's heart sank as he dragged on, one runner on snow and the other on bare ground, but overtaking Parker Chaffee walking (Parker was a very deaf man) he ventured to ask once more "Is this the road to Randolph?" "Don't care if I do," was Parker's response as he jumped into the sleigh. One cannot wonder that the question had changed by the time the man had reached Bethel, and he was asking "What's the matter with the town back there? Be they all lunatics?"

Old Pictures of Royalton
  A collection of pictures of Royalton past, mainly from old post cards can be found at:

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(c) Jerry Gottsacker, 2008