Edward Skidmore (1737 - 1783)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Murderkill Hundred, kent, Delaware, United States
Death: Died in Nelson, Kent, Delaware, United States
Managed by: Kevin Brees
Last Updated:

About Edward Skidmore

The year was 1782 :

Family Tree on 16 Mar 2009 :

On 24 June 1782 Edward Skidmore was drafted from Nelson County as a Sergeant in the company of Captain James Davis to assist in the construction of Fort Nelson (possibly modelled in part on Friend's Fort back in Virginia) at what is now the city of Louisville. He was stationed there until July 13th when he was paid and discharged. Edward Skidmore's will is dated a few months later on 17 October 1782. He was then "in a weak and low state of body." He left all of his worldly affairs to his wife Deborah. Excepted only was my "rifle gun, powder horn and pouch" which were to be kept for his young son Benjamin. Edward Skidmore seems to have died soon a few days later, although his will was not recorded in Jefferson County (which then included Nelson) until 6 August 1783. Previous to the recording of the will his widow had traveled to Louisville to enter 400 acres of land that Edward Skidmore had a warrant for on the south side of Beech Fork beginning at the east corner of James Nalls' survey. Nothing further has been learned of the widow Deborah Skidmore. Neither she nor his sons ever appear to have sold the Beech Fork tract, and they also abandoned their interest in Edward Skidmore's land back at Elkins.

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Sergeant Edward Skidmore Biography:

SERGEANT EDWARD SKIDMORE, the son of Joseph and Agnes (Caldwell) Skidmore, was born in Murderkill Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, about 1737, and died in what is now Nelson County, Kentucky, before 6 August 1783. He married Deborah, a daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Fossell) Dawson. She was born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 1 January 1748 and moved with her family to Duck Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware where her father, a hatter, was a prominent Quaker.

Edward and Deborah were married before 27 January 1770 when Deborah offered an acknowledgement at the Duck Creek Monthly Meeting for her “outgoing” in marriage. His widow Deborah married Thomas Burnett as her second husband by 1785. She is not found on the first tax list taken for the new county of Nelson in 1785, but Thomas Burnett is there with one tithable and “five white souls” which probably included a part of his Skidmore stepchildren. In the tax list for 1792 Burnett was farming 52 acres on Beech Fork with two horse and eight cattle.

Edward Skidmore was probably a namesake of Edward Williams of Murderkill Hundred who may ave had charge of him for a time after his parents left for western Maryland. He seems to have been brought up in Delaware or returned there as a young man. He enlisted in Kent County, Delaware on 29 April 1758 in the company of Captain Benjamin Noxon for service in the French and Indian War. He was, according to the muster roll, aged 21 (an age open to question), a native of Delaware, and a laborer. He re-enlisted on 21 May 1759 in Captain Henry Van Bibber’s company in New Castle County, and is listed with the company on a muster taken on 4 June 1759.

On 29 July 1769 he bought a lot on the northwest side of Ball Street at Duck Creek Crossroads (now Smyrna, Delaware) from Samuel Ball, a merchant of Duck Creek Hundred, and William Ball, a silversmith from Philadelphia. He paid £40 for the lot and is called a wagoner in the deed granting this property to him. His father-in-law, a hatter in Philadelphia, was married to Elizabeth Fossell on the 19th day of 5th month (July) 1744 at the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. On 29th of the 8th month (October) 1751 Elizabeth Dawson requested a certificate to present to the Duck Creek Monthly Meeting. This was granted to Benjamin Dawson and his wife and children on the 27th of the next month (September), and the family removed to Delaware.

Edward Skidmore and his young wife joined his father and brothers in Virginia by 1772 bringing with him from Duck Creek Hundred William Cleaver, Senior, and his family, Joseph Donoho, and perhaps Jesse Hamilton. These men together with Jonas Friend (who had married his eldest sister Sarah Skidmore) settled in the Tygart River Valley at what is now Elkins in Randolph County. Benjamin Cleaver (1751-1833?) applied for a pension at the age of 81 in 1832 in Grayson County, Kentucky, stating that he had been enlisted to fight Indians in the “Tigers” Valley in 1774. This statement is confirmed by the payroll of Captain Jonas Friend’s company of men who went out in pursuit of a band of maurauding Indians just prior to the Battle of Point Pleasant. Their claims 108 against the royal purse were certified to Williamsburg in 1775, and they were listed without explanation (a major confusion) with the claims filed by the army and citizenry for the expenses of the Battle of Point Pleasant.

William Cleaver, Senior (who died testate in 1807 in Nelson County, Kentucky), Edward Skidmore, Donoho, Hamilton and Friend entered into a partnership to purchase 1000 acres from John McClanahan (an assignee of James Walker, a veteran of the French and Indian War, who had a warrant for 3000 acres). McClanahan was dead when the tract was surveyed for the partners on 8 March 1774. Jonas Friend, his eldest son Joseph Friend, Edward Skidmore, and the other three associates promptly built Friend's Fort which became the chief adornment of the tract. They perfected their title on 1 November 1782 in Monongalia County. David Armstrong of Elkins has traced the early land titles to modern Elkins and published his findings. We learn from this that the partners became the first settlers there below Porter Avenue.

Hamilton settled on that portion of the survey that included the present day railroad yards, Harrison Avenue, both hospital buildings, Wilson, Central and Main Streets, the junior high school, and the Armory. Hamilton's cabin may have been on the site of the Youth Health Service mansion across from the Third Ward Apartments. Donoho's settlement was next below Hamilton's in the present day Oak Grove Addition. Edward Skidmore lived below them, and Jonas Friend had Harrison Avenue approximately west of the State Police Barracks, as well as Goff Street, the Third Ward School and the Mall, and part of Crystal Springs.

Captain Jonas Friend deserves some further notice. He had joined his father-in-law Joseph Skidmore on one of his two trips south through the gap at Harper's Ferry. Jonas had married Sarah Skidmore by 9 September 1754 when they sold to Simeon Rice the land that he had inherited from his father Israel Friend (of Swedish descent) in Frederick County, Virginia. In this deed Jonas and Sarah Friend are called “late of Frederick County in the colony of Virginia but now of Augusta County.” His younger brother Jacob Friend later married Sarah's sister Elizabeth Skidmore and remained in Pendleton County.

Jonas Friend was a Sergeant in the French and Indian War under Captain Abraham Smith, and was also employed as a carpenter in the rebuilding of Fort Seybert after the massacre there (for which he was paid £1 2sh 6d). He had moved by 1772 to the Tygart River Valley in what is now Randolph County and recorded a deed on 22 May 1776 at Staunton selling all his land in Pendleton County. Friend's Fort was at Crystal Springs at or near the Ivan Coberly house. It was undoubtedly modeled after Fort Seybert which Jonas Friend, of course, knew well. The site of Friend's Fort has been marked by the John Hart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. On 25 May 1795 Jonas and Sarah Friend divided the 1000 acre tract, and sold 300 acres (no doubt including the fort) to their son Andrew Friend for £1000. The remaining 700 acres were deeded by Jonas Friend on 22

August 1796 to the remaining four partners.

On 15 October 1776 the inhabitants of the Tygart Valley, all five of the partners among them, signed a petition to the House of Delegates asking that three companies of rangers be stationed in the valley. According to their petition they numbered about 150 families spread over 50 miles of the valley and about 80 miles from any relief in case of an emergency. On 16 September 1775 Jonas Friend was appointed a Gentleman Justice for West Augusta County and he and Colonel Benjamin Wilson (who had formerly lived at Ruddle in Pendleton County) became the only two representatives of county government west of the Alleghenies.

One incident at Friend's Fort will suffice to show the perils of the time. On an evening in April 1781 Alexander West, a neighbor, was visiting the fort. He and Jonas were sitting outside the fort when West saw what he thought was an Indian in the shadows. He started for his gun but Jonas Friend stopped him saying the figure in the dark was probably one of his “yaller boys.” Both West and Friend had fierce dogs, and not altogether certain of the identity of the figure, the dogs were set loose. But they flew at one another and the intruder vanished into the forest. The day following an Indian raiding party descended on the community and killed three of five men returning from the settlement now Clarksburg. From there they moved to Leading Creek where they destroyed most of a colony of six families taking three prisoners. There was little doubt that West had seen a scout from the raiding party and Jonas Friend condemned himself bitterly for not letting West act on his impulse to alarm the settlers.

Edward Skidmore, the Cleavers, and several other families left the Tygart Valley for what is now Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1779 going down the Ohio River. A petition read on 23 August 1780 to Congress from the “Inhabitants of Kentucke,” and signed by Edward Skidmore and William, Benjamin, and Joshua Cleaver, states that they had traveled 700 miles down the Ohio River. The best account of this removal is found in the pension application of William Cleaver, Junior (1761-1836), which he filed at the age of 71 in 1832 in Grayson County, Kentucky.

On 5 March 1782 the court in Jefferson County (which then included Nelson) ordered the County Surveyor to lay out 400 acres for Edward Skidmore (and several others) “agreeable to [an] act of Assembly” which had been passed in May 1781 “for the relief of the poor settlers in the Kentucky County.” This tract seems to have been at or near the little settlement called Woodlawn (population 100) in Nelson County, a place that was once known as Skidmore. On 24 June 1782 Edward Skidmore was drafted there as a Sergeant in the company of Captain James Davis to assist in the construction of Fort Nelson at what is now Louisville in Jefferson County. He was stationed there until July 13th when he was paid and discharged.

His will is dated a few months later on 17 October 1782. He was then “in a weak and low state of body.” He left all of his worldly affairs to his wife Deborah “for her only use and behofe.” Excepted only was my “rifle gun, powder horn and pouch” which were to be kept for his son Benjamin. Edward Skidmore seems to have died soon after this date, although his will was not recorded in Jefferson County until 6 August 1783. Two John Camerons (apparently father and son) were the only witnesses. Frontier wives seldom remained widows for long, and Deborah had married Thomas Burnett by 1785 soon after Edward Skidmore’s will was recorded. Two of his children may have differences with their new stepfather, and Joseph Skidmore and his sister Mary apparently retreated to Clay County, Kentucky where there was a large contingent of friends from Randolph County back in Virginia.

Previous to the recording of the will his widow had traveled to Louisville to enter the 400 acres of land for which Edward Skidmore had a warrant. It was on the south side of Beech Fork beginning at the east corner of James Nalls’ 500 acre survey. From the subsequent survey we learn that it was close to Hardin’s Creek, near the spot where William Cameron lived, and hard by Montgomery’s Spring. She and Thomas Burnett, her second husband, assigned the tract to John Phillips on 13 December 1796. Philemon Waters (who had also served in the company that built Fort Nelson) notes on the back of the survey that Deborah Burnett was formerly the wife of Edward Skidmore and “now the wife of the above Thomas Burnet.”

Governor James Garrard gave a patent to Phillips on 17 December 1797, and he sold 50 acres first to Joseph Fields and the remaining 350 acres to John Bolds on 18 September 1814. This deed is on record in Washington County, and in addition to mentioning Joseph Fields’ line “on the east” referred back to James Nall’s survey and William Cameron’s line. John Phillips (1755-1835) was a land speculator who lived on the north side of Hardin’s Creek in Washington County. He bought up land frequently as “John Phillips and

Company,” in partnership with his brothers and others. We will meet John Milburn (Phillips’ nephew by marriage) later in Indiana where he was an associate of the young James Skidmore.

Deborah Burnett may have kept in contact with old friends or her family in Virginia or Delaware. On 8 October 1791 the editor of the Kentucky Gazette listed an undelivered letter addressed to Deborah Burnet which had been left at the printing office at Lexington. The Burnetts apparently gave a deed to Cornelius Westfall (1756-1828) for Edward Skidmore’s interest in the land adjoining Friend’s Fort, although it is not on record in Randolph County. The descent of this tract will be noticed when we turn to her son Benjamin Skidmore, who was dead by the time that Westfall attempted to perfect his title to Edward Skidmore’s land in Virginia.

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Sgt. Edward Skidmore's Timeline

1737
1737
Murderkill Hundred, kent, Delaware, United States
1770
1770
Age 33
1774
March, 1774
Age 37
Virginia, USA
1774
Age 37
1776
1776
Age 39
1779
1779
Age 42
1783
August 6, 1783
Age 46
Nelson, Kent, Delaware, United States
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