William SKINNER (Rev)

Father: Richard SKINNER
Mother: Susanna POULAIN

Family 1: Elizabeth VAN_CORTLANDT
  1. Cortlandt SKINNER
  2. John SKINNER
  3. Gertrude SKINNER

 _Richard SKINNER _|
|                  |__
|--William SKINNER 
|                   __
|_Susanna POULAIN _|



!.....E05.1126.01 Jones, Rev. W. Northey, M.A., Rector of St. Peter's Church, Perth Amboy. The History of St. Peter's Church in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The Oldest Congregation of the Church in the state of New Jersey. From its organization in 1698 to the year of our Lord 1923 and the celebration of the 225th anniversary of the parish. Also a genealogy of the families buried in the churchyard. Page 465: "...the original name of his great grandfather, the Rev. William Skinner, i.e. MacGregor." Chapter VI The Rev. William Skinner, Rector 1722-1758. (pp. 45-49; 464) The next rector began his work under most happy auspices. A new and beautiful House of God had been erected which stood from 1721 until 1850 or for a period of nearly one hundred and thirty years. It was the second place of worship for the churchmen of Perth Amboy, but the first to occupy the present church site taking the place of the converted Court House given by the Colonial Proprietors and situated on the Long Ferry property-now known as Caledonian Park. The parish had become incorporated just four years earlier receiving its charter from King George I. The old corner stone bearing the date 1685, the oldest historic relic of Perth Amboy now built into the chancel wall of the church, was originally probably the stone in the stone grist mill of David Mudie which was on the same site with the present church. David Mudie was the father in-law of Thomas Gordon and Thomas Gordon inheriting this property through his wife afterward deeded it to the church for a church building and for a burying ground. The corner stone was placed first in the walls of that church which was erected in 1719, just before Mr. Skinner came, and marks therefore not the date of the Long Ferry church, originally a court house (that building was built of wood), but the date of the erection of David Mudie's mill on the present church site. When the second church on the same site was built in 1850-again this old corner stone was built into the wall and can be seen today I the chancel wall. Much was to be done to the church during Mr. Skinner's rectorate, the exterior of the building being the only part completed with he arrived in Amboy. On the 10th of September, 1723, the wardens proceeded to lay the floor and build the pulpit, reading desk, and altar. The pews were finished in 1731 and were constructed by the different families of the parish at their own expense and were to be owned by the builders. These pews all faced the pulpit, placed in the center of the north side of the church. Later a gallery was added running along the whole south side of the church. A beautiful steeple was added in 1754. The new "parsonage house" given by the generous Margaret Willocks and her husband was occupied first by William Skinner, being the second rectory on the present site which now has its third building also on the same site. Before he began his rectorate which is the longest I the annals of the parish, the Reverend Mr. Skinner came to this country as a school teacher by way of Holland and the West Indies. After being in Philadelphia a short time he returned to England and sought ordination from the Bishop of London as the following letter shows: My Lord, It is with difficulty I am persuaded to address a person of your Lps dignity, and worth lest my rude approaches should render me obnoxious to your Lps displeasure. But to stop the clamour of my necessities, I am constrained to trouble your Lp in this manner, and I hope the narrowness of my circumstances will do much to plead my excuse. Under your Lps protection, I have now taught schools in Philadelphia two years, and I plainly perceive, that all the profits of the schools, without the Royal Bounty restored, will not be found a tolerable subsistence. True it is my Ld. I blame myself for my misfortune, having acted heedlessly in this affair, for had I adverted to a few hints your Ldps gave me of the place, I could not but expect to repent such and undertaking, and so had not engaged in a business of such uncertainty as that of teaching school in Philadelphia, depending on the peoples liberality only for a maintenance. Yet having already tasted of the Royal bounty, in receiving twenty £ of his Majesties money, I think myself obliged to prosecute the intent for which your Lp sent me hither if by any means I can stand it, or at least patiently to wait your Lps advice in this matter, which I beg may be by the first opportunity, hoping your Lp will graciously be pleased to compassion at my case, that, having precipitated myself into some difficulties, from a design of doing good to others as well as to myself, I may say I was relieved by a powerful hand. Your Lp, considering my necessitous circumstances may think my school is not numerous; but it is in a thriving condition. I have forty boys at present, four whereof are learning Greek, the rest Latin, for I have reduced it to a Grammar school, that only being wanted in this place. And to reconcile this seeming contradiction twixt that of my school and circumstances, I am obliged to give your Lp some account of the inhabitants, whereof, I may truly say, three fourths are Quakers, having schoolmasters of the own persuasion, who teach Grammar as they can, and are very much encourage d, and tho' the more understanding part of Friends, if there is such a part among them, have trusted me with the education of their children, notwithstanding they are by far the richer, yet they are willing in their quarterly payments to copy after the poorer, and think they have laid me under no small obligation, if they go the length of the Church people, who are generally poor, and what is more having been educated in Wales, and ye outparts of England, where 1/2 Crown quarterly is thought a large allowance, they scruple to give them much more here; so that I have no set price, but am obliged to take what they think fit to give, which your Lp may be well assured is little enough, so that I am straitened how to live and keep free of debt, tho' there is little danger of the last, my credit being bad, and I have but small security of the first, for the Quakers are raising a fund for a School-Master of their own persuasion, and 'tis thought will er long be provided in some proper person from Brittain, upon whose arrival I must expect to lose a considerable number of Schollars; for if he is no better qualified than his predecessors, recommendations from Friends at home are sufficient to procure him credit here at first, and, no doubt, he will be caress'd by Friends here, being one of their own. I shall say nothing of the content I have given since I came hither, hoping there are many in the place, and they of the best credit, who will be ready to recommend me to your Lps sound advice, viz. Mind your business and meddle not wt parties, and the following this has in a great measure secured my peace amongst this subdivided people, nor any other such help from the Honble the Societie for propagating the Gospel, and that I should be obliged to move, wt all becoming submission, I take the freedom to tell your Lp That- Had I known the state of this countrey when I was with your Lp, as well as now, I had applied to your Lp for Holy Orders; of which had your Lp thought me worthy, I had been more useful both to myself and others: But the thoughts of a ragged gown, and the bringing that hold order into the least contempt, by any unbecoming compliance, to which poverty has reduced too many, seem'd sufficient motives to dissuade me from such thoughts, at that time, and I thought it propper rather to venture hither under a character which everywhere is so lightly esteem'd that it must secure its bearer from neglect. But now knowing the state of the countrey better, and being inform'd that there are several vacancies which want very much to be filled up, and very considerable congregations and no Minister, in Maryland, Virginia, Barbadoes, &c. where the Church is established, and provision made for every particular parish, by the laws of the Countrey. I presume to tell your Lp that if any recommendation from this place both from the Clergy and Laity could perswade your Lp that I might as a clergyman be of use to the Church in these parts, I could obtain an ample Character for the time I have been here, having already satisfied your Lp and ye Honble Society for the time before, withall submitting to your Lp as the best judge of the qualifications requisite. I might mention the great want and necessity this Province has to be supplyed with more Ministers, where several numerous congregations are lost on the one hand by Presbyterians, and by Quakers on the other,, the poor people declaring, that nothing drives them to hear. Such but because they can hear none other. And as a proof of this I hope your Lp will give me leave to mention Lewis Town in this Government, where it is common to see some hundreds of people assembled to hear a Minister of the Church, tho' they seldom have an opportunity of that nature, and it is as common for the Minister to baptise almost an hundred children on such an occasion; but the people are poor and a Minister among them must be on the Societies establishment. I remember your Lp was graciously pleased to mention ordination to me, but for the reasons already mentioned, tho' I did not them exhibit them to your Lp, I seem'd to decline, but now I wish I had been less scrupulous. Nevertheless, if your Lp think fitt, I am willing once more to return to Great Britain, and prostrate myself at your Lps feet, where your Lps Orders shall joyfully be received by him and begs your Lps blessing and protection in whatever station, and is with all becoming duty and respect. My Ld, Your Lps, Most humble & most obedient servant Will Skinner Philadelphia Novr 30, 1720 (Fulham Palace-Pennsylvania Mss. No. 223.) A letter commending him for Holy Orders is here inserted: (please see: Fulham Palace Mss. Pennsylvania Collection No. 226.) He also had the charge of Piscataway and Woodbridge where he had occasional services. During the early part of Mr. Skinner's rectorate George Willocks died and bequeathed the Long Ferry property to the church together with the ferry rights granted to him by King George under the great seal of the Province on June 2, 1719, for the use and support of the minister of St. Peter's. This will was dated June 3, 1728. When first reaching Amboy, Mr. Skinner was the guest of the Governor for some weeks and then he took up his residence on a farm adjacent to Amboy which belonged to his wife, as Mr. Willocks had not nor did he for some rears, deliver the rectory property to the parish which had been willed to it by Mrs. Margaret Willocks, his wife. The first rectory was not in the present house site but was on the lower end of the same lot facing Water St. and when it first came into the hands of the vestry it was rented out. Mr. Skinner was rector of the parish 36 years until his death in 1758 in his seventy-first year. Mr. Skinner is supposed to have been one of the Clan McGregor in Scotland which clan had been outlawed by the British Government. He took part I the rebellion of 1715 and was wounded in the battle of Preston-pans fighting for "the old pretender." Assuming the mane of a friend he first fled to Holland and then to the West Indies (Antigua or Barbadoes) where he supported himself as instruction in the languages, having been a graduate of the University of Oxford. From there he found his way into Philadelphia and taught there as has been already set forth in his letter to the Bishop of London. Mr. Skinner was twice married-first to Mrs. Brooke, the widow of the former Rector, the Rev. John Brooke and daughter of Christopher Billop of Staten Island. There was no issue from this marriage. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon. Stephanus Van Cortlandt of New York and from this marriage numerous descendants of distinction on both sides of the water are sprung. The minutes of the vestry of Sept. 10, 1723 show the Rev. Mr. William Skinner present for the first time. It was some time after his appointment by the S.P.G. and his being in charge of the work here before he was finally inducted into office. On July 22, 1724, we see Mr. Skinner again present when it was agreed to give him a call to be incumbent which was accordingly done in form and a letter was written "to his Excellency, William Burnet, Esq., Captain General, Governor in Chief in and over his majesty's Province of New Jersey, New York, etc., humbly praying that his Excellency would vouchsafe to grant the Rev. William Skinner advowson and induction into the church with all it appurtenance."

!.....R61:243-4 Burke, John Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol 14. 1977.

!.....E86.0405.01 Thacker, Marilyn fgs makes note of him being son of Richard and Susanna Poulain, m Mary Billop Brooks

!.....E86.1129.06 Lainhart, Audry

!.....E92.0704.16t/17 SKU 7(1):12 d 1758

!.....E95.0417.05 SKU 12(2):32 Jones, E Alfred, M.A., F.R. Hist. Soc. The Loyalists of New Jersey / Their Memorials, Petitions, Claims, Etc. From English Records Newark, NJ New Jersey Historical Society 1927: First Rector of St. Peter’s Church, Perth Amboy (originally a Mac Gregor).

!.....E95.0803.19-21 SKU 12(4)79 Randall, Carol J Weis, Frederick Lewis. The Colonial Clergy of the Middle Colonies / New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania / 1628-1776. Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society. (October 1956). reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc 1978 SEE NOTE FOLLOWING! William Skinner, b. Scotland, ca. 1687; Ord. London, Autumn of 1722; fought in the battle of Preston-Pans, Scotland, 1715; K.B. to Philadelphia, Pa., 10 Jun 1718; schoolmaster at Philadelphia, 1718-1722; occasional preacher at Freehold (Mercer) N.J., St. Peter’s Chh., 1718-1733; sett. Perth Amboy (Middlesex) N.J., St. Peter’s Chh., 22 Nov. 1722-1758; S.P.G. missionary; Piscataway (Middlesex) N.J., St. James’s Chh. 1722-1758; Shrewsbury (Monmouth) N.J., Christ Chh., 1722-1725; Woodbridge (Middlesex) N.J., Trinity Chh., 1722-1752; New Brunswick (Middlesex) N.J., Christ Chh., 1742-1749; Spotswood (Middlesex) N.J., St. Peter’s Chh. at East Brunswick, 1756-1758; Mr. Skinner built the chh. at Spotswood; a Rev. William Macgregor Skinner, perhaps a descendant, was matriculated in the Lyon Register of Arms, 1810; Ep.; d. Perth Amboy, N.J., 1758, a. 70. [Ed. note: Can anyone verify or disproved this William’s connection to the Richard of Woodbridge line? The information I have received is that this William was the son of Richard and Susannah (Poulain) Skinner. Along the line someone sent in information that the above mentioned William was married to Mary Billop Brooks. Printed records indicate that William, (s/o Richard and Susannah) was married to Elizabeth Van Courtlandt. Records indicate that the William who was married to Mary Billop Brooks was the same William who was married to Elizabeth Van Courtlandt. Other records indicate that the William who was married to Brooks and Van Courtland was the son of Richard and Susannah Poulain. My, this is confusing. So, I am asking if anyone has anything that can substantiate the following: 1. The William Skinner born in Scotland in 1687 (the one above) 2. was the same William Skinner who was the son of Richard Skinner and Susannah Poulain; 3. was the same William Skinner who firstly married Mary Billop Brooks 4. was the same William Skinner who secondly married Elizabeth Van Courtlandt. You have no idea the number of “pieces” of information I have on this early family group ~ that of Richard and Susanna and their progeny! Any verification on this family would be greatly appreciated!

!.....E95.0808.87-88 SKU 12(4)96 Hobbies–The Magazine for Collectors. September, 1958. SKINNER, Rev. William Macgregor, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 1722-1758 Arms: Quartered – 1st and 4th; Argent a sword in bend azure the hilt and pomel or surmounted by an oak tree eradicated in bend sinister proper, the sword supporting on its point an antique crown gules (for Macgregor); 2nd and 3rd: Sable a chevron between three griffin’s head erased or (for Skinner). “Marticulated in the Lyon Register, 1810” The information above is found in the “Roll of Arms” compiled by the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and is confirmed in Burke’s “General Armory” where it is registered under “Skinner (Carisbrooke House, Isle of Wight”), and under “M’Gregor-Skinner, now M’Gregor (Belfast and Carsband, Isle of Wight”). The Rev. William Macgregor Skinner was born about 1687, as he is said to have died in 1758 “aged 71.” His second wife, the mother of all his children, was Elizabeth, daughter of Stephen Van Cortlandt. Her will was proved in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County), N.J., June 2, 1763. They had issue: Cortland/Cortlandt (1729-1799) who married Elizabeth Kearney; Stephen who married Catherine Johnson; William who married Susan Warren; John who married Sarah Kearney; and Gertruyd who married James Parker on February 12, 1762 in Perth Amboy, N.J. William Macgregor Skinner received an excellent education in England before first coming to Philadelphia, Pa., where he supported himself by tutoring while he prepared for the ministry. He returned to England and was ordained by Robinson, Bishop of London. While in London he was appointed missionary to Perth Amboy by the “Society for Propagating the Gospel to Foreign Parts,” and shortly thereafter, he became the first rector of St. Peter’s Church at Perth Amboy. His rectorate was the longest in the annals of the parish as he continued his duties there until his death. This Skinner family (Rev. William Macgregor Skinner and his sons) was very influential in colonial times, and later became a famous “Tory” family of New Jersey. One son became the leader of Skinner’s “Greens,” a brigade active throughout the Revolutionary War; and the other sons were high ranking officers of he British regular army.

Created by Sparrowhawk 1.0 (4/17/1996) on Sun Oct 22 19:50:24 2006