Second Generation (Continued)

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Family of Magdalena Voorhees STRYKER (1C) & Randall SKILLMAN

C2. Thomas David SKILLMAN.37 Born on 1 Nov 1843 near Trenton, in Somerset County, New Jersey.37 Immigrated in 1851 to Fulton County, Illinois, with his mother, stepfather William Brown Hageman, two brothers, and one sister.37 Immigrated in 1865 by wagon train to Seward Co., Nebraska from Fulton Co., Illinois with his younger brother Abraham V. Skillman and three other young couples.37 They resided on Lincoln Creek about a mile north of present Highway No. 11 and two and one-half miles west of the present city of Seward.37 Thomas David died at the home of his son Jerry T. Skillman in Lexington, Nebraska, on October 23, 1923, a few days shy of eighty years of age.37 Cause of death: complications from the flu.37

On 8 Dec 1864 when Thomas David was 21, he married America JOHNSON, daughter of Moses C. JOHNSON (1807-1850+) & Zerilda WILCOXEN (1812-1874) in Knox Co., Illinois.37 America was born 19 Aug 1847 in Fulton Co., Ilinois. America died on March 1, 1904.37 Cause of death: pneumonia. Religion: she was a member of the United Brethren Church, the church of her brother , Rev. E. W. Johnson, an ordained United Brethren minister.37

Their marriage license is listed in the online Illinois state records as:35

GROOM                                BRIDE                                    CNTY          DATE            VOL/PAGE      LIC

SKILLMAN, THOMAS        JOHNSON, AMERICA        KNOX        12/08/1864        B/ 130        6070

Thomas David Skillman and America Johnson had the following children:
C6 i. Jeremiah "Jerry" Thomas (1866-1931)
C7 ii. Moses (Died as Infant)

From W. W. Cox, History of Seward County , Nebraska, 1888, p.268:43

The first settler in F precinct, was born in New Jersey on Nov. 1, 1843. His widowed mother moved to Fulton county, Ill., in 1851, where Thomas was a resident until the spring of 1865. Married Miss America Johnson in December, 1864. The young couple moved to Seward county the following spring, and Mr. Skillman made his claim (the present farm) on Lincoln creek, and was for a time our most western settler. These young people had many hardships to endure, as they were just beginning life and had but little means, but by perseverance and energy they have succeeded in making for themselves a pleasant home and are now quite independent. They have only one child (a son), Jerry T., now past twenty-one, and is one of the few grown men that were born in this settlement.
America Johnson Skillman's sister Mary H. Johnson Wallick died tragically at age 36, leaving thirteen young children without a mother. The children were sent to live with various relatives, and America took her nine-year-old niece Martha Viola Wallick to raise.1

According to the 1880 census, Martha Viola Wallick at age 18 was still living with the Skillmans, and was working as a servant. As Viola's stepmother and aunt, America Johnson Skillman may well have introduced her to her future husband, Simon Peter Hageman, since his mother was America Johnson Skillman's mother-in-law.

America Johnson, her sister Mary H. Johnson, and Mary's daughter "Viola" Wallick were all direct, double descendants of Daniel Boone's oldest sister Sarah Boone1 and her parents Squire BOONE and Sarah MORGAN. Mary and America's father was Moses C. JOHNSON and their mother was Zerilda WILCOXSON. Zerilda was the daughter of cousins Elijah WILCOXSON (grandson of Sarah BOONE and John WILLCOCKSON) and Charlotte CALLOWAY (great-granddaughter of Sarah Boone and her husband John Willcockson). Charlotte Calloway's grandfather was Benjamin CUTBIRTH, a best friend and fellow long-hunter of Daniel Boone.

From W. W. Cox, History of Seward County , Nebraska, 1888, p.244:43

MRS. JANE SNODGRASS [=Zerilda Wilcoxen, America Johnson's mother],
The mother of Rev. E. W. Johnson, was born Aug. 4, 1812, in North Carolina. She was the daughter of Elijah Wilcoxsen. When she was eighteen her parents moved to Kentucky, from thence to Fulton county, Ill., and located near the present town of Lewistown. Here she married Moses C. Johnson, in 1851 her husband was killed by a runaway team. She was the mother of nine children; two sons and seven daughters. Among these children were Rev. E. W. Johnson; Mrs. Abram Wallich, now deceased, and Mrs. Thomas Skillman. In 1853 she was again married to Mr. James Snodgrass, and by him had one daughter. The old lady died at Seward, Oct. 16, 1874. Her death was caused by injuries received from a fall from the car steps at Seward depot one dark night. She suffered much pain for several months from the injuries. When death came to her relief it found her ready, and she quietly fell asleep in the arms of her Savior.
From Nebraska: the Land and the People: Volume 2, pages 521+522:37
Thomas David Skillman, one of Nebraska's territorial pioneers, son of Randall Skillman and Magdelene Vorhees, was born in Somerset County, near Trenton, New Jersey, on November 1, 1843.

His father died in 1849 and two years later his mother was remarried to William Hageman and the family moved to Fulton County, Illinois.

At the age of about twelve years Thomas was "farmed out" to a man by the name of Davis for his clothes and keep and $12.50 per year. Later this was raised to $25 per year. In the winter months he and Mr. Davis did considerable work in a coal drift, hauling much of the coal to Peoria on bob sleds. He always spoke very kindly of Mr. and Mrs. Davis.

In 1861 he presented himself for enlistment in the Union army and was turned down, being told by the examining physician that he had only one lung and the other was nearly gone, and that he could not possibly live more than a year.

In 1864 he married Miss America Johnson. In the early spring of 1865 this young couple, together with a younger brother, Abraham V. Skillman and three other young couples, Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sampson and Mr. and Mrs. John Durland, left by wagon train for the territory of Nebraska. At this time there was only one log cabin at present site of the City of Lincoln.

The Skillmans selected a piece of land for their future home at a point on Lincoln Creek about a mile north of present Highway No. 11 and two and one-half miles west of the present City of Seward. They spend the winter of 1865 and 1866 on their land thus becoming the first settlers on Lincoln Creek, which by the way had only received its name about March 1, 1864, when W. W. Cox, William and David Imlay were exploring the valley and admiring the beauty of the stream.

Their first home was a dugout, a place dug in the ground about three or four feet and the top part built up with logs cut on the creek. The roof was clap board and sod made by splitting the larger logs. In this home their son Jerry Thomas Skillman was born on September 6, 1866. He thus claimed the distinction of being the first white child to be born on Lincoln Creek.

In the spring of 1866 Mrs. Skillman's brother, an ordained United Brethren minister, Rev. E. W. Johnson and his wife arrived from Illinois and made their home on a piece of land that joined the Skillman's on the south. The first school was taught in the summer of 1868 in a cabin on the Rev. Johnson's place and the first church organization was effected by him at the old Slonecker school house, date unknown. These two families were neighbors for nearly forty years, starting with practically nothing but their homestead right, going through the years of drought and privations and eventually building permanent homes for themselves. Timber and water being a major consideration they settled close to the creek and in later years Mr. Skillman used to tell how on most any day when they first came to Nebraska, he could see antelope grazing on the ridge to the west. There were also deer and a few elk but he never saw a buffalo at that location.

He was a very jolly man of small stature and energetic almost to the point of eccentricity. An idea of his explosive nature might be given from one incident, when after a particular hard siege of drought and grasshopper years when their crops had withered and died or been destroyed by pests and hail and the settlers could barely eke out a livelihood, help was offered them from Illinois (most all of them came from Illinois in this particular locality). A meeting was called at the school house and a list was being prepared, each party designating what they considered they needed most. When Thomas Skillman was asked his needs, he got up, his blue eyes fairly shooting sparks, and pounding the desk to emphasize his words, said: "He didn't need a damn thing, that when he couldn't make a living for his family there in [p. 522] Nebraska he would move back to Illinois." In consequence of this the meeting broke up and none of them sent for a thing.

Until 1873, when the railroad came to Seward, Nebraska City or Plattsmouth, over the Missouri River, a distance of about eighty miles, was their trading post. The round trip could be made in about four days with good luck.

A good many Indians came down Lincoln Creek hunting and trapping. One of Mr. Skillman's first experiences with them was when a small party surrounded him as he was chopping wood along the creek and wanted "tobac". He being a used of the weed, handed his plug to an Indian expecting him to pass it around, but instead he put it in his pocket, thereafter when an Indian wanted "tobac" he cut him off what he wanted to give him. Only once did the Indians ever act hostile and that was when a party of 800 warriors, squaws and papooses, were returning from a fight with the Sioux, and made camp on the creek just northwest of the homestead. They staged a sham battle at that point and several of the settlers, including Mr. Skillman, went to see the camp. In the course of the fight several arrows came real close to them and they left.

One incident Mrs. Skillman always enjoyed telling happened when their son Jerry was quite small. She had sent him down to the spring which served as their pioneer ice box, to bring the butter for a meal. He was gone longer than usual and as she went to the door to look for him, met him on the steps, dripping wet. She threw up her hands and exclaimed, "Land sakes," which was a characteristic gesture and exclamation of hers, "what happened, Jerry?" and Jerry, a sturdy little fellow, answered back, "Ma, I fell in the spring and drowned." As I remember the old spring it started in a crystal clear pool nearly three feet deep.

After the land was surveyed for roads it was found that their dugout was partly in the road. Their next house was a frame one made from logs taken to H. L. Boyes's saw mill over on the Blue River and made into lumber. As late as 1900 I can remember the depression at the side of the road where the dugout was located. In those early times there were many large walnut trees on the creek and E. W. Johnson, who was quite adept with tools, sawed some of the logs into lumber by hand and made them into useful pieces of furniture. An old cupboard that he made is still in the Skillman family.

Mrs. Skillman, who was a devout worker in the United Brethren Church, died on March 1, 1904, of pneumonia. Uncle Tom, as Mr. Skillman was known, then went to live with his son J. T. Skillman, who at that time lived at Pleasanton, Nebraska. He died from the effect of the flu at the J. T. Skillman home of Lexington, Nebraska, on October 23, 1923, lacking only a few days of being eighty years of age.

One other son was born to them, Moses, who died at the age of one month. Jerry T. grew to man hood in the environment of the new country and on June 20, 1889, was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Birney, a teacher in the Seward schools and daughter of another Illinois family. He died of a paralytic stroke at his home near Lexington, June 29, 1931. To this union one child was born, Cleon B. Skillman of Lexington, who married Miss Gertrude Henry of Bloomington, Illinois.

A fitting conclusion to this sketch is the following notation by the grandson, Cleon B. Skillman:

"Occasionally I travel down Highway No. 11, known to the old folks as "the steam wagon road," and I cannot resist turning the corner when I come to the by-road that leads by the old homestead. The fine orchard, the large cotton wood trees, every sign of the buildings, are gone from the old Skillman place, but always I recall some incident of pioneer life, for instance, the time the dugout door blew open in the night and when Mr. Skillman awoke and, slipping out of bed to close it, he was knee deep in snow that had drifted between the door and the fireplace. Then as I go on to the cemetery on the hill, to the lot with the two stones marked, respectively, 'Skillman' and 'Johnson,' a peaceful quiet seems to hover over the place where these pioneers sleep, peacefully, side by side in death, the same as they struggled, worked and lived side by side in life."

C3. David B. SKILLMAN. Born about 1845 in Somerset Co., New Jersey. Immigrated in 1851 to Fulton County, Illinois, with his mother, stepfather William Brown Hageman, two brothers, and one sister.37

C4. Abraham V. SKILLMAN. Born on 11 Sep 184747 in Somerset Co., New Jersey. Immigrated in 1851 to Fulton County, Illinois, with his mother, stepfather William Brown Hageman, two brothers, and one sister.37 Immigrated in 1865 by wagon train to Seward Co., Nebraska from Fulton Co., Illinois with his older brother Thomas David Skillman and three other young couples.37 Abraham V. died in Seward County, Nebraska on 22 Jul 1902; he was 54. 47 Buried in Seward Cemetery, Seward, Seward County, Nebraska.47

Abraham V. married Lucinda MORTON,43,47 daughter of Francis MORTON (1833-) & Drucilla DIVAN.43 Lucinda was born on 24 Oct 1854, probably in Green Co., Wisconsin.43 Lucinda died on 11 Apr 1931; she was 76.47 Buried in Seward Cemetery, Seward County, Nebraska.47

Abraham V. Skillman and Lucinda Morton had the following known children:
C8 i. Cora (Died as Infant) (1873-1874)
C9 ii. Charlie (Died as Infant) (1875-1875)
C10 iii. Gracie (Died as Infant) (1878-1879)
Their headstone in Seward Cemetery, Seward, Seward Co., Nebraska reads:47

[front of headstone:]


Sept. 11, 1847 July 22, 1902
Oct. 24, 1854 Apr. 11, 1931

[back of headstone:]

CORA Oct. 25, 1873 Mar. 1, 1874
CHARLIE Jan.4, 1875 Mar. 7, 1875
GRACIE Nov. 2, 1878 Sept 6, 1879
The following biography of Lucinda Morton's father Francis Morton is from W. W. Cox, History of Seward Co. Nebraska, 1888, p. 264:43

Was born in Vermilion county, Ill., in 1833. His parents moved to Green county, Wisconsin, when Frank was but ten years old. Here he became a playmate of the author of this book. Was raised a farmer boy until he was seventeen years old, when he was taken violently with the gold fever, and in company with many of the neighbors made an overland trip to California, where he remained three years. Saved and brought home some money. Married Miss Drucilla Divan in 1854. Lived in the old neighborhood until their removal to Seward county in 1872, when they settled on a homestead about five miles south-east of Seward. Mr. and Mrs. Morton helped organize the Seventh Day Advent church at Seward. Mr. Morton enlisted in Company D, Wis. Vol., and served until wounded at Cedar Mountain. Was in Banks' famous retreat from Winchester, and had several close calls. Is now a member of Seward post. To Mr. and Mrs. Morton were born ten children, nine now living, as follows: Lucinda, now Mrs. A. Skillman, of Seward; Catherine, now Mrs. Alex Hackworth; Mary, now Mrs. John Hand, of Seward; Urias, now of Wray, Col.; Francis, Jr., of Ruby, Neb.; Thomas, of Wray; Ada, now Mrs. M. Boyes, of Wray; and Charles and Ira, of Ruby.
From W. W. Cox, History of Seward County , Nebraska, 1888, p.189:43

organized a class May 23, 1875, near Ruby station, which was named Seward church. Local elder, Mathew Hackworth,; first deacon, Alexander Hackworth; first secretary, Ella L. Hackworth. Organizing members in addition to the above officers were: Francis Morton, Drucilla Morton, Martha Rider, Alice Rider, Rebecca Hackworth, Abiatha Kennison, and Anginette Morgan. Present membership about twenty. Prominent members that have died are: Abiatha Kennison, who died Jan. 26, 1877; E. D. Hoagland, in 1884. The denomination design to build a house of worship as soon as they feel able to do so. They have an active missionary and tract society of fifteen members; also a Sabbath-school of full fifty scholars, which is in a prosperous condition.
C5. Mary A. SKILLMAN.. Born about 1849 in Somerset Co., New Jersey. Immigrated in 1851 to Fulton County, Illinois, with her mother, stepfather William Brown Hageman, and three brothers.37

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