Skipper family descendants of South Alabama are of English Ancestry

Published 3:49 pm Friday, December 18, 2020

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This writer learned recently that County Singer Hank Williams had Skipper ancestry. His ancestors resided in the Georgiana area of Butler County, Ala., and that is the site of the Hank Williams Museum. In today’s story, his early Skipper ancestry will be explored.

The earliest ancestor identified on by this writer is John Skipper, a native of Norfolk, England. He was born there in 1640 and immigrated to America a few years before 1685. He was married to Mary Ann Shipper (1657-1730), and both are listed as dying in 1730 in South Carolina. They were the parents of a son named George Skipper who was born in 1685 in England and died in 1750 in South Carolina. In 1720, he was married to Mary Bailey (1705-1788). 

George and Mary were the parents of Barnabas “Barney” Skipper. Barney was born in 1735 in Craven County, N.C., and he died in 1825 in Marlboro, S.C. In 1754, he was married to Rachel Smith who was born in 1738 in Bertie, N.C. She died in 1790 in Bertie, N.C., many years before Barney. They were the parents of a son named Abraham A. Skipper who was born in 1755 and died in 1819. Abraham was married to Mary Jane Potter (1762-1846), daughter of Miles Potter (1732-1798) and Elizabeth Bosher (1728-1765). Mary Jane was born in 1762 in Brunswick County, N.C. and died in 1829 in the same county. (Another source gave her death date as 1846.)

Although there were a few discrepancies, it appears Abraham and Mary Jane were the parents of a son named John Wiley Skipper; however, in a few records the middle name is listed as Wesley. John Wiley was born in 1810 in Brunswick County, N.C. He was married in 1827 to his first wife, Dameris (Demeris) Elizabeth “Lucy” Leonard (1812-1886). In 1840, John Wiley was listed as head of a household and farming in Brunswick County with wife and three children. The family migrated soon after this to South Alabama. They are shown in Barbour County, Ala., in 1850 and Clarke County in 1860, which they made their final residence. 

John Wiley and Lucy Skipper were the parents of the following children: John Washington, b. 1828, d. 1890; Sophia Willie, b. 1830, d. 1900; Nathaniel George “Nathan,” b. 1834, d. 1885, m. (1) 1859 Rebecca Louise Morgan (2) Martha C. Dean; Sadie Ann Elizabeth, b. 1836, d. 1902, m. George W. Smith; Jacob A., b. 1838, d. 1864 during W.B.T.S.; Thomas Gage, b. 1839, d. 1920; Anna Amelia, b. 1842, d. 1860; Mary Jane, b. 1843, d. 1910; George Dallas, b. 1849, d. 1893; Henrietta Demaris, b. 1854, d. 1923, m. William M.C. Guy; and Nancy Alice, b. 1856, d. 1917, m. ? Guy.

John Wiley’s oldest son, John Washington Skipper, was born in 1828 in North Carolina. He married Martha “Marthy” Jane Stanford (1834-1914), and they were the parents of the following children: Rev. Virgil D., b. 1853, d. 1919, m. Martha S. Skipper (It is not known if this is her maiden name, and other records list two additional wives, Nettie and Emma M.); William A., b. 1854, d. 1937, m. Emily Alice Wilson (1867-1903); John Quincy, b. 1856, d. 1940, m. Ellen Josephine Morse (1854-1921); Christopher Columbus, b. 1857, d. 1942, m. Mary Ann Henry (1859-1930); and Caroline, b. 1861, d. 1919. Most of these children moved on to Mississippi or Texas.

John Wiley’s oldest daughter, Sophia Willie Skipper, was born in 1830. She married Charles F. “Cary” Windham (1833-1896) son of William and Abigail Windham. They were the parents of the following children: John William, b. 1850, d. 1932, m. Lola May McDaniel; James F., b. 1854, m. Sarah J. Bryant; Harmon H., b. 1860, d. ca 1913, m. 1876 Matilda Callie Barfield (1865-1915); Mary L., b. 1866, d. 1946; Arabella Willie, b. 1868, d. 1899, m. 1889 Julius Alexander Dry (1863-1946); Ella Mae, b. 1870, d. 1932, m. (1) Mark C. Mitchell (1865-1902) (2) George Mathis Adcock (1868-1931); Martha “Mattie,” b. 1872, d. 1954, m. Warren Martin Holifield (1868-1915); Minnie Ann, b. 1874, d. 1958, m. Rev. William H. Mitchell (1860-1935); and Audy, b. 1878, d. 1895.

The second oldest son, Nathaniel George Skipper, was born in North Carolina before the family migrated to Alabama. He was first married in 1859 to Rebecca Louise Morgan (1835-1870), daughter of John W. Morgan and Melinda Brown. They were the parents of the following children: John B., b. 1859, d. 1926, m. 1879 Susan Abigail Dean; James Nathaniel, b. 1861, d. 1935, m. Susan Abigail “Abi” Dean; Mary, b. 1865; Frances, b. 1869. d. 1929, m. John H.T. Stokes; and George R., b. 1870. d. 1925, m. Mary Frances “Mollie” Thames. 

Since Rebecca died in 1870, Nathaniel was then married in 1873 to Martha C. Dean (1838-1910), daughter of Mastin or Martin Dean and Eliza Piggott. They became the parents of the following children: Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie,” b. 1873, d. 1939, m. Andrew Jackson Kendrick (1873-1926); Eliza, b. 1875, d. aft. 1900; Thomas Leonard, b. 1878, d. 1961, m. Helen Jones (1881-1927); Lula Virginia, b. 1879, d. 1947, m. J.C. Skipper; William Franklin, b. 1882, d. 1946, m. Rachael Virginia Edeker (1874-1966); and Oscar Lee, b. 1888, d. 1950, m. Lennie Agnes Godwin. (However, Oscar Lee is sometimes identified as the son of Robert Wilbur Skipper. Also, Lula Virginia is sometime lister as a Mathews, so these questions are not clear.)

John Wiley’s second daughter, Sadie Ann Elizabeth Skipper, was born in 1836 and was married first in 1857 to George W. Smith (1829-1863). George served in the Confederate Army as a private in Company D, 32nd Alabama Infantry Regiment and became a casualty during the W.B.T.S. Before his death, he and Sadie had two sons: John L, b. 1858, d. 1936; and George Edward, b. 1850, d. 1926. After George’s death, Sadie married in 1864 John Lee Smith (1826-1896), son of Edward Smith and Naomi Ford, and they had a son, William Alexander, b. 1865, d. 1882. 

Unfortunately, genealogical data were not available to this writer on John Wiley Skipper’s other children’s families, therefore some of the families of the above son, Nathaniel George Skipper, will be outlined. His oldest child by his second wife, Martha C. Dean, Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Skipper, was born in 1873 and was later married in 1893 to Andrew J. Kendrick. They were the parents of the following children: Earnest, b. 1896-1961; Mae Belle, b. 1900, d. 1959; Rosalier, b. 1901, d. 1971; James Lee, b. 1904, d. 1994; John C., b. 1907, d. 1994; Mallory, b. 1908; Ora Mae, b. 1909, d. 1991; Woodrow R., b. 1913, d. 2004; and David Nathaniel, b. 1914, d. 1929. (There may be some slight differences in the years of birth and death.)

Nathaniel George’s oldest son, Thomas Leonard Skipper, was born in 1874 in Conecuh County and died in 1961 in Monroe County. He was married in 1902 to Helen Jones (1881-1927). They were the parents of four children: Ruby E., b. 1905; Minnie Lee, b. 1907, d. 1972, m. Travis Houston Colvin (1912-1954); Robert Leonard, b. 1909, d. 1973, m. Mabel Gertrude Riley (1908-2000); and Aurelia, b. 1912, d. 1994, m. Emmitt Wright (1902-1975).

Nathaniel George’s younger son, William Franklin Skipper, was born in 1882 in Georgiana and died in 1946 in Excel. During most of his life he worked as a farmer in Monroe County. He married Rachael Virginia Edeker (1874-1966). They were the parents of 10 children: Ruth Viola, b. ca 1899, d. 1930, m. 1912 Curtis McGraw; Janie Bell, b. 1902, d. 1990, m. Dennis Hobson Shehan (1901-1952); Leonard, b. 1905, d. 1962; Elma, b. 1907; Elmer Crawford, b. 1907, d. 1974, m. Sarah E. (1910-2001); Emory Edward, b. 1908, d. 1962; John Leslie, b. ca 1912, d. 1979, m. Aurelia B. (1918-2002); Gertrude Lydia, b. ca 1914; Hunter W., b. 1916, d. 1999, m. 1945 Ruby Faye Godwin; and Mavis C.

Nathaniel George’s oldest son by his first wife, Rebecca Louisa Morgan, John B. Skipper, will be covered in next week’s story.

The sources for today’s column included and family records of Margaret Gaston.

Anyone who finds an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: