HENRY W. SKINNER. Several enviable distinctions attract themselves to the name Henry W. Skinner of Medicine Lodge, but one of especial interest at the present time is the fact that he is one of the largest land owners of the state, and when it comes to the producion[sic] of livestock there are few individuals in any state who turn out bigger numbers to the market every year than Mr. Skinner. For instance, in the winter of 1918-19 he had 12,000 head of cattle wintering on his ranches.
Mr. Skinner has been the creative genius in evolving these great enterprises and resources which he so successfully handles. He comes of a pioneer Kansas family and was born in Nemaha County April 17, 1871. His paternal ancestors were colonial settlers in New York, coming originally from England. His father, J. L. Skinner, was born in Michigan in 1833, grew up in Indiana, followed farming there, and in 1866 established a new home in Nemaha County, Kansas. He homesteaded eighty acres and lived on it steadily until 1897, having in the meantime increased his holdings to a quarter section. He was quite well to do and a man of the highest honor and integrity. He lived retired at Centralia, Kansas, for a number of years and died there in March, 1917. He was a republican, was a member of the Church of God and was a charter member of Centralia Lodge, Ancient Order United Workmen. He also had a record of service as a Union soldier during the Civil war. J. L. Skinner married Miss Effie Bailey, who was born in Noble County, Indiana, in 1838, and lived there until her marriage. She is now past eighty years of age and resides at Centralia. Her children are: J. F. Skinner, who lives at Medicine Lodge and is manager of the elevator and flour mill for his brothers, and is a part owner in the flour mill; J. J., a Methodist minister living at Thayer, Kansas, and Henry W. Henry W. Skinner has several half brothers and half sisters by his father's first marriage. The oldest, Welley, lives in Nebraska, widow of John Kilmer, who is a farmer. Eva is the wife of William McCutcheon, a retired resident of Washington State. Belle, who lives at Washington, Kansas, is the widow of Samuel T. Jacobs, who for thirty-five years was a station agent with the Missouri Pacific Railway Company. W. D. is a retired farmer at Washington, Kansas, while Anna is the wife of John Mager, foreman in a sawmilling company in the State of Washington.
Henry W. Skinner had a good, wholesome farm and rural environment and training as a youth. He acquired his early education in the public schools of Centralia, graduating from high school in 1889. Then for a time he did farming and dealt in live stock, and in 1892 completed the commercial course of Baker University. The following year he spent as a farmer in Nemaha County, and in 1893 acquired a partnership interest in the Standard Grain Company of Kansas City, Missouri, and had charge of the elevator at Ames, Kansas, until he sold out in the fall of the same year. This elevator at Ames was at that time the largest in the state. His interests then took him to Nortonville, Kansas, where for eight years he had a grain elevator and dealt extensively in live stock.
Mr. Skinner acquired his first ranching interests in Barber County in 1901, and in the following year moved to his ranch west of Lake City. He had his home on the ranch until the fall of 1905, and since then has lived at Medicine Lodge, from which point he directs his extensive operations in many lines. He owns the local elevator along the Santa Fe tracks and his flouring mill at Medicine Lodge has a capacity of 200 barrels a day. His land holdings in Barber County are divided into six ranches. What gives him his prestige as a Kansas land owner is the fact of his ownership of 37,000 acres. Of this 6,000 acres are under complete and systematic cultivation.
At the same time he has acquired many other property and business interests, including his modern home and also the new bank and office building on Main Street, which was recently completed and is the finest business and banking house in Barber County. Mr. Skinner helped organize the Home State Bank of Medicine Lodge in June, 1918, and is its president, H. D. Fair being vice president, R. L. Groendycke being cashier, and Alice Rudolph assistant cashier. This bank is capitalized at $60,000, being the largest capital enjoyed by any bank in Barber County. Mr. Skinner is also a stockholder in the Lake State Bank, in the Sharon Valley Bank, in the Ranchman's State Bank of Wichita, and the Ranchman's Trust Company of Wichita. He is a director and stockholder in the Thomas Ruddy Packing Company of Kansas City, Missouri.
Obviously these various interests make Mr. Skinner a most busy man, and yet he has never neglected the call of duty in his locality. He has served as mayor of Medicine Lodge, is a trustee and active member of the Presbyterian Church, a republican in politics, and in Masonry is affiliated with Delta Lodge, Cypress Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite. He also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America at Nelsonville, Kansas.
In 1897 at Nortonville Mr. Skinner married Miss Lula M. Anderson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George T. Anderson, the latter now deceased. The father is a retired stone mason and lives with Mr. and Mrs. Skinner. The latter have three children. Donald W. graduated from the Medicine Lodge High School and Baker University and is now following in the footsteps of his father as a progressive rancher and stock raiser, with his home at Lake City, Kansas. Morrice B., born in 1903, is in the eighth grade of the public schools at Medicine Lodge. The youngest child, Henry, died when only two years old.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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