Thurston J. Skinner

THURSTON J. SKINNER. Of the industries which have been developed in Southeastern Kansas in the past few years, that of raising small fruits and berries has become important. One of the most successful in this line is the gentleman whose name forms the caption of this review. Mr. Skinner lives in a beautiful suburban home near Columbus, embowered in shade trees, and with an ample lawn covered with flowering shrubs of every description. He is a pioneer in the business which he here conducts, having come to the county as a young man with his parents, in 1878. He came here from Noble County, Indiana, which was the place of his birth in 1856.

Mr. Skinner's father was H. H. Skinner, his mother, Julia M. Lisle (Skinner); both now deceased, the former, in 1899, the latter, in 1891. They were respected members of the agricultural class, and both were consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They came to the county with their five sons in 1878, and settled on a farm in Salamanca township, which they continued to cultivate until their decease. The names of the children were,—Harry, who died in 1897; Charles M., a farmer of Salamanca township: E. A., of Monmouth, Crawford County, Kansas; Edward. of Monroe City, Missouri; and Thurston J., the subject of our sketch.

Thurston J. Skinner was reared amid rural scenes in the northern part of the "Hoosier State". His education consisted in what was taught in the ordinary country school. He began life for himself while still in his teens, as clerk in a mercantile establishment, but since coming to Kansas has devoted himself to his present business. He met with success from the first and with each year's added experience, he has become one of the best "truckers" in Southeastern Kansas. In 1890, he leased the farm of 80 acres where he has since resided, and four years later became its owner by purchase. As he prospered, Mr. Skinner has continued to improve this farm, planting fruit and shade trees in large quantity and variety. He has now nearly his entire farm of 80 acres set out in small fruits, vegetables and berries of various kinds, the whole comprising one of the most extensive fruit farms in this section. In addition to his own farm, he rents about 120 acres, which he uses for the same purpose. As an idea of the force required to operate an industry of this kind, it is stated that in the winter, Mr. Skinner employs about a dozen men and in the summer anywhere from 25 to 50. In berry picking time, he has had as many as 300 people actively engaged on the place. The reader will rightly conjecture that Mr. Skinner is a man of splendid business qualifications, of progressive ideas and strictly up-to-date in his methods. He is a most courteous and companionable gentleman, a Presbyterian in religious faith, and a Democrat in his political belief.

Julia Taylor, a daughter of William Taylor, of Salamanca township, became the wife of Mr. Skinner in 1889, and they have a daughter,—Frances Marie,—aged 9 years.

With a beautiful home, a charming wife and a lovely little daughter, with prosperity courting him on every hand, and with the respect and esteem of the whole county it would seem that the subject of this sketch has little need of the fabled Aladdin's lamp, in order that he may find happiness.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 3/11/97.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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