Sunday, February 16, 2014

#52Ancestors Week 7: James P. Skiles

I've made it to the 7th week of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  I've come to realize that I tend to be a lazy blogger and that's something I have to improve on.  I've been avoiding writing about some of my more complicated ancestors because I don't have the documents and other information I need close at hand and since I want to do a thorough job, I'm saving them for a date in the future.  Unfortunately, this means that you all are only getting to read about the ancestors who I know the least about.  Several years ago, I bought a version of Adobe Acrobat with the intention of scanning and organizing all my photocopies and written notes into PDF documents.  Writing about my ancestors makes it painfully obvious to me that I need to quit putting off that project! I have papers everywhere that need to be organized! in the meantime, I'm sharing another lazy blog post on my 3rd g-grandfather, James P. Skiles. James was born about 1815, and he lived his whole life in Pennsylvania, probably in Peters Twp of Washington County where he was found in the census throughout his adult life.  Who were his parents, though?  I keep hoping to be able to connect him to Gideon Skiles and to Gideon's son and grandson, both named Samuel, who seem to be the Skiles family members living closest to James.  Gideon and his descendants are buried at Oak Spring Cemetery in Canonsburg, PA, and there was a short article in the Beers Project at the website mentioning their Skiles family which has been transcribed HERE!

James P. Skiles was a wagonmaker and a blacksmith.  His wife's maiden name was Martha Hair (or perhaps it was spelled Hare).  He was my grandmother's great-grandfather.  He and his family were Presbyterians, and he was buried in the cemetery for Center Presbyterian Church in Peters Twp, and you can click on the photo of his gravestone to look at his Find a Grave memorial. 

James P. Skiles also left a will.  Below is what it said.  I find it interesting that he thought family photographs were important enough to mention specifically and I think that we have that in common!  I'd also be interested in knowing what happened to the pictures of his daughters Mary Anne and Rachel.

Will of James P. Skiles

(Willbook 14, FHL US/CAN Film 1318308)

I James P. Skiles of Thompsonville in the County of Washington and State of Pennsylvania, do _____ and declare my last will and testament to be as follows, viz:  I bequeath to my wife Martha all my household goods, out of which she is to give to my son Ebenezer our bedstead, one featherbed and bedding therefor.

I bequeath to my daughter Rebecca the picture now in her possession of my deceased daughter Mary Anne.

I bequeath to my daughter Martha the picture of my deceased daughter Rachel now in the possession of Wm J. Wallace.

I will that my executor sell and convey in such manner and upon such terms as to him shall seem best, all my real estate and that the proceeds thereof, and of my personal property not specifically bequeathed be applied first in payment of my debts and funeral expenses, and that the residue after payment thereof be invested by him during the life of my wife in National State or Municipal bonds, or on first mortgage or real estate that the net income therefrom be paid to her for and during her life and that at her death the principal be divided among my children then living, or hereunto born of my children who are or shall be dead, Such children to take together such share as their parent would have taken if living.  In case my wife shall elect to claim to have any part of my of my estate set apart to her by virtue of any statute allowing an exemption in her favor she shall take nothing under this will.

In case any legatee under this will shall present any claim against my estate, he or she so claiming shall receive nothing under my will but shall be excluded and not counted in the distribution.

I do hereby appoint Wm. J. Wallace to be my executor of this my last will and testament.

James P. Skiles {L.S.}

Signed sealed and declared in the presence of us in in the presence of each other and at his request this twenty fourth day of July one thousand eight and eighty-three.

George Guinn
H. D. Gilkison

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Washington County S.S.

Be it remembered.  That upon this 5th day of February 1885 before me John F. Cooper, Register for the Probate of Wills and granting Letters of Administration within and for said county came Geo. Guinn and H. D. Gilkeson the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing attached will of James P. Skiles deceased who after being duly qualified according to law depose and say :  That they were present at the execution of said will saw the testator sign the same, heard him publish it as and for his last will and testament; that they at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each other subscribed their names thereto as witnesses.

Sworn and subscribed before
John F. Cooper

George Guinn
H. D. Gilkeson

And now Feb 5, 1885;  It being adjudged that the said will has been duly proved;  it is admitted to probate and letters issued to Wm J. Wallace in said testament named who was qualified by

John F. Cooper


  1. Cherie you do not need to apologize for being lazy with any of these posts. Every one so far has been well done.

    1. Thanks Gary! It's been fun and I've been away from researching for a while so it's been good for me to think about these people again!


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