Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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SKINNER, Richard, jurist, born in Litchfield, Connecticut, 30 May, 1778" died in Manchester, Vermont, 23 May, 1833. He was educated at Litchfield law-school, admitted to the bar in 1800, and in that year removed to Manchester, Vermont, where he was elected state's attorney for Bennington county in 1801, and probate judge in 1806. He was a member of congress in 1813-'15, and in 1817 became justice of the state supreme court, of which he had been an associate since 1816. He was speaker of the lower house of the legislature in 1818, governor of the state in 1820-'4, and again chief justice in 1824-'9. He was an officer of various local benevolent associations, president of the northeastern branch of the American education society, and a trustee of Middlebury college, from which he received the degree of LL. D. in 1817.--His only son, Mark, born in Manchester, Vermont, 13 September, 1813; died there, 16 September, 1887, was graduated at Middlebury in 1833, and studied law at Saratoga Springs, Albany, and New Haven. He settled at Chicago in 1836, was elected city attorney in 1839, appointed United States district attorney for Illinois in 1844, and chosen to the legislature in 1846. He became judge of Cook county court of common pleas in 1851. In 1842 he was made school-inspector for Chicago, and gave much time and labor to the cause of education. The city in 1859 honored his services by naming its new school-building "the Skinner school." He was president of the Illinois general hospital of the lake in 1852, of the Chicago home for the friendless in 1860, first president of the Chicago reform-school, one of the founders and patrons of the Chicago historical society, a founder of the New England society of Chicago, and delivered an address before it in 1848, entitled "A Vindication of the Character of the Pilgrim Fathers" (1849). He was an elder in the Presbyterian church, and a liberal contributor to all church charities. Judge Skinner was chairman of the meeting in November, 1846, to make arrangements for the river and harbor convention of 1847, and was a delegate to that convention. He took an active part in building the Galena and Chicago railroad, and was for years one of its directors, and a director in the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy railroad. He was originally a Democrat, one of the founders of the Anti-Nebraska party in 1854, and a member of the Republican party from its organization in 1856. In October, 1861, he was elected president of the Northwestern sanitary commission, and he continued such until 1864. Judge Skinner owned a large and valuable library, comprising a full collection of books relating to America. This was burned in 1871, and since that time he has more than duplicated his former collections. See a memoir by E. W. Blatchford, published by the Chicago historical society (1888).
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