Skinner, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Skinner

Submitted by Mrs. Myrtle (Davidson) Mead

Beautiful Porter County has been my home all of my life. Now I am a senior citizen and will briefly relate some of it and my background.

It began with my birth in Valparaiso, January of the year 1894. Several weeks later my parents returned to their farm near Wahob Lake. By the time I became school age they sold the farm and moved back into Valparaiso. In the fall of 1901 I started first grade at the old school on Franklin Avenue, where the Central School is now located. I was transferred to Gardner School while the old school building was razed and the new Central School was being constructed. When I finished the elementary grades at Gardner School I attended the new Central School for seventh and eighth grades, also High School.

There were many pleasant memories of that growing up time. Valparaiso was a beautiful, quiet, and friendly town there was an abundance of "Love thy Neighbor" everywhere. We enjoyed visits to our relatives who lived on farms around the county. I recall picnics of Sunday School, and other groups at Flint Lake. Flint Lake was then a resort area with three beaches for swimming and boating. Each had a park with beautiful shade trees, swings, and benches beside picnic tables, where a very pleasant day was enjoyed. We traveled there via horse drawn vehicles until the interurban railroad was constructed from Valparaiso north on Road 49 to Flint Lake, then around it and the small lakes beyond and curved westward to Gary, then a very new city.

We got our news through the newspapers, there were no radios or T.V. 's. The first serious news I recall was the shooting of President McKinley and a few years later the San Francisco earthquake.

I am the widow of the late Roscoe Burns Mead, who was also a lifetime resident of Porter County. After our marriage we lived on a farm in Liberty Township which belonged to his father, Joseph H. Mead. During World War I a group of the neighborhood ladies met at my house once a week to sew convalescent gowns for the soldiers. After the war we moved into Valparaiso where our three sons, Maurice, Roger, and Joseph, along with our four daughters, Helen, Marcile, Leoramae, and Joan, attended Valparaiso Schools. Two sons and two daughters are now living in Valparaiso and Center Township. Seven of my eleven grandsons and two granddaughters have graduated from Valparaiso High School since 1957.

My parents -- Herbert Merrick and Melna Leora (Skinner) Davidson were both born in Liberty Township in the early 1870's on the farms their fathers had owned before the Civil War. They received their early schooling at the old Phares one room school at the intersection of what is now Meridian Road and County Road 700 North.

My great-grandparents -- Asa and Electa (Mason) Skinner, brought their family to Porter County, via covered wagon, from New York State to reside here in the late 1830's. Their son, my grandfather, Truman H. Skinner, was a farmer but others of that family were more concerned with the civic affairs of Porter County and Valparaiso. One sister, Pauline Skinner, was the wife of the first elected mayor of Valparaiso, Thomas J. Merrifield. A brother, John N. Skinner, was the third mayor. We are told that their mother was the first woman to be buried in the old cemetery on Union Street. It is the final resting place of several others of that family.

After visiting many places, I always return to have more appreciation of my Porter County home.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 163

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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