A Skinner Family Christmas

Skinner Family Christmas, 1953. Photographed in the living room of the family home at Allenville, about 4 miles north of Ray City, GA. (L to R) Front row: Jack Skinner, Pauline Riel, Teresa Hendley, William Skinner, Bettie Skinner, Cathy Skinner, George Skinner, Albert Skinner. Back Row seated: David Jackson Skinner, Nettie Akridge Skinner, Kathleen Skinner Hendley, Hilton Hendley, Archie Hendley. Rear, standing: Charlie Skinner, Eloise Skinner Nash.

Skinner Family Christmas, 1953. Photographed in the living room of the family home at Allenville, about 4 miles north of Ray City, GA. (L to R) Front row:  David Jackson “Jack” Skinner, Jr., Pauline Skinner Riel, Teresa Hendley, William Franklin Skinner, Bettie  Godwin Skinner, Cathy Lynn Skinner, George Thomas Skinner, Albert Jackson Skinner. Back Row seated: David Jackson Skinner, Nettie Akridge Skinner, Kathleen Skinner Hendley, Hilton Hendley, Archie Hendley. Rear, standing: Charlie Howard Skinner, Eloise Skinner Nash.

According to Albert Jackson Skinner’s family history, Geneaology of the David Jackson Skinner Family of Berrien County, Georgia,  David and Nettie Skinner returned to Berrien County about 1928 from Jacksonville, FL where David had been working and saving for three years to buy a farm.  David J. Skinner purchased a 40 acre farm  known as the old Brown place, about two and a half miles southeast of Ray City, GA and moved his family there.  This farm was near the home place of Skinner’s parents, Payton Shelton Skinner and Nancy Hughes, which was located on the Ray City & Lakeland road and right on the Lanier-Berrien county line.

By 1938, David Jackson Skinner needed a larger place to support his growing family. He bought the old Ray place, a four-horse farm of about 256 acres  situated on the tracks of the Georgia & Florida railroad about four miles north of Ray City, GA in the Allenville community.  This property had been owned by John M. Futch until 1898 and consisted of 101 acres of Land Lot 315 and 155 acres of Land Lot 316, 10th Land District.  The farm came with a house, three tenant dwellings, and a large tobacco allotment.  David and Nettie Skinner resided on this farm the rest of their lives, raising eight children and celebrating many Christmases.

David Jackson Skinner home near Ray City, GA

Home of Nettie Akridge and David Jackson Skinner  at Allenville near Ray City, GA

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More on the late Mr. and Mrs. Hughes

H.D. O’quinn, a citizen of Berrien County who in 1881 came from Clinch County,   had been a neighbor of William and Ellen Hughes, subject of recent posts ( The Bloody Story: 1889 Murder of the Hughes Family in Clinch County, Two Men Hanged in Clinch County). The widow Ellen “Nellie” Sellers Rice and the widower William Hughes were married in Clinch County, GA about 1874.  Following the brutal double axe murder of the Hughes in 1889, H.D. O’quinn wrote a condolence in the Valdosta Times. He reflected upon “an unusual coincidence” between the Hughes family and the Rice family.  Not only were William Hughes and Nellie Rice wed, but there were four unions between their sons and daughters.

William Hughes m. Nellie Rice, 1874
James H. Hughes m. Phoebe Rice, 12 Jan 1871
John Jasper Hughes m. Lucretia “Crecy” Rice, 15 Jul 1874
Frances Hughes m. Artemus Rice, 15 Jul 1874
Francis Marion Hughes m. Jane Rice, 187?

  Later descendants of Ellen “Nellie” Sellers Rice and William Hughes , including granddaughters Creasy Brown and Nancy Hughes, would come to live at Ray City, GA.

hughes-murder-1889The Late Mr. and Mrs. Hughes HUMMING, Ga., Nov. 18th, 1889.    Alas! Alas! How sad I feel while thinking of that awful outrage. My heart is sorely pained within me.  The tenderest sympathies of my heart is enlisted in behalf of their many children, grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.  In 1865 I moved to Clinch county and lived a near neighbor to Mr. Hughes until I moved to Berrien county some eight years ago. A better neighbor I have never known.  In all the relations of life he was upright, truthful, honest, industrious, economical, accommodating, kind, and benevolent, an still better, religious, being a leading member of high standing with the Primitive Baptists.  Some few years after our first acquaintance Mr. Hughes lost his first wife, with whom I was not well acquainted, but have heard she was a good woman, and no better proof of that could be given than the good qualities of her numerous family of children she left behind.  After a few years of widowhood Mr. Hughes married Mrs. Nellie Rice, relict of Mr. Guess Rice, who lost his life in the late war.  All that has been said above can as truly be said of his late companion.  They lived together many years in prosperity, peace, harmony and mutual affection, and in death were not divided, being barbarously slain by assassins solely for the purpose of robbery, for I have not  the remotest idea that they ever had an enemy. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes each had large families of children when they were married. An unusual coincidence occurred between the two families. On account of their industrious, economical, moral habits and many other good qualities, a reciprocal, mutual attachment seemed to spring up between them.  Before Mr. and Mrs. Hughes  were married James Hughes and Phoebe Rice, their oldest son and daughter, were married. After the old folks married they brought all their children to live together.  It was not long before  Jasper Hughes and Theresa Rice, and Artemus Rice and Frankie Hughes were married at the same time. Afterwards Marion Hughes and Jane Rice were married at home also.     Again and again would I tender my most sincere condolences to the sorely bereaved ones that are left here in these low grounds of sin, sorrow and death to mourn over the tragic end of their dearly loved parents and their irreparable earthly loss. Yet we trust they m ay realize consolation in looking through the dark clouds of sorrow and see a silver lining, assuring them that those for whom they mourn are freed from sickness and sorrow, pain and death are are secure in that land of everlasting security and eternal repose. O, may we all meet them safely there. 

H. D. O’quinn