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History of Madison
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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George N. Skinner, M. D.

Dr. George N. Skinner, successfully engaged in the practice of medicine in Winterset, has won his present prominence and success through ability that is based upon broad reading and conscientious observance of duty, combined with fidelity to the highest ethics of the profession.  He was born in Birmingham, Van Buren county, Iowa, May 28, 1854, a son of John S. and Catherine (Rail) Skinner.  The father was born in New Jersey but was reared in the Empire state and became captain of a canal boat, on which he continued until 1838, when he came west to Iowa at which time the state was under territorial rule.  He located on a claim near Birmingham in Van Buren county, becoming one of the pioneer settlers in that district.  The Indians still visited the neighborhood and wild game of all kinds was plentiful.  In fact, the work of civilization and development seemed scarcely begun, but Mr. Skinner joined with other pioneer residents in converting the wild prairie region into a prosperous county, inhabited by a contented and happy people who were utilizing the natural resources to the best possible advantage.  He performed the arduous task of breaking wild prairie land and upon the farm which he developed he engaged in the cultivation of grain and the raising of stock to the time of his death, which occurred in 1887 when he was seventy-six years of age.  He met with a fair measure of success.

Mr. Skinner held various township offices and he lived an upright, honorable life.  Although not a member of any church, he closely followed the golden rule and he was ever loyal to the teachings of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he held membership.  He could truly be called a self-made man.  At an early age he was left an orphan and he worked his way steadily upward through his ability, close application and well directed energy.  His wife was a native of Pennsylvania, but was reared in New York, where they were married.

On coming to the west, they made their way down the Ohio river on a flatboat and up the Mississippi.  Mrs. Skinner survived her husband until April, 1906, passing away when in her ninetieth year.  She was a member of the Methodist church and she had a family of ten children, of whom three died in infancy.

George N. Skinner was the seventh in order of birth.  He spent his boyhood days upon the home farm and supplemented his early education, acquired in the public schools, by study in Birmingham Academy.  He afterward his attention to the profession of teaching, which he followed for four years in the district schools, but he regarded this profession as merely an initial step to other professional activity.  It was his desire to become a member of the medical fraternity and to that end he entered the Keokuk Medical College, in which he pursued a thorough course.  He afterward located at Truro, where he practiced for five years, and then continued his studies in Drake University, from which he was graduated with the class of 1889.  For a year thereafter he engaged in practice in this county and then went to California, where he spent one year.  In 1892 he returned and settled in Winterset, where he has remained continuously since, covering a period of about twenty-three years.  His ability is widely recognized.  He studies each case thoroughly, is most careful in his diagnosis and sound in his judgment.  Desired results have attended his efforts in the majority of cases and his ability is recognized  not only by the general public but by his professional brethren as well.

On the 27th of August, 1882, Dr. Skinner was united in marriage to Miss Laura L. Rankin, a native of Middletown, Iowa, who was reared at Peru, this state.  They have two children:  Frank R., who was graduated from Drake University on the completion of a course in pharmacy and is now engaged in the drug business in Des Moines;  and Zoe M., who completed a course in the liberal arts department of Drake University with the degrees of Ph. B. and Ed. B. and is now teaching mathematics in the high school at Fort Madison.

Dr. Skinner gives his political allegiance to the democratic party, but does not seek nor desire office.  He has served on the school board, however, for a number of terms and the cause of education has profited by his cooperation in behalf of the public-school system.  He is a member of Lotus Lodge, No. 48, K. P., and he is a pension examiner.  He is also a member of the Madison County Medical Society, the Missouri Valley Medical Society, the Iowa State Medical Association and the American Medical Association.  Through the proceedings of those bodies he keeps in touch with the general trend of thought and progress along the lines of medical and surgical practice and he employs the most scientific methods in his efforts to relieve suffering and restore health.  That he has been largely successful is attested by the liberal patronage which is now accorded him.



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