Skinner family reunites after 30 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 26, 2002

Special to the News-Herald

It was June 22, the warm, humid, hazy dawn was the beginning of an ordinary summer day in the Tidewater area. But, this was a special day, for the occasion was the Skinner reunion that was scheduled at the appropriately named &uot;Family Affair&uot; lodging and social-hall facilities located down a short lane in Suffolk, off Jackson road. This was where all of this family grew up and lived close by so many years ago, and some still do!

The overnight guests had begun to stir and early arrivals joined in the preparations. This occasion was the summons of a reunion of all descendants of Charles Claude and Virginia Woodard Skinner of Nansemond County. They are buried in Liberty Springs United Christian Church Cemetery. The property where Liberty Spring Christian Church and the cemetery is now, was owned by the Woodards, Virginia Woodard Skinner’s parents. I, Beverly Skinner, grew up at Liberty Spring Church, and I am still a member.

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The previous family reunion was held 30 years ago at John Baker’s home in Surry, so the calling was wide and great. They gathered from Dallas, Boston, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and all sections of Virginia. One family line of attendees traveled more than 4,700 driving miles round-trip. At the end of the day more than 100 had attended with five generations accounted for. The eldest attendee now 93 years is the only living first generation child, Inez Virginia Skinner (Mrs. Herbert Johnson) Norfolk.

Claude and Virginia Skinner had nine children from 1896 and 1909, starting in 1896 with Clarence Skinner, Lelia Skinner Gerbie, Sallye Skinner Taylor, Blanche Skinner Baker, Annie Mae Skinner Harcum, Emmette Charlie Skinner, William Skinner, Florence Skinner Moore, and ending with Inez Skinner Johnson in 1909, the only remaining sibling of six girls and three boys.

Today, 106 years later, there are 19 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, 60 great-great-grandchildren: three great-great-great-grandchildren.

Special efforts for this special occasion were provided by nearby family members (grandchildren): Beverly Skinner and John Smeltzer of Virginia Beach; daughter of Emmette and Lill Skinner; June Moore Holland of Suffolk, daughter of Florence Skinner Moore; John and Diane Baker of Surry, son of Blanche Skinner Baker; Betty Lee & Bob Brown of Norfolk, daughter of Inez Skinner Johnson, the remaining sibling.

At the end of the reunion with tears in all eyes and a slow wave of so long for now, it was unanimously agreed to not wait 30 years for the next reunion, hopefully, occurring in three to five years, if not sooner.