Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

WILLIAM WESLEY SKELLEY. The time has arrived when intensive and diversified farming is necessary for conditions have changed since the former generation. We must now look more to soil fertility, grow better and more livestock, each farmer must do more work himself and hire less. The farmers and editors and statesmen who at one time insisted that American intelligence, Yankee thrift and ingenuity needed no protection have come to discover something different. In the language of the late Grover Cleveland, "It is a condition which confronts us—not a theory." One of the intelligent young farmers of Franklin township, Greene county, who realizes that he must employ different methods in his vocation to those employed a quarter or a half century ago is William Wesley Skelley, and he is therefore making a success in his chosen work.

Mr. Skelley was born September 17, 1876, in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. He is a son of Theodore A. and Mary Elizabeth (Smith) Skelley. The father was born in the same county and, state as our subject April 30, 1840, and there also occurred the birth of the mother of our subject. They grew to maturity in their native locality, were, educated in the schools of the early days and married there and established the family home. Theodore A. Skelley devoted his active life to farming and was also a wagon maker by trade which he followed in his native state, working for some time in the railroad shops at Altoona, Pennsylvania, in fact, followed his trade for a period of eighteen years. He was highly skilled and always found ready employment. He removed with his family to Greene county, Missouri, in 1884, when our subject was eight years old, and here he purchased a farm of one hundred and seventy acres in Franklin township, known as the "Cedar Bluff Farm." It was well improved and had a good group of buildings on it. Here he carried on general farming successfully, being a hard worker and a good manager, and was highly respected by his neighbors, being a good man in every sense of the word. He was a member of the Methodist church at New Salem in which he was steward for several years. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company G, Two Hundred and Second Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, at Harrisburg, that state, August 20, 1864, and served in a faithful manner until the close of the war, being mustered out as corporal, August 3, 1865, at Harrisburg, and was honorably discharged. He was in the army of the Potomac, but did mostly guard duty and was not in any of the great battles, but was in several skirmishes, his principal work was in guarding railroads in Virginia. Previous to his enlistment he had been in the employ of the government as mechanic, teamster, etc.

The death of Theodore A. Skelley occurred on his farm in Greene county, October 3, 1912, at the age of seventy years. His widow survives and remains on the homestead. To these parents five children were born, named as follows: Edward lives in Atchison, Kansas; Etta is deceased; Mrs. Ada Stokes, wife of George J. Stokes, lives at Ebenezer, Greene county; William W. of this review; Mrs. Mollie Hall, wife of Jesse R. Hall, lives near Gladville, Greene county.

The early boyhood of William W. Skelley was spent in Pennsylvania, but he grew to manhood on the home farm in Greene county where he worked during the summer months and in the winter time attended the common schools. He has remained on the home farm, which he is still operating in a highly successful manner, raising much grain and large numbers of livestock annually.

Mr. Skelley was married December 24, 1902, to Lenora Stokes, who was born December 27, 1882, a daughter of Thomas Layson Stokes and Martha Ann (Vaughn) Stokes, the former a native of Greene county and the latter of Tennessee. He was born February 2, 1836, and died in 1898, and she was born March 22, 1838, and died March 1, 1889. Mrs. Stokes came to Greene county when a child with her parents and here she spent the rest of her life. Mr. Stokes spent his life engaged in blacksmithing and general farming on the homestead in Franklin township, just west of the Skelley farm; however, he removed to Willard ten years prior to his death, where he maintained a blacksmith shop, having learned the trade when young. He also followed his trade in connection with farming in Franklin township. He was regarded as one of the best blacksmiths in the county and many of his customers came from long distances. Fraternally, he belonged to the Masonic order at Ebenezer. Politically, he was a Republican.

To Thomas Stokes and wife thirteen children were born, namely: Mary is deceased; Mrs. Sarah Frances Roan; Gatley is deceased; Cordelia is deceased; Jasen H. is deceased; John R. lives at Pearl, Greene county; George lives at Ebenezer; Mrs. Dona Dysert lives at Hickory Barrens, this county; Charles lives in California; Mrs. Lotty Skelley lives in Atchison, Kansas; Lucy is deceased; Mrs. Lorettie Chisler is deceased; Otterson is deceased, and Lenora, wife of our subject, who was six years old when her mother died.

Mrs. Skelley grew to womanhood in Greene county and was educated in the public schools. She has borne her husband four children, Lee, born November 1, 1903; Helen, born May 24, 1905; Loyd, born November 20, 1909, and Anna, born April 11, 1908, died August 6, 1909.

Politically, Mr. Skelley is a Democrat, and he and his wife are members of the Methodist church at New Salem, and they are both well liked throughout the community.


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