Monday, August 21, 2017

The Obituary of Sarah (Osborne) Skinner, 1848, Nova Scotia

From the Christian Messenger, Friday 14 April 1848, pages 116a and 117.  This was a Baptist newsletter in Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Mrs. Sarah Skinner was the daughter of the late Mr. Samuel Osborne.  Both Mr. And Mrs. S. were born in Martha’s Vineyard, U. S. where they were married.  They removed, thence to Casco bay Maine, from thence to N. B. and finally to N. S.
                Sarah, their daughter, and the subject of this notice, was born on the 22nd July 1760 and was sprinkled in her infancy, as were the rest of the children.  Their mother instructed them in the belief and practice of the Pedobaptists, - and exercised over their morals watchful care – taught them to repeat prayers and read their Bibles, &c.  Sarah’s mind was seriously exercised from childhood about her soul’s interests and at twelve years of age her concern became more pungent, and notwithstanding, her having been early instructed, that having been dedicated to God, and be properly termed, truly religious instructions, calculated to impress her mind with the necessity of a divine change, and lead her to the right source and practice, irrespective of the Spirit of God and His Word, were very limited.  When about nineteen years of age, she heard a sermon preached by Henry Allen, who was a Pedobaptist Congregational Minister, and all the churches formed thro’ his instrumentality were of that order, consequently she did not make a public profession of religion until she was bout forty six years of age.  About this time there was a Close Communion Calvinistic Baptist Church organized in Cornwallis by Elder Case, from Maine, consisting of only seven members who separated from what was then called the Open Communion Church, consisting of Baptists and Pedobaptists, over which Elder Edward Manning was Pastor, but who was subsequently immersed by the late Rev. T. H. Chipman, and re-ordained by Elder Case, as the Pastor of the newly organized church.  This being the first Baptist church ever formed in Cornwallis, which Mrs. Skinner untied with, and remained a consistent member until her demise.  It may be truly said that but few persons in life were more rooted and grounded in the truths of the Bible, more circumspect in her deportment, and possessed stronger faith during the whole course of her religious life – and notwithstanding the various conflicts she was called to pass thro’, it bing her lot in the Providence of God, to be what the world is wont to call poor, yet she was rich in faith, and an heir of the Kingdom of God, and in much patience possessed her soul, -- was always cheerful and resigned, and possessed abiding reliance in the strong arm of Jehovah – and a confident assurance of a blessed immortality, knowing that her hope rested alone on the merits of Christ’s death.  She was familiar with her Bible, enjoyed much communion with her Saviour, and always delighting in the Gospel. She loved the house of God, and the communion and fellowship of the saints.  Her life was one continued example of piety – she had, it is true, her inbred corruptions to content with and lament, yet her faith in Christ’s blood triumphed over them.  For a number of years after her husband’s death, she resided with her brother in law, the late W. A. Chipman, Esq.  They highly appreciated her company, but she preferred living with her children during the latter part of her life.  She retained the use of her faculties remarkably in old age, her memory was good – the choice sayings contained in the book of God were always her support, and with much emphasis would she relate them, her mind being richly stored with them.  For a number of years before her demise she was unable to go to the house of God, but when sermons were preached in the house where she resided, she would greatly rejoice in the truth.  She would often repeat appropriate hymns to her state of mind and with pious emotions; and looking forward with joyful expectation of entering into the full enjoyment of that rest that remains for the saints of God.
                One circumstance among many that might be named as interesting might be adverted to.  At one time she was tempted to believe that there was no Heaven.  The thought exceedingly distressed her, and she immediately retired and threw herself prostrate on the ground, and begged of God to relieve her mind.  She returned to the house in agony, and fled to her Bible, and when she opened it the following words from Isaiah met her view “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, &c”  instantly all her doubts were removed, and she then resolved in future when any similar suggestion came to her mind that would reject it and this proved a source of great comfort and safeguard to her through her life.  About two years before her demise she took a severe cold which settled in her limbs and rendered her incapable of walking – yet she could sit up through the day – but for the last year she was principally confined to her bed, but always patient and cheerful, -- and her whole theme was the subject of religion.  She gradually declined, and finally when the closing scene drew near, she was like one looking for and hastening unto the day of God.  Death was no terror to her, she could triumph over it.  She knew that her Redeemer liveth, and that his promises would never fail.  How oft would she repeat the saying of our blessed Lord, “In my Father’s house are many mansions &c.”, she had no doubt that there was one for her and that she should soon enter there.  She retained her senses until the last.  Tuesday, before she expired the writer of this sketch saw her, found her dying, but still capable of speaking so as to understood.  In answer to questions proposed to her, she relied that she knew she was dying—that her hope of heaven was strong—She had no fears – all was well.  Being asked if she wished him to pray with her, she replied “Yes!  Prayer is sweet.”  After prayer she said “Amen,” in token of her approbation.  She finally fell asleep in Jesus on the 15th January 1848, in the 88th year of her age.  Her death was improved by a sermon preached by the Rev. A. Stronach.
                She was married at the age of sixteen to Mr. Charles Skinner, in N. B. who was a native of Connecticut.  She had by him eight sons and seven daughters, all of whom have been married except on daughter and one son who died when in his eighth year. Most of her children have publicly professed religion, and for the others she was not without hope.  She had one hundred and thirteen grandchildren, forty-seven of whom have professed religion, and all except two are Baptists.  Upwards of sixty great grand children, a number of whom have also professed religion.  There are four Baptist Ministers connected with her family.  One her own sons, Pastor of a Baptist Church in N. B., Elders Ed. Manning, Cornwallis, and Geo. Dimock, Newport, N. S., who married her daughter, and Rev. I. E. Bill, of Nictaux, who married her grand daughter.  – Communicated by Rev. W. Chipman.
                Pleasant Valley, March 29th, ‘48


Sarah Osborne Skinner was my 5th great grandmother.  She was the daughter of  Samuel Osborn and Sarah Wass, residents of the island of Martha's Vineyard who removed to New Brunswick, Canada.   She was born 22 July 1760 in Fredricton, New Brunswick, and died 15 January 1848 in Pleasant Valley, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia.

At age sixteen Sarah married Charles Skinner on 24 November 1774 in Passamoquoddy, New Brunswick.   They had fifteen children, including my 4th great grandmother, Ann Skinner (1786 - 1815) who married Thomas Ratchford Lyons.  Ann's daughter, Isabella Lyons (1806 - 1872), married the Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, who is mentioned in the obituary above.  Ann's sister, Rebecca Skinner (1781 - 1857) married Reverend Edward Manning, who baptized my 2nd great grandfather, Rev. I. E. Bill. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The Obituary of Sarah (Osborne) Skinner, 1848, Nova Scotia", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 21, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. That is a fantastic obituary! What a great find that newsletter is.

  2. Where did you find the newsletter? I have a couple up there!

    1. If your ancestors were Baptist they might have a story, obituary, wedding, etc. in "The Christian Messenger". The microfilms can be found at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS. The year 1858 is covered in microfilm number
      MF-N #134 (this covers dates Jan.2, 1856-Dec. 29,1858)
      You can also request them through the Isaiah Wilson Memorial Library in Digby,NS. Also, a gentleman named Ric Noble has been reprinting some stories of interest at the Facebook group "Nova Scotia Genealogy", so join that group and search the posts for your surnames. Good luck!