The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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case of Gregory against Hooker's administrator, is said to be one of the ablest among the reports of the supreme court, and when he retired from the bar he left no superior.

        Joseph Blount Skinner, born 1780, died 1851, distinguished as a lawyer and statesman, lived and died in Edenton. He was the eldest child of Joshua and Martha Skinner, of Harvey's Neck. After spending some time at Princeton college, he read law under Governor Samuel Johnston, and attained distinction at the bar; so lucrative was his practice that in a few years he was the leading counsel in every case of importance in his circuit, and found himself possessed of ample competency. After the labors of more than twenty years, he retired from the bar to the more congenial pursuits of agriculture; he purchased a farm near Edenton where he lived and died. In this, as in his profession, he was eminently successful. He was a model farmer, and caused the waste places in that section to rejoice and blossom as the rose. His large farm became the admiration of all in that section--beautiful beyond any other in our state. In other pursuits he was equally successful and enterprising. He gave the first impulse in this section to that valuable industry, the herring and shad fisheries. Hitherto the fisheries had been confined to the Roanoke and Chowan rivers, and their tributaries. They were few in number and small in extent. Mr. Skinner, with his characteristic energy, ventured on the experiment, then deemed visionary and impracticable, and boldly launched his seines on the broad and oft vexed Albemarle itself, and succeeded beyond his own expectations. His example has been followed; previously the spring catch was confined to float nets and weirs, now the northern shore of the sound is literally studded with fisheries, and there are numerous seines 2,000 yards long, worked by windlass and horse power, creating a large industry, and adding annually hundreds of thousands of dollars to the wealth of this section.

        Such a man may emphatically be styled a public benefactor; the people of Chowan recognized his merits. In 1805 and 1807, he was elected a member of the legislature, and again in 1814 and 1815. He was a member of the convention in 1835 -- the most distinguished body of men ever assembled in the state.

        His course and position in the public councils have thus been described by his friend, Judge Nash: "His mind and character placed him among the ablest men of the legislature--and there were many of the highest range of intellect. Eminently practical, he brought to the discussions in that body a fund of knowledge and facts, and was always listened to with profound attention."

        He died on December 23d, 1851. He married in early life Miss Lowther, the great grand daugher of Governor Gabriel Johnston, who died several years before him, leaving an only son and a grandaughter. This son, Major Tristam Lowther Skinner, fell in the battle of Ellison's Mill. He had several brothers, Reverend Dr. Thomas H. Skinner distinguished as a Presbyterian divine, and Charles W. Skinner.

        Thomas J. Jarvis was born in this county, July 18th, 1836, and graduated at Randolph, Macon; he studied law and obtained his license to practice. During the war between the states he served as Captain in the Eighth Regiment of North Carolina troops. In the constitutional convention of 1865, he served as a member, as also in the lower branch of the legislature in 1868, in 1870 he was elected speaker of that body. Removing to Pitt, he was chosen a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1875. In 1876 he was elected lieutenant governor of the state for four years, 1877 to 1881, but on the election of Governor Z. B. Vance to the United States
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