Silas Skinner

Born: 1834, Andreas, Isle of Man

Married: Ann Jane Callow, 1870 Andreas, Isle of Man

Children: William Silas



Thomas Lewis

Sara Ellen


Horatio (Ray)



Picture Silas and Anne Skinner

SILAS' SKINNER was born June 1834 in Andreas. Isle of Man GB and died April 12. 1886 in Napa California. He married ANNE JANE CALLOW February 24. 1870 in Kirk Andreas. Isle Of Man. daughter of THOMAS CALLOW and ELIZABETH KNEEN


Silas, born in the Isle of Man, went to sea early in his life and coutinued that profession until he left his ship in California in 1862 and made his way into Idaho during the gold rush. He teamed up with the Jordan brothers in their gold mining operations along Jordan Creek, but soon realized that the growth in the area of Silver City Idaho required a way to transport goods to and from Idaho and California to the mining operation in Silver City. He with two other partners constructed The Skinner Toll Road from Silver City to the Owhyee River. He eventually sold his interest in the toll road and began ranching in the area. Skinncr was a pioneer in the settlement and growth of Southwestern Idaho and Southeastern Oregon during and after the Indian uprisings of the late 1800's. He and his wife Anne Jane Callow, also from the Isle of Man, constructed and operated a well known stage station on the toll road and it was here that they began raising their family.

The following is taken from THE CATTLE DRIVES OF DAVID SHIRK and relates at least one of the hazards faced by the early pioneers and particularly by Silas Skinner as he conducted maintenancc on his TOLL ROAD. Due to the length of the chapter the readcr will forgive me for paraphrasing much of Mr Shirks' writing, while yet maintaining the essence of his words.

John S Skinner

Mr Shirk writes

While there (Silver City) I met Silas Skinner, or Sam Skinner, as he was familiarly called, one of the most remarkable men in many respects I have ever met. Mr Skinner came to me and said he was going over the road and would like to have me accompany him, as he was going as far as the crossing of the Owyhee River. Skinner agreed to pay the expenses of my team in addition to my wages while I accompanied him. Before starting, however, he explained that we might have tronble with the Indians, and asked me if I was timid or would stand fire. I was not able to say how I might perform, but I was willing to take a chance with him. On November 15, 1867, on horseback and leading one pack horse to carry our provisions we made the Sheep Ranch about lunch time. This place consisted of a rock house covered with rye grass and dirt and a little shed that answered as a stable. We observed that port holes had been cut into four sides of the cabin.

We spent the rest of the day throwing rocks out of the road and we returned to the house about sundown. Mr Skinner being more experienced than I, took the lead in making arrangements for any contingencies that might arise, and as we were in dangerous country, nothing was omitted. After our evening meal we made such other arrangements as prudence and safety could suggest in the event we were attacked by the Indians, then unrolled our blankets and went to bed. While I couldn't sleep, Mr Skinner appeared to be resting easier than I, but I soon discovered he too was alert and wakeful. When one of the horses began to snort, we got up to investigate and soon discovered that the Indians were around. We realized the peril of our situation but we remained calm, and detemined not to open fire unless driven to do so in self defense.

The Indians soon made us realize that it was a fight to the death, as they made attempt after attempt to fire the grass roof with torches made of sagebrush and other material. We opened fire and compelled them to keep at a safe distance We fired through the port holes first from one side of the cabin and then from another The Indians managed to set fire to the roof but it burned slowly and we were able to put it out. They then fired thc dry grass in back of the cabin but we were able to put it out with water we had stored the previous evening. From the looks of the ground the following morning, I am satisfied we sent more than one of the savage devils to their happy hunting grounds.

Silas Skinner was a fearless, and resourceful man, and was well liked by all who knew him. He was a good business man and a lover of fine horses. He shipped from Kentucky some of the finest thoroughbred horses that every came to the Pacific Coast, and many famous animals sprang from the breed imported by him. After residing in Owyhee County, Idaho for a number of years, Mr Skinncr was stricken with a fatal illness, and moved to Napa Valley, California, where he lingered for a time and then passed to thc great beyond. Mrs Skinncr (Anne Jane Callow) was left with a large family of small children, but she was a remarkable business woman, and exceptional mothcr and succeeded in raising and educating them to become worthy, and respected and useful men and women.



Anne Jane Callow was born and raised to young adulthood in Balla Callum, on the Isle of Man. Under the protective wing of an uncle who was a sea captain, Anne Jane immigrated to America and joined her grandparents in Ashtabula, Ohio. Under tutelage of an aunt, Anne Jane became a very proficient and widely known seamstress and opened a very successful millinary business. She became reacquainted with Silas Skinner, whose family had been close neighbors in Andreas, when he took time from his seafaring duties to visit family and friends in Ashtabula. Family lore has it that Annie and Silas became close friends and that soon a romance developed. Silas, however, returned to his seafaring ways and the relationsrup was put on hold. During this time Silas had left his ship in San Francisco having heard of the discovery of gold in Idaho. He with a friend and a couple of burros to carry their supplies walked from the Nevada gold mines to Idaho City Idaho over the winter and arrived there in the spring. In time Annie sent word to Silas that she had other "opportunities" and that he had best decide on his priorities.ß Soon after that plans were made for a return trip to the Isle of Man where Silas and Armie were married in Kirk (church) Andreas


Ballacallum Andreas Isle of Man
May 28::1883
Deere Son and Daughter
This few lines is to let you know that we Seen two letters which came from you to your Sister Jane & Lesy Jane saying your well at helth but your family had Encreased, however thats all right when your getting better yourself, as for my part I am faling fast. I think I have hart desease, but Mother is keeping remarkable Saut for her Age now about 67 years when my age is only about 60 years, but think God we are still Doing our own work as yet.
J Thos is goying to scool in Ramsey but he comes home on Saterdays and goyes on Mundays this for sum time now
Now you must Excuse me for not writing to you before now there is 2 or 3 rrasons for it first because I have been two negtfull second because my hand is geting havy and I think hard of writing third we had no Adress as we always though you had shifted however we must lay these things aside, hoping for the fughter that John Thomas will write for us if spared, as for My Part likely I shall write no more because I Dont think I am goying to be A long liver in this world, but may God grant if we will not see Each other heare that we will have A Joyfull metting Around his throne in Glory for Jesus Christ sake, now Dear Son & Daughter A word of advise from a Loving Father, whatever you have to Do in this life, first seek the Lord Jesus Christ for hapinness after Death.
Now I must tell you that Joe Hampton is married againe to one Mary Teare from Kirksbride hoping that himself and Children will be mutch better Lessy was down with us sum Months in winter but there was none of us at Douglas since he got marred Your Brother Thomy is at the East of Scotland just now he has been very fortuned goying to Sea if I know right he is worth over A thousand Pounds besides keeping A family. Your Brother Robert is in Irland at Present we heare he is to be marred shortly and goying to be a Dockgateman in Liverpool hoping he will get Along well as he now a rale tetolare.
As for your Brother Belly we haven hared of him this Long time hoping he is well and goying well Now may the blessing of the Lord God Almighty rest and Abide with the whole of you and your offsprings for Ever Amen
from your Loven Father & Mother Tho & Elizabeth
Good Night T & C
P. S. write us few line bact if you recive these T & C

Nov.26, 1883
Deare Son & Daughter,
This few lines is Answer to yours of July last which we received early in Augest and hath been Negletted tell how to Answer however the old saying is better late tell Even you spoke of me coming to America that’s ought of the Question as my helth woulden Alow me I have been very ill this last 5 or 6 weeks with Coults one on top of Another which affected the Longs and had a fearfull Coff with it, but thank God the Coff is getting better nisly (?) but I am very weak yet but goying about and sarven the few beast we have with foder and turneps & helpen Mother.
Mother keeps remarkable stout of her age now about 68 years and now I must tell you that Mother and I are all alone now as John Thomas is goying to Ramsey to scool all the week he comes home on Saterdays and goyes away on Munday morning, and Robert is married and lives in Ramsay but still follows the sea he is master of a small vessal called the Promest that Thomy has bought Carrieing 85 tons he works in the Coasting Trade, Now I musen forgett to tell you that Joseph Hampton is married again to a Tere girl from KKBride sum of the BellyNicks
Your brother Thomy is still goying to sea but I heare that he is goying to stop, and goying in sum busness ashore he has a parsell of familey to provide for them, and so has Joe Hampton the children is all with him except Jorge he is at trade with his uncle Moses,
Now I must conclude as I am goying to write to Carry & Willy we got a letter from them from Kingsville, Ohio you would hardly know anyone around heare how as there is a good many deth around heare this half yere.
Yours thruly, Father & Mother
Ths Callow & Elizabeth Callow


29 West Quail, Ramsey
May 19, 1906
My dear Auntie,
No doubt by this time you have received Maggies’ letter telling you of poor Grandda’s death. The funeral took place on Wednesday and it was well attended by tradespeople and even a good number of country folks came to town and more met at the churchyard to pay last tribute to the “Old Captain” as he was always called. He was known to all by that.
Uncle Jon, R.Q., Uncle Tommy Kneale and Bob Gaiut came from Douglas. Lizzie and her husband were unable to cross & Alf was sailing from Liverpool on the very day. We had a very nice letter from Willie saying how sorry he was that he could not come over. You see, we wired to them all on Monday morning and the boys did not know until their return at night, so it was too late to make arrangements.
Dear Auntie, how strange it all seems not to see Grandda in his little room. We miss him very much, especially at meal times, and having to feed him so often we miss him more. But the Dear Man he is better off. He would often speak of the time when he would be married to a woman with a green dress meaning the grave. It was a great relief to know that he had no pain or suffering, just simply exhaustion. He took no notice whatever on Sunday and just breathed his last at 9:30 p.m. I wish you could have seen him. He looked so peaceful. When little Isabel came to see him she said, “He looks as if he were asleep.” And now it is all over, what a lot can happen in one short week.
About a fortnight before Easter we had his room papered & painted and a new bed put in it . He looked so comfortable, we lifted him into Mother’s room while his was being done but he was wanting back to his own room before it was finished.
We all intend going to church next Sunday to mourn. The custom is still kept up. I forgot to say that Uncle Bob and his little girl was at the funeral too. He sat on Saturday night and was to sit on Sunday night too.
Grandma keeps much the same as usual. She tells us often that we have only one to look after now & that she will not be long until she joins Grandda, but of course she will have to wait her time. They were both very patient.
The hymn that was sung at the door was “A few more years shall roll”. No doubt you will know it as it is one of Wesley’s.
We are all keeping well. Father still has his nasty cough. No sign of it leaving him. We are having very cold weather for the time of the year. We have had no warm weather yet. We cannot think of going out without our big coats on. Do you remember Dear Auntie
(and here the letter ends, though there must have been another page)




Napa, Cal. Dec. 7th, 1919
My Very Dear Children,
Once more I am permited to write you just a few lines to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year when it comes with Health, Strength and Prosperity is my sincere wish for you.
Your very dear letters have all been received with the greatest of pleasure. From week to week I’ve looked forward to them as been one of the great blessings that God had given me--the Love of my dear children. What would I have done all the past months of my illness if it had not been for each and every one of them been so kind and loving to me.
Dear Carrie left her own home for three successive weeks to take care of me when Mona had to be in school. She would go home Fryday afternoon and come back Monday morning again. She is such a good nurse too. And then the Dr. said I could go home with her to Napa for the change so five weeks ago she came down and took me up here with her and am thankful to say I have gained strength wonderfully. But am still trubled very much with neuritis in my right arm that I cannot even do my own hair yet which is a great tryal to me to be so dependent on others. But dear Carrie never tires waiting on me neather did dear Mona and Willie Poor Boy was so tender and loving he was better than Drs. medicine.
Well enought of myself for this time dont you think so. R.Q. I am very anxious to hear from your self the nature of the project you were negotiating for when you wrote me some time ago I hope it was successfull. Tell me about it.
Well dears I cannot write you much this time for my arm seth stop right now.But I did want to wish you a Merry Xmas and also the dear Uncle and Aunt. We will all be so glad to see your friend Mrs Gown and allso Mr Lewin. Hope I will be home again when they come.
Mona was up last Sunday and we sent you a little Xmas greeting full of love and best wishes. If spared to get home I am going to send my dear Ann a small Xmas gift as well as a small Birthday present which I want you to take care of for her wont you. Bless her little heart how I wish I could see her and hugg her to pieces. Kiss her over and over again for me.
Her Aunt Carrie is sending her very handsome gift for her Xmas greeting. Hope you will like it. Wish I could have goten out before and have sent mine along with Carries but it can’t be hept this time.
We are lookng for Ella and Ruby tonight and Rubys Best Man to have Rubys weding outfit made. They are to be married very shortly I believe.
Well dear ones good by for this time. As Ever
With ochans of Love Mama


August 22, 1921
Dearest Momma,
You can’t imagine how glad I am to have such good news from Annabel of you: not only that you think Anne a good little girlie but that she is like her Daddy! I can’t see Annabel being altogether proud of that--frankly I think both you and she would have more reason to be proud if Anne were like her “Gamma.” --I would anyway.
She has talked about you & known your photo from the earliest she could talk & I will be increasingly fond of her just as much as she will grow like you as she gets bigger. She is going to do that, Momma, just you wait and see. But I am more glad than anyone can tell to hear you hope you can come back with them if you get strong enough for the trip. Momma Dear, I will just be overjoyed if you can manage that, and all the folks you know here will be prouder to see you than to see the King and Queen. There is a new big boat to Liverpool now from New York. She made her first trip out last week & she is one of the largest and most comfortable afloat.
We have had the finest summer ever known here, & we are predicted a lovely open winter to follow.
I am a great deal freer in business than I ever have been before & I’ll try to be as good to you as even you deserve. If you feel you can do it, Momma Dear--well you will almost hear my rousing cheers half way across the sea.
I hope you haven’t spoiled my Baby girl too much--or both of them for that matter. I will be very glad to get them both back again, but I will be very very glad--”my cup will run over”--if I get you with them in the bargain. Don’t you be anxious or worried about the passage--take it easy as ever you can & don’t be rushed over it. If your Doctor will sanction it that should be good enough & I think somehow, Momma Sknner, you are the evergreen & exceptional person that can do things better than other people--especially in travelling & I am hoping & trusting the Doctor will say “Go” & that you will have your usual good luck & make a splendid trip of it. I’ll tell you then how glad I am because I can’t tell you it now on paper.
ByBy, Momma, with the very warmest & best, Your lovingly, R.Q.




Tuesday morn, Jan. 17, ‘22
My Own Darling Mother--,
You are so brave hearted and strong you make me ashamed of myself. I am trying all the time to be more like you, and what must be done to do it cheerfully.
My visit has been such a joy--every hour of it--and I must be grateful I could come and see you all and just plan and look forward to our next trip, or yours to see us.
Thank you and Mona again for our happy, joyful visit. How much you have all done for us! And for Anne every day, all of you doing for her. Bless her, she will miss you all dreadfully, young as she is.
I am so glad you got to know her as we do, I feel sure her visit to her Berkeley home and Napa home will never be entirely forgotten, although only 3 yrs.
Now try and rest today. George can manage nicely with wash and cleaning.
Thank you Mother Dear again for all your goodness to us. Our hearts are too full to express our feelings.
Hugs and Kisses from your Baby Anne, R.Q. and Annabel.
(We shall write often on our way. A.)

(Probably a treasured verse of Annie’s)

“Gods plans like lillies, pure and white unfold
We cannot tear the close shut leaves apart.
Time will reveal the calyxes of gold.
And if through patient toil we reach the land
Where weary feet with sandals loose may rest
When we shall clearly know and understand,
I think that we will say--God’s ways are best.



DEATH NOTICE FOR MRS ANNIE SKINNER (Copied by Esther Emmel from Skinner Family Bible, July 2009)

News has just been cabled tht Mrs. Annie Skinner, of 2332 Haste Street, Berkeley, California, U.S.A., died on Thursday last, Mary 17th. The deceased lady had attained the ripe age of 81, and for some time past had been in failing health. Mrs. Skinner was a daughter of the late Capt. T. Callow of Ballacallum, Andreas, and left the Island with her grandfather in 1865, being then 18 years old; she remained in Cleveland, Ohio some six years, making many friends, of which some are still living there, and there she also met her future husband, Silas Skinner, also born in Andreas, but who had adventurously left the Island when nine(?)*Note: years old, and made his way by sailing ship to America, there to join in one of the early gold rushes to the Nevada fields.
They arranged to return to Kirk Andreas, to be married in the Parish Church in 1871, and after a short holiday they went back to the States, to Silver City, Idaho, where Mr. Skinner had mining interests.
Later they removed to Napa, Clifornia, and after Mr. Skinner’s death, his widow and her family removed to Berkeley, the University town across the bay from San Francisco
. The late mrs. Skinner was one of the best known Manx residents on the Pacific Coast, and her home was the meeting place for Manx people in the neighbourhood. She made many trips to the Island the last being in 1913-14, and has many relatives here. A daughter of Mrs. Skinner is married to Mr. R. Q. Hampton, Cronkbourne Road, Douglas; her sole surviving brother, Mr. Robert Callow, Chief stevedore for the Steam Packet Company at Douglas, and Captains John Callow (harbour master), James Callow (6 Lezayre Road), Mr. Alfred Callow and Mrs. Quileash of May Hill, are nephews and nieces of the deceased lady.
Mrs. Skinner left two sons and two daughters resident in the States and also numbered in the families, 16 grandchildren and ten great grandchildren as her descendants.
Silas, was born 15 June 1834. According to IDAHO YESTERDAYS, Spring 1966, by Stacy Peterson. p. 14. “Silas Skinner arrived in Sacramento from the Isle of Man in the Fall of 1862, a mariner on a British ship whose name and business is now forgotten.” He would have been 28 when he came to U.S.




DEATH NOTICE OF ANNIE SKINNER BROTHER-CAPT THOMAS CALLOW (Copied from the Skinner Family Bible by Esther Emmel, July 2009)


(Brother of Annie CALLOW SKINNER)
We regret to record the death of Capt.Thos. Callow, one of the most esteemed
and best known residents in Ramsey and the North, which took place at Handley
Terrace, Bowring Road, on Wednesday, at the age of 70 years. Capt. Callow has not enjoyed good health for some time, but was now and then able to get out. However, some five weeks ago he was taken seriously ill, and in spite of the best medical attention, constant care, and careful nursing, he gradually became worse, and "crossed the bar," as stated, on Wednesday.
Capt. Callow was born at Ballacallum. and was a son of the late Capt. Thomas
Callow, whose death occurred some years ago. At an early age he developed a
a liking for the sea, one of his first experiences in that direction being with his
father on the well-known schooner Gem, of which he eventually became master.
Capt. Callow was not slow in proving his ability as a seaman and navigator, and,
blessed with any amount of energy and pluck, he determined to make the most
of his opportunities. Seeing this, a, syndicate of Ramsey gentlemen had built
for him at Barnstaple in 1876 the clipper schooner Snaefell, which was in her time
reckoned as the last word in coasting vessels for speed and handiness. In those
days steamers were a deal less plentiful than they are now, whilst sailing vessels
were sailing vessels in every sense of the word. Capt. Callow had as his contemporaries such capable seafarers as the late Capt. Edw. Garrett (Empress), Capt. John Clarke, Harbour Master (Wizard), Capt. D. Cleator, and others, and records for speed and quick dispatch were put up on nearly every voyage. It was no uncommon thing for these vessels then to be away from home for months at a time, whilst trips to the Baltic and other foreign parts were frequent. After a successful career and one remarkably free from accident, in the year 1886, Capt. Callow retired from the sea, and started business as a coal merchant. He purchased the three masted schooner Eclipse, and also became owner of the schooners Kitty and Trial, these vessels being fully engaged in the coal traffic. As a result of honesty and straightforward dealing, Capt. Callow built up an extensive and prosperous business, which he relinquished about two years ago, in order to spend
the remainder of his days in quietude. In his business affairs, he was greatly assisted by his wife, who survives him, and who managed his extensive coal trade with great ability.
The late Capt. Callow was a prominent Oddfellow being one of the first on the
books of the Good Anchorage Lodge. He was also a regular attender, up to the
time of his illness, at Church and Chapel, and was ever ready to assist in any good
or charitable cause. Capt Callow was of a kindly and genial disposition, was most interesting to converse with, and his demise is mourned by a large circle of friends, who join in extending their sympathy to the bereaved family.
Capt. Callow was twice married, and had issue by his first wife: Mrs Cameron,
wife of Mr John Cameron of Pooldhooie House, Bispham; and Capt. J. T. Callow,
Assistant Harbour Master at Ramsey. By his second wife, who survives him, there
is issue: William, in Manchester; Capt. James Henry, chief officer the White Star Liner Corinthic: Alfred, carpenter on board the White Star Liner Adriatic; Fred. in the Harrison Line ; Mrs Quilleash, Ramsey; and Mrs J. T. Kerruish, in Western Australia.
The interment took place to-day (Friday) at Andreas Churchyard, and was attended by a large number of persons of town and country, including rnany associated with maritime affairs.