Cliff McCarthy, 2016
Last updated 7 April 2017
Benjamin Skillman was the son of Thomas and Annetje (Aten) Skillman.
According to “The Skillmans of America and Their Kin”:
Benjamin Skillman was born in 1710, baptised in Brooklyn. He was a sponsor at the baptism in 1737, at the Reformed Dutch Church in N. Y., of Hendrick Van de Water, 9th child of his sister Ann. With his brothers Abraham and Jacob, he was appointed executor of his father’s will of 1739. His name, with Abraham’s, also appears in a list of “owners of negro slaves.” (Newtown, May 26, 1755) Benjamin’s home from birth was the ancestral “stone house” of which the northwest corner, when the old Dutch Kills road (later, School Street, Brooklyn) was widened, jutted into the highway. These 78 acres fell to him as his share of his father’s property, and he sold this farm on April 11, 1764, to Abraham Polhemus, and he removed to Kingston-Princeton, N. J.
Benjamin married about 1731, to Margaret, daughter of Samuel and Margaret (Van Zandt) Coe. Margaret Coe’s grandfather, Capt. John Coe, was son of Robert,
and grandson of Robert Coe [sic: one too many generations], who came from Norfolk, England in the ship Francis to Watertown,. Mass., in 1634, and to Boston the same year. (Huntingdon’s History of Stamford). The son Robert removed to Hempstead, Long Island, in 1644, then to Jamaica in 1656, and finally to Newtown. Samuel Coe, Margaret Skillman’s father, removed to Haverstraw, N. Y., and died there in 1742. By will, dated May 11, 1741, he left “Margaret, wife of Benjamin Skillman of Newtown” £40.
On 15th of May 1769, the following item ran in the New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy:
In his book of poetry, The Broken Bridge, Ed Belding wrote this in the footnotes:
“In the late 1760’s Benjamin Skillman and his wife were residing at the Greenland-Brinson farm on the Princeton side of the Millstone River. In 1769, upon returning from the Presbyterian Church in Kingston, they and Rev. John Blair attempted to cross the swollen stream in a battoe (this is a term from colonial times used by “the settlers … who went beyond the head of the river (and) found it necessary to employ certain boats which had long been used by traders and missionaries. They were called ‘battoes,’ a corruption of the French ‘batteaux’ and originally had been adapted as substitutes for the bark canoe”)… At midstream the boat turned over and Mrs. Skillman drowned.”
Benjamin Skillman died in 1783. By his will, dated 5 June 1777 and probated on 31 January 1784, two sons and six daughters are named. Jacob Skillman, Jr., William Badcock, and Lemuel Scudder were witnesses.
Children of Benjamin & Margaret (Coe) SKILLMAN
BENJAMIN SKILLMAN was born 1710 in Brooklyn, Kings Co., NY, and died 1783 in Kingston, Somerset, NJ. He married MARGARET COE 1731, daughter of SAMUEL COE and MARGARET VAN ZANDT. She was born 27 October 1713 in Newtown (Maspeth Kills), Queens, NY, and died 30 April 1769 by drowning in the Millstone River, Kingston, NJ. Children of BENJAMIN SKILLMAN and MARGARET COE are:
i. SAMUEL SKILLMAN, b. 1732.
ii. ANN SKILLMAN, b. 1735; m. BENJAMIN SKILLMAN, farmer and innkeeper of Griggstown, NJ; d. 3 March 1795, bur. Griggstown.
iii. MARGARET SKILLMAN, b. 1737.
iv. THOMAS SKILLMAN, b. 1739, Newtown (now Elmhurst), Queens Co., NY; d. 9 July 1795, Kingston, Somerset Co., NJ; m. SARAH “SALLIE” SKILLMAN, 1762; b. 1738, New York State.
v. ELIZABETH SKILLMAN, b. Bef. 4 October 1741; bapt. 4 October 1741 at Newtown Dutch Reformed Church.
vi. MARY SKILLMAN, b. 1743; poss. m. John DOUGHTY (see Comments below)
vii. SARAH SKILLMAN, b. 1745.
viii. MERCY SKILLMAN, b. 1747.
- Belding, Ed, The Broken Bridge, Mail & Document Services, Rutgers University, 2008.
- New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 15 May 1769.
- Skillman, William Jones, “The Skillmans of America and Their Kin,” New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vols. 37-38.
- Skillman Family Association, (Website at: http://www.skillmanfamily.org/), “Electronic.”