Ron Nagy's Blog

Historian • Author • Spiritualism

Thomas J. Skidmore Lily Dale Pioneer

Thomas SkidmoreIt will not come as a surprise to our readers to learn that Thomas J. Skidmore, so long and so favorably known, has passed into the world of immortals. Sunday evening April 17 1904 at about 7:30, he was smitten with paralysis, and from that time until the end, May 25th, he gradually declined. Mr. Skidmore was born at Lewisville, now Morris, N.Y. on October 6, 1826. His parents moved to Charlotte, when he was seven years of age, afterwards moving to Laona and Fredonia, all within a few miles of this place.

His early education was such as fell to the lot of the boys of that time, and he afterwards traveled over quite an area of the country in his search for profitable employment. The days of reconstruction gave him an opportunity for exercise of his business facilities and he became interested in railroad building, but finally devoted himself to one branch of bridge construction.

It was then quite a feat to build a bridge, as the builder was the designer and constructer, and the engineering problem to be solved was sometimes almost insurmountable. It was by his advice that the casings were used in building the bridge at Omaha and Council Bluffs, where it had been impossible to secure a foundation on account of the shifting sands of the Missouri River. They proved a success and have been used extensively in similar cases.
He was engaged in bridge construction for the government during the war, and built the “long bridge” across the Potomac at Washington. He was one of the incorporators of the Watson Bridge Company of Paterson, N.J., also one of the founders of the Fredonia National Bank, one of the strongest financial institutions of Western New York, and was a director up to the time of his death.

He was married to Miss Marion Johnson in 1854. During the early days of this organization, he was quite active and was its financial backer during the years of its struggle for existence and he and Mrs. Skidmore were always among the first to respond to any call in its behalf.
Mrs. Skidmore passed to spirit life from Cincinnati, Ohio, while on her way home from Lake Helen, Florida, February 3, 1895, since which time his brother Henry and sister Mrs. M.F. Tolles and for the past few years, Mrs. Sarah Skidmore, widow of his brother Oscar, have shared his home here. Mrs. Elizabeth Page, who was engaged as housekeeper by Mrs. Skidmore, several years before her transition, has remained in the same position all these years.
They left no children; those born, with the exception, a daughter who lived to the age of twenty, died in infancy…his knowledge sustained him and only a few days before the end came he said, in a delirium, “Marion, you and Kitty have been alone a long time, but I will join you soon.” Was it delirium? Was it not a beautiful vision of the gates ajar? Did not the door to another world swing open that he might see the angel visitants, and catch a glimpse of his loved ones who were waiting?

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