SKINNER, JAMES WILLIAM

Sherwood H. Reisner

SKINNER, JAMES WILLIAM (1855–1931). James William Skinner, founder and first president of the Texas Mexican Industrial Institute in Kingsville, Texas, was born at Versailles, Kentucky, on October 11, 1855, the son of Thomas and Jane (Bigger) Skinner. He received his A.B. degree in 1880 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. After two years at Danville Theological Seminary, he completed his education at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1883. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry on September 12, 1882, and served pastorates in Terre Haute, Indiana (1883–86), Morrison, Illinois (1887–1902), and Fort Collins, Colorado (1902–10). He then left the ministry and moved to the Rio Grande valley in Texas to try to recover his savings, which he had invested in a land-development company at San Juan. He became the secretary of the corporation, but the bankruptcy of the company had left him stranded. The First Presbyterian Church in Brownsville, the first Protestant church in the Rio Grande valley, had been without a pastor for many years. Two of its elders asked Skinner to be the pastor. He told them that it was now clear to him that the Lord had never intended for him to become wealthy, and he agreed to move to Brownsville and resume his ministry in that church. He had been there less than two years when he received the call of the board of trustees to become the first president of the newly formed Texas Mexican Industrial Institute. Skinner refused invitations from large churches in the Midwest and devoted the rest of his life to this work. On a 700-acre tract south of Kingsville he developed and built the self-help school for boys from Texas and Mexico. In 1924 Skinner became the head of a second school in Taft, called the Presbyterian School for Mexican Girls. He was elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern) in 1925, one of the few men from Texas to receive this honor. On October 9, 1884, Skinner married Julia Barfield of Danfield, Kentucky, and they had three daughters, one of whom died in infancy. He presided over both schools that he had founded until his death on October 24, 1931, in Kingsville. In 1956, the two schools were combined to form Presbyterian Pan American School in Kingsville. Skinner wrote a religious book, Out of the Wilderness, which was published in 1925. He is also credited with writing Bible Outlines (1940) and Jottings (1942).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Kleberg County Historical Commission, Kleberg County, Texas (Austin: Hart Graphics, 1979). Tex.-Mex. Reflector, November 1931.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Sherwood H. Reisner, "SKINNER, JAMES WILLIAM," accessed November 16, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsk01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...