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Well, I was in the mood, so I wrote the following article on immigration for the Skiles website.

In the beginning, my father always told me we came from Scotland. Two brothers and their wives. One brother stayed in the East and the other, along with his wife went down South. Although he spoke English she purportedly spoke no English. I have always presumed that she spoke Scots Gaelic but what language she actually spoke is not mentioned in the tradition. But of one thing, my father was certain: her last name was Coleman.

They settled on a farm in east Texas, so the story goes, and had ten sons and one daughter. Some of the brother's names were Riley, David, Charley, and Marion. Of the other brothers nothing is known. A number of them, tradition goes, fought in the Civil War. After the war one son went to Mexico and had a ranch down there somewhere. Another became a minister. But my part of the family stayed in East Texas, Harrison, and Wood Counties. Some still live there to this day.

I've checked out the Skiles name and there seems to be a lot of differing views about where it comes from. One expert source says it's German. Another says it's Scandinavian, citing the fact that most words in English that start with the "SK" sound come from Scandinavia. None of the Scottish organizations, or clans claim Skiles as a Scottish name, nor have I been able to find any Skiles connection to Scotland. The story about the Isle of Skye being where the Skiles are from because Skye and Skiles are similar words I find hard to accept without some proof, such as, there ought to be a bunch of Skiles in the telephone books for the Isle of Skye, if that's where we're from. And why isn't everyone on the Isle of Skye named Skiles? I think not. The fact that I have found records of people by the name and spelling of Skiles living in England in the 1500's seems to suggest that if my Skiles ancestors came from Scotland, they were just passing through, having originated elsewhere.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time looking for my family tradition in the census records, and did, eventually find it: a family living in Harrison County, in East Texas in 1850 with ten sons and one daughter. Right where they ought to be. And one of those ten sons, the second to the youngest had my great grandfather's initials, G.W. I describe the actual family elsewhere on this website. But this family wasn't from Scotland or England or Germany, or the Isle of Skye or anywhere else exotic. They were from Tennessee.


Hey there,
    I just came across some information that might change the way we think about "Virginia." I had no idea that West Virginia did not become a state until 1863 (a result of their Unionist sympathies). So when we read about Skiles in Virginia, prior to 1863, at least, we have to determine whether or not they were in present day VA or WV. You probably know this already, but it surprised me, so I thought I would mention it just in case. J

My grandfather, Benjamin Franklins KEIST, moved from his immediate family in Okalahoma/Kansas area to the great northwest, Washington and Oregon. Thus, I became a Northwest Native. But, because of his move, over the years the rest of the family was lost. After I became interested in the big "G" I found where B.F. Keist' parents, my great grandparents, were buried in Oklahoma. So from there, I found a relative in Texas. And...... he just happened to have my great grandfather's Day Book. GLORY BE AND HALLEUJAH! My great grandfather William C. KEIST had a family bible of sorts in his Day Book. Great grandfather had listed his great grandfather, great grandmother and their children. The first child on the list was Thomas SKILES. ??? Say what? Oh probably a maiden name of his mother. WRONG! Thomas grew up, married and died as a SKILES. I have come to believe that Thomas was adopted. His adoptive parents were married shortly after he was born. Philip KEIST and Nancy Anne HOLT were married 3 Aug 1798 in Frederick County Maryland. They lived in Lovettsville, Loudoun County Virginia. The church records show Thomas SKILES christened 19 May 1799 and born 9 Jan 1797 in Lovettsville Loudoun County Virginia with Philip and Nancy KEIST as his parents. Thomas married Sarah HUFFMAN 11 Nov 1832 in Muskingum County Ohio. To my knowledge Thomas and Sarah had at least 6 children. Thomas died in Muskingum County Ohio on 4 Apr 1868. Barbara Keist McClenny

Here is a story from Bill Skiles

Skiles is not a really common name. At least not in Los Angeles where I grew up.  So I figured it wouldn't be difficult at all to trace my family back beyond my great grandfather George W Skiles who was born in the mid nineteenth century. I knew the family came from Tennessee and ended up in Texas. All I had to do was look at some microfilm and it would all be there. So I visited the Los Angeles central library's genealogical collection. I figured a few census indexes and I'd have it.
Eight months later, I finally identified great grand daddy's father. During those eight months I looked at and copied out everything I could find on every Skiles from the beginning of time up until about 1850, hoping that like a jig saw puzzle, if I identified enough of the pieces I could begin to put the picture together.
What I have are lots of little bits of the picture. But they're really interesting. I discovered that the Skiles name, if not blood relations goes way way back in our country's history.
I am hoping that anybody named Skiles (Skyles, Sciles, Scyles, Scales)
has got to be related because if you look in enough census indexes you'll not see any other names (except Stiles, Styles, etc.) that's anything close to Skiles. The name sort of stands alone in the alphabetical listings of the census indexes. If this sounds like an exaggeration, perhaps it might be. But I'm posing the question so that you will e-mail
back to tell me why I'm wrong. And share with all of us some more of our history that we are, to date, ignorant of.
In essence, we hope that this web site will become a gathering spot to share our knowledge of who we are and if we are related.
Now, back to what I discovered at the library. I discovered that there have been a lot of people who have carried the name Skiles through their lives. And I discovered that I am not the first William Skiles to live on this earth. Actually, I knew that particular fact all along. I'm just exaggerating again. My father's name was William, and he was named after an uncle of his. What I didn't know that there have been William Skiles's walking around North America since the early 1700's, whether I'm descended from any of them or not. I might be William the 47th or something. Anyway, there was a William Skiles in Lancaster County Pennsylvania in 1730, a descendent of Thomas Skiles who settled in Wicomico, Somerset County, Maryland by 1666. There was a William Skiles (and a James too) who served in the Revolution. There was a Henry Skiles of Salisbury, Lancaster County who "went over to the enemy" (the British) and a whole bunch more Skiles's living in the same town who "swore or affirmed" their allegiance and fidelity to the U.S.A. in 1777 and 1778, probably to make up for Henry. I discovered that there was even a Congressman William Skiles who served from Shelby in Richland County Ohio at the turn of the (20th) century. I know I'm not related directly to him because he passed away in 1904, the same year my father, William Skiles was born in Texas.
There were quite a few important Skiles's too. While my father and grandfather and great-grandfather were farmers who too often died young, there was John D. Skiles the Pennsylvania banker who passed away in 1913 and Brisbin Skiles, also of Lancaster Pennsylvania who was a master fox-hunter (born in 1817). And there were lots of Skiles's who served in the Civil War, and in World War I and II.
My oldest ancestor is Ephraim L. Skiles. He had twelve children and died in Harrison County Texas sometime between 1850 and 1860. My great grandfather George W. was Ephraim's eleventh child and way too young to learn anything of the family history when Ephraim died. 
So I don't know if I am descended from those great Skiles' of Maryland and Pennsylvania, or an immigrant who came from Scotland.
Please, if you have a piece of this jig saw puzzle, send it in and maybe we can put the whole picture together, together.

Bill Skiles
(actually, I think there are a number of us living around the country although I haven't myself met any of the others)

We have a few more STORIES if you would like to read them.

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