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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Alonzo A. Skinner


    Alonzo A. Skinner, formerly of this village, has been elected circuit judge of the Territory, for the next two years--salary $800 per annum.
"Oregon," Kalida Venture, Kalida, Ohio, August 17, 1847, page 2


    Judge Skinner (Alonzo) went to the mines last fall, and had not returned when Mr. R.'s letter was written.--Lima [Ohio] Argus.
"Gold Digging," Portage Sentinel, Ravenna, Ohio, July 16, 1849, page 2


     NEW INDIAN AGENTS.--Judge Skinner has been appointed Indian agent in place of Col. Allen, declined. Edward A. Starling Esq., of this city (late of Kentucky), has also been appointed in place of Rev. H. H. Spalding, removed.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, September 30, 1851, page 2


    A. A. Skinner, Indian agent, left for the Rogue River country on Tuesday last, the place assigned him for future operations. He has gone prepared to make the Indians presents, which, when distributed, will no doubt have a tendency to render permanent the good feeling that now prevails. [Oregon Statesman, Oct. 21.]
"Later from Oregon," Daily Crescent, New Orleans, December 6, 1851, page 3


Correspondence of the Oregon Weekly Times.
From The South.
ALTHOUSE, May 1st, 1853.
    FRIEND WATERMAN: In pursuance of a call from the Democratic Central Committee, the Democracy of Althouse met today, for the purpose of listening to a speech from the Hon. John R. Hardin, long connected with the interests and success of the Democratic Party. The meeting was large, and Mr. H. was listened to with a degree of interest and attention seldom exhibited by a public audience. He urged the Democracy to unite in the support of Gen. Lane, the nominee of the Democracy of the Territory. He canvassed the claims of Judge Skinner for the office of Delegate, and after giving a history of his Indian treaties, concluded by saying that if he should display an equal talent in making laws in Washington City, he would certainly make a good Delegate--over the left.
    The Hon. G. R. Cole, being present, was then called out. He made an urgent appeal to the Democracy to rally round the standard of their party and elect Gen. Lane by a triumphant majority. He spoke of Judge Skinner as being a candidate of the "people," and showed conclusively that a "people's party" was always a "Whig party." He warned the Democrats against being caught by that same old trick to which the Whigs have so often resorted. After which he discussed the claims of the two candidates for the Delegateship. He referred to Gen. Lane's course in Mexico--to his position in Congress--to his efforts and success in obtaining the passage of acts for the promotion of the interests of the Territory--and he alluded to the reception Gen. Lane had met with everywhere, on his return to the States.
    Others who were candidates for different county offices followed, and the meeting broke up with much good feeling, and with the determination to make Jackson the banner county of Democracy.
    Messrs. Hardin and Cole are not candidates for any office, but have promised to devote all their time and energies, from this until the election, in canvassing the southern portion of the Territory for Jo Lane.
Yours truly,
    WM. McMILLEN.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, May 21, 1853, page 1


    For Delegate to Congress, there are two candidates, Gen. Lane and "Judge" Skinner. Gen. Lane is a Democrat, undisguised; the nominee of the Democratic Party, and runs as the exponent of their principles. He shows no false colors, and attempts no deception. He is a man of affirmative character, of great mental and physical energy--full of life and vigor--Whatever he does, he does "with all his might," and whatever he undertakes, he performs. He knows "no such word as fail." He has a reputation as a spotless Democrat and an honest man, as wide as the extent of our nation. He is the warm personal and confidential friend of the President, and of many if not all the heads of departments. All have unbounded confidence in his political and general integrity. He is the political friend of the ruling party in Congress, and the valued personal friend of many of the individual members. He has had much legislative experience in Indiana, and represented Oregon in the last Congress--has thus become familiar with her wants, and the means of obtaining them. He knows the members of Congress--knows who are the earnest friends of the Territories, who indifferent, and who hostile.. In the last Congress he accomplished more for Oregon than did the delegates from all the other Territories for their constituencies. No well-informed man can doubt that he can accomplish far more in the next.
    Opposed to him is A. A. Skinner, a clever
man, in the American sense of the word. A harmless, inoffensive citizen, against whom, as such, nothing can be said; far is it from our wish that anything should be. His is a negative character, so far as he has any, which makes neither warm enemies or friends. Men have little for or against him. His mental capacity is, to say the most, extremely moderate, and his mind, like his body, having for a lifetime remained dormant, has in a great degree become torpid, and to some extent ceased to function. He is an embodiment of idleness, inertness, and inefficiency, and he is as much distinguished for either, as for his proverbial cleverness. He is as destitute of resolution, life, or energy, as men "ever get to be." An effort of mind or body is made with reluctance, made seldom, and not long continued. . . . His own impulses and motives are honest enough, but he has not the courage and firmness to resist the influences which surround him and carry out his convictions of right. Thus he can be and has been made the passive instrument of wrong. When, in times past, he attempted to act the "judge," this defect in the man, we are told, was often remarked. And later, Gaines availed himself of it, and made him the passive participant in the corrupt squandering of $40,000 in the Indian treaty swindle.
"The Interests of Oregon,"
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, May 21, 1853, page 2


EDITORIAL ITEMS.
Skinner,
The opposition candidate, it is conceded, would have got many more votes had he remained quietly at home. Every place he goes he loses votes. Being an amiable man without talents, he is entirely out of his element while canvassing for Congress. Reports say that he hardly says "boo" when with Lane on the stump. The Democracy of Washington County have reason to thank Skinner for his visit here.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, May 28, 1853, page 2


From Oregon.
    We are indebted to Cram, Rogers & Co.'s Express for the Portland Oregonian and Times, of the 7th ult. They contain very little news. Every arrangement had been made to give Gen. Jo Lane an enthusiastic welcome. Hon. Wm. M .King was appointed orator for the occasion.
    A large number of gentlemen in Jackson County have written to A. A. Skinner, Esq., asking him to consent to become the "people's candidate" in opposition to Gen. Lane, to which he responds favorably. Accordingly the following nominations have been made, in opposition to the regular Democratic ticket:
    Delegate to Congress, A. A. Skinner; Representatives to the Legislative Assembly, Chauncey Nye, Dr. Geo. H. Ambrose, D. W. Thorp; District Attorney, C. Sims; Probate Judge, T. McF. Patton; County Commissioners, James Clugage, John Gibbs, Martin Angel; County Auditor, Charles S. Drew; Sheriff, Wm. Galley; Coroner, Dr. A. B. Overbeck; Assessor, E. H. Blanchard; County Treasurer; E. H. Cleveland.
    A correspondent of the Times, writing from Jacksonville, pronounces this ticket "nothing but a gull"--that the nominees are "Whigs to a man"--and declares that Gen. Lane will carry that county by five hundred majority.
Shasta Courier, Shasta, California, June 4, 1853, page 3


    Gov. Lane, who has resigned the position of Governor of Oregon, to run for Congress on the regular Democratic ticket, and Mr. Skinner, his opponent, running on the "People's Ticket," had a discussion before the people of Jacksonville on the 31st of May.
"From Jacksonville and Yreka," Shasta Courier, Shasta, California, June 11, 1853, page 3


    STILL LIVING.--Some time ago we announced the death of Judge Alonzo A. Skinner, formerly of this place, but for a number of years past a resident of Oregon. The account stated that he was brutally murdered by the Indians, in the Rogue River difficulty. We are happy to learn that his relations here have received, within the past week, a letter from him, bearing date of 10th of September last, which was mailed on the 16th of the same month, contradicting the report, saying that he had suffered nothing at the hands of the Indians, and that for the coming two year he designed to devote himself to agricultural pursuits.
Portage Sentinel, Ravenna, Ohio, December 7, 1853, page 2


    The death of Alonzo A. Skinner, of Empire City, is announced. The event occurred at Santa Barbara, California, whither he had repaired for his health, on the 30th of April. Judge Skinner has been well known, both in territorial and state politics, was one of that fast-vanishing breed, our pioneers, and commanded respect in every avocation of life.
The New Northwest, Portland, May 25, 1877, page 2


    SKINNER, HON. ALONZO A., deceased, was born in Huron County, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar before coming to Oregon in 1845. In 1846 he was made a judge of the provisional government. From 1851 to 1853 he was Indian Agent in Rogue River Valley. Originally a Whig,  he became a Republican upon the organization of that party. He was the Whig candidate for Congress in 1853. In 1862 he was elected Clerk of Lane County by the Republicans.
Republican League Register, Portland, 1896, page 266



Last revised June 14, 2019