August Family Reunion Cancelled

It is with extreme regret that I announce that your Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the contract with the Princeton Marriott for our planned first family reunion in August 2014. The decision was not made lightly and resulted from a combination of factors. As president, it was my full intention to run the reunion from beginning to end. However, in October my battle with stage-4 prostate cancer took a turn for the worse, and it is now unlikely that I will be well enough to run the reunion, much less attend it. Unfortunately, your Board was unable to come up with someone else willing to assume that important responsibility.

While 32 members have indicated that they would like to attend, 12 come from my immediate family and may not attend due to my health issues. Additionally, we anticipate that, despite the best of intentions, other members may drop due to health issues or conflicting events that preclude attending our reunion. It is quite possible that our final attendance by August could be fewer than 15 people, hardly the attendance we had anticipated.

Finally, our Family Association would be liable for a percentage of the cost of meals per the contract with the Princeton Marriott. By my rough calculations, this could have been in excess of $1500, which could have wiped out our limited treasury in the event of later cancellation.

Let me assure you, however, that those of you who still wish to go to Princeton on the first weekend of August are still welcome to gather with your cousins who wish to do the same on an informal basis. We will make the list of those who planned to attend the formal reunion available on the Members Only section of the website and you may contact each other freely. Your Board of Directors will do all it can to support such an informal gathering and it may, in fact, work quite satisfactorily. If any of you wishes to coordinate such a gathering, please let me know by email and I will do my best to put you in touch with others of a like mind.

John E Skillman III

SFA Family Reunion • August 1-3, 2014

The Skillman Family Association’s first family reunion is rapidly taking shape and it promises to be both informational and great fun for all who attend. My wife and I just returned from 4 days in New Jersey to survey hotels and historic sites for the group. All activities will be within 15 miles and a 30-minute bus ride from the selected hotel. Here is a tentative agenda:

Friday – Optional tour of the Princeton area for those arriving on Thursday
Friday Evening – Welcome reception and dinner at the hotel with cash bar
Saturday Breakfast – Group breakfast at the hotel
Saturday Morning – Bus tour of Skillman cemeteries, Skillman homes, and other historical sights
Saturday Lunch – Luncheon at a local restaurant
Saturday Afternoon – Bus tour continues, returning to hotel about 3:00PM
Saturday Dinner – A casual farewell barbeque dinner at the hotel
Sunday Breakfast – On your own at the hotel
Days/Times TBD – Group sessions on Skillman genealogy, Skillman history and Skillman DNA

Subject to Board approval, I am recommending that we use the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal, which will run $131.10 per night, taxes included.

Princeton Marriott at Forrestal

If you have not already responded to my earlier email, please reply to me with answers to the questions listed below at

• Do you plan to attend? If not, I need to know that.
• How many adults in your party? How many children and what are their ages?
• Will you arrive before Friday and/or stay beyond Sunday? Princeton is a beautiful and historic town and there are many sights to see in the area, including the beautiful Princeton University. Downtown Princeton has many lovely stores for shopping.
• Will you attend the reunion, but not stay at the hotel?

And remember, Thomas1 Skillman arrived in America in August 1664. Our first reunion will celebrate the 350th anniversary of that important event. It is also the 200th anniversary of the founding on the Beekman-Skillman (now just Beekman) Cemetery, which is the final resting place of 9 Skillman ancestors.

John E. Skillman III

Our First Skillman Family Reunion

According to William Jones Skillman in “Skillmans of America and Their Kin,” Thomas1 Skillman arrived in America on August 18, 1664. In 2014 the Skillman Family Association will celebrate the 350th anniversary of that important event. What better way to celebrate than by holding a Skillman Family Reunion?

New Jersey's Millstone River Valley
This photo was taken above the town of Kingston, NJ, looking southwest towards Princeton. The body of water is Carnegie Lake, with the Delaware and Raritan Canal running along side of it. The road is Route 27, part of the Lincoln Highway now celebrating its 100th anniversary. Of particular interest is the red building with the black Mansard roof at center right. This was formerly Skillman’s Mill. (Thanks to Peter D. Skillman, SFA Member, for this description.)

Beginning in the early 1700s, most of the Skillmans left New York and settled in the central part of New Jersey, primarily in Somerset and Mercer Counties. This area boasts many early Skillman gravestones in the old cemeteries, as well as churches that the Skillmans attended, many original to the period. In a two-day period in 2007 while visiting old cemeteries in central New Jersey, I found and photographed more than 100 gravestones of our 18th, 19th, and 20th century Skillman ancestors.

This area of New Jersey, being replete with Skillman history, is a logical place to hold our first family reunion. Contrary to most impressions of New Jersey, the central part of New Jersey where our early ancestors settled is beautiful with rolling hills, rivers, and farms. We will allow time for you to explore some of the Skillman history in the area. We will also have meetings on subjects such as our Skillman history and family tree, getting started in genealogy, and Skillman DNA. And there will be social time, allowing you to meet your distant cousins.

So please mark your calendar for our first Skillman family reunion in August, 2014, and plan a vacation around it. We will post details on the website as they develop, so please stay tuned. We will also need a Reunion Committee, so please let us know if you are willing to serve.

John E. Skillman III