James H. Skiff is well known throughout San Joaquin county and is a representative of best ideals of citizenship and progressive enterprise. He is one of the extensive farmers and stock-raisers of the county, having a fine estate near Avena station and receiving his mail at Ellisworth. He was born on Marth's Vineyard island, Massachusetts, January 18, 1860, being a son of James L. and Peggy (Dunham) Skiff, who were also natives of the same island. The family all came out to California in 1874, settling near Avena station, and here the father remained until his death in 1886. He had been a seafaring man during his younger years, and for thirty-five years had engaged in the whaling industry. He was familiarly known as Captain Skiff, having been master of various ships during his career on the sea. During the eight years previous to his coming to California he had engaged in the sea trade from Australian ports. His wife now resides on the ranch with James H., as does the daughter, Miss Carrie H.

Mr. James H. Skiff was reared and received his education on his native island, attending the excellent public schools there. He was fourteen years old when he accompanied the family out to the Pacific coast, and since then he has been engrossed in the affairs of a busy practical life. Besides attending assiduously to the business which he has made a life occupation, he has also manifested much interest in community and county affairs. He is one of the leading and influential Republicans of San Joaquin county, and for a number of years has worked for the permanent advantage and power of the party. He served as deputy assessor of San Joaquin county for six years. He has been a Republican committeeman of the county for a number of years, and in May, 1904, was a delegate sent from the fifth supervisor district of the county to attend the state convention at Sacramento, held for the purpose of choosing delegates to the national Republican convention which met in Chicago the following June. He has fraternal affiliations with Stockton Lodge No. 23, A. O. U. W., at Stockton. In 1883 he became a charter member of Shady Grove Lodge No. 223, of that order, at Farmington, and was recorder for ten years, until the lodge consolidate with Stockton Lodge No. 23, of which he has since been a member of high standing.

Mr. Skiff is owner of four hundred and forty acres of the fine land for which the San Joaquin valley is noted. In addition, he cultivates fourteen hundred acres in the same vicinity, and his farming and stock-raising operations are conducted upon a large scale. He has been identified with this line of enterprise ever since launching into his active career, and already when in the prime of manhood he has attained an excellent degree of success and become known for his enterprise and ability throughout the county.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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