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Born in America  Born in America 1797 – 5th Generation

Mary was born in Peru, New York, the youngest of twelve children born to Jonathan Irish and Deborah Wilbur (1st DNA match.) In 1794 Mary’s father, Jonathan moved his family to Peru from Danby, Vermont  where  the last three of his children were born (Jonathan Jr.  1794, Hannah 1795 and Mary 1797) In 1814 at age 17, Mary Irish married William Skeggs in Peru where their two oldest children, Elizabeth and Hester were born.

Quakers from Peru, N.Y. & Danby, Vermont settle in Collins, N.Y.

In 1821, thirty-two-year-old, William Skeggs and his twenty-three-year old wife, Mary migrated  with her brothers, Abel and Wilbur Irish and sister , Martha (Southwick) from Peru to a tract of land in the Southwest part of New York’s, Niagara County. A long the way they stopped at Oswego, New York where they met up with family members and friends from Danby, Vermont. Like themselves these other Quaker Families were traveling on foot to the new settlement in Collins, New York.

The Collins Story:

When the town of Collins New York was established on March 16, 1821 the population consisted of 92 families who had contracted for land in the county of Niagara.  Two weeks after its set up the town of Collins became the southernmost town of Erie County. 

A majority of the early settlers from the newly formed Collins were Quakers who walked the wilderness trail from Danby, Vermont, with packs on their backs and a woodsman’s ax as their only tool. A major part of the Cataraugus Indian Reservation was located in Collins, and the Quakers were well known to the leaders of the local Indian residents. Because of the Quaker religious teachings regarding brotherhood, the Seneca people received the Quaker settlers graciously.

Mary and William Skeggs had 9 children, but to date I have only found the names of 8 of their children (Elizabeth B1815, Hester B1817, Mary Ann B1821, George B1824, Sarah Jane B1825, James B1828 (Great Grandfather,) Sally B1834 and Aaron B1839.

Mary Irish Tombstone Mary Irish’s Tombstone – Mt. Pleasant Cemetery – Collins, New York

Mary died in Collins on the 25th of  May 1871, and she is buried in the Scrabble Hill Cemetery on Becker Road. It is a small cemetery that is now called the Mt Pleasant Cemetery. The cemetery is a protected historical site because two Revolutionary War Soldiers are buried there.


British Flag WILLIAM SKEGGS B1789 (2XGGF)

William was born in England and the exact date of his arrival to America is not known. It is very possible that he arrived to Canada first and then made his way south over the Canadian/United States boarder to Peru, New York where he met and married Mary Irish. William Skeggs’ and his wife were farmers and had nine children. They lived in the southeast section of Collins, New York called Scrabble Hill.  So called because they had to scratch and scrape to make their farm produce. Therefore the Skeggs’ family were land rich, but dirt poor! After working the farm for thirty-four years sometime in 1855 at age sixty-six,  William handed over the farm to his eldest son, George. By that time, his middle son , *James (Great Grandfather) had moved away and was living in New York City, and his youngest boy, Aaron was still a teenager.

William Skeggs Tombstone William Skeggs Tombstone – Mt. Pleasant Cemetery – Collins, New York

William died in 1868 three years before Mary and he is also buried in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

To date I’m at a DEAD END, and have no other information on THE ANCESTORS OF WILLIAM SKEGGS, but I will continue to look.



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