Monday, April 22, 2013

Leroy Fouse Skaggs, 1845-1930

My brother and I intend to visit northern Arkansas and southern Missouri soon where we will seek out some of the sites associated with our Skaggs and Whitney ancestors. One of them was my Great Grandfather Leroy Fouse Skaggs who with Rosanna Pearce Skaggs, his wife, were the first Seventh Day Baptists on the Skaggs side of the family. I recently came across this:

From The Sabbath Recorder, Vol 109, No 12, p 356, Sep. 22, 1930.
Leroy Fouse Skaggs was a son of James Alexander and Maria Sterling Skaggs. He was born near Knoxville, Tenn., March 1, 1845. When he was yet a child the family moved to the vicinity of Bentonville, Ark. Before the Civil War the family moved again and settled in Green County, Mo., a few miles from the site of the city of Springfield.

At the age of sixteen years, as the Civil War had begun, he entered the service of the United States Government as a teamster and served for three years, helping to transport food and other necessities for the soldiers.

His educational opportunities were very limited, so far as formal schooling was concerned. However, he made sufficient progress in subjects usually taught in rural schools to be able to teach, and was engaged as a teacher for several years. He had a keen mind, good memory, a thirst for knowledge, and he spent much time in reading and careful study throughout the years of his active life. He often expressed regret that he had not been able to secure college and university training.

He was married December 5, 1872, to Miss Rosanna Pearce. They established a farm home southwest of Springfield, in Christian County, and near the James River. There came five children to this home. The first break in the family came in February, 1917, when the wife and mother died.
All the children are still living and were at the bedside of their father as he passed away, August 14, 1930. The sons and daughters are in the order of ages: Mrs. Emma Conley, Dearing, Kan.; Hannibal M. and Mrs. Mary Caughron, Clever, Mo.; James L. and Mrs. Harriet Grant, Milton, Wis. He is also survived by twenty-one grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren, one brother, James. G., Clever, Mo., and one sister, Mrs. Ida Forrester, Marionville, Mo.
Rev. Leroy Fouse Skaggs and Rosanna Pearce Skaggs

In youth he became a member of the Baptist church. In 1872 he was by that church licensed to preach, and in 1876 he was called to ordination to the gospel ministry. The original certificates are in the possession of the family.

In 1882 he became convinced that Christians should observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, and he added the observance of the Sabbath to his otherwise standard Baptist principles. Several other families in the community became interested, and a little later the Delaware Seventh Day Baptist Church was organized. The church had an active existence of twenty years or more and attained considerable influence in the community. Much of the time worship was conducted on both Sabbath and Sunday and many people attended who were not particularly interested in the Sabbath.

Nearly all the meetings of this church were under the direction of either Elder Skaggs or Elder W.K. Johnson. In 1889 the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society engaged the subject of this sketch as general missionary in southwestern Missouri, and his labors were continued in this field for about ten years.

Since the death of Mrs. Skaggs in 1917, he has lived most of the time in the homes of his son Hannibal and his daughters Emma, Mary, and Harriet. He passed away on August 14, 1930, at the home of his daughter Mary, near Clever, Mo. His body was laid to rest beside that of his wife in the local cemetery. The funeral service was conducted by Rev. Earl French, a Baptist pastor of Springfield, Mo.