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Profiles from the Archives: George T. Skinner

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

George Travis Skinner was born on October 26, 1890, in the city of Kinston in Lenoir County, North Carolina, to John T. and Beaulah Skinner. George’s father was a merchant in Lenoir County, and by 1910 he was in the ice cream business. George Skinner served in the North Carolina National Guard as of 1908, and played in the Second Infantry Band of the National Guard—stationed in Kinston. He would remain in the National Guard through at least 1911. At the time of his draft registration for World War I, George Skinner was employed as a merchant at and a member of the family-run business J.T. Skinner & Sons in Kinston, North Carolina.

George T. Skinner was inducted into military service for World War I in Kinston, North Carolina, on March 22, 1918. He served in the 30th Division, U.S. Army, and was overseas from May 11, 1918, through April 2, 1919. Skinner served in the 15th Company, 4th Train Battalion, 156th Depot Brigade, 30th Division, starting on March 23, 1918. On April 24, 1918, he was transferred to the E.O.C., 105th Train Headquarters and Military Police, in which unit he served throughout the rest of his time in the war. Skinner was sent overseas to Europe in May 1918. He served in Belgium between July 4 and September 7, 1918. He also served in France between September 7, 1918, and March 18,1919. Skinner left Europe and arrived back in the United States on April 2, 1919, and was honorably discharged at Camp Jackson, South Carolina, on April 7, 1919.

After the war, George Skinner returned home to Kinston, North Carolina, to work with his father at their ice cream parlor, and would become the owner of the family business by 1930. George T. Skinner married Alma M. Phelps on October 4, 1933, in Wake County, North Carolina. By 1940, the Skinners were living in Kinston, where George was part-owner and salesman at a retail hardware store in the city. George T. Skinner died on June 30, 1987, in Lenoir County, North Carolina.

You can read George Skinner’s 1918 correspondence and 1919 correspondence online through the WWI collection of the North Carolina Digital Collections, a joint effort of the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina.

To view Skinner’s photographs from his time serving in the North Carolina National Guard bands, check out the George T. Skinner Papers Military Bands Photographs on the State Archives of North Carolina’s Flickr page.

To learn more about George Skinner’s WWI service, check out the George T. Skinner Papers (WWI 59) in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

This blog post is part of the State Archives of North Carolina’s World War I Social Media Project, an effort to bring original WWI archival materials to the public through the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ (NCDNCR) various social media platforms, in order to increase access to the items during the WWI centennial celebration by the state of North Carolina.

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the State Archives of North Carolina will be posting blog articles, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, featuring WWI archival materials which are posted on the exact 100th anniversary of their creation during the war. Blog posts will feature interpretations of the content of WWI documents, photographs, diary entries, posters, and other records, including scans of the original archival materials, held by the State Archives of North Carolina, and will be featured in NCDNCR’s WWI centennial blog.