Ezekiel Skinner was the only child of Ezekiel and Mary Skinner, born in Connecticut in 1777. When both his parents died, his uncle apprenticed him to a blacksmith, but Ezekiel’s sharp mind made him disinterested in the work. Through diligence he was able to redeem himself from the last year of his apprenticeship, allowing him to attend medical school. During this time he became an avowed deist, denying among other things the deity of Christ.
Ezekiel was licensed to practice medicine in 1801, married, and joined a Congregational church, through which he came under conviction and was born again. When the War of 1812 began, he enlisted as a foot soldier, but as soon as it was discovered that he was a physician, he went back to his scalpel.
After the war, he returned home, but began another battle – a battle for truth. He became convinced of Baptist doctrine. He was immersed, moved his membership and was eventually licensed to preach. He was ordained in 1822 and for 9 years served in the Ashford Connecticut Baptist church before becoming pastor of a second church in Westford.
On this day, January 7, 1803, a son was born to the family. In time Benjamin Skinner was saved and followed his father into the ministry. But Benjamin’s heart was in missions and he took his young wife and baby son to Liberia, West Africa. Before a year passed all three had died, falling to tropical disease. Upon hearing the news, 60-year-old Ezekiel, widowed by this time, determined to take his son’s place until someone younger could serve. Ezekiel Skinner ministered six years as a missionary in Africa before returning to his church in Westford. Eventually he resigned and moved to Long Island where he lived with a younger son. He passed away on December 25, 1855.