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Book- A Naval Biographical Dictionary
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Title: Book- A Naval Biographical Dictionary
Identifier: 2007.1.34
Item Date: 1849
Creation Date: 2008
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A book entitled 'A Naval Biographical Dictionary' by William R O'Byrne, published in 1849. The volume is 1400 pages and whereby O'Byrne describes 'The life and service of every living officer of her majesty's navy.' The cover is dark green. The front has an illustration in gold; a version of Britannia seated on a creature (front horse, back dragon). The spine has lettering in gold reading: ‘A Naval Biographical Dictionary by William R. O'Byrne, Esq. London 1849’. Written in the front flyleaf in a large script in blue ink is: “Stewart Jarvis from Aunt Florry Aug. 1935”. The dedication is: “To her most gracious majesty The Queen”. The preface (4 pages) notes that six years of unremitting toil were given to completing the work. Biographies are pages 1 to 1341. Pages 1342 to 1345 list casualties. Pages 1346-1376 list promotions, appointments, and deaths c. 1843 to 1849. Pages 1377 to 1390 list medals. Pages 1391 to 1396 list Addenda. Pages 1397 to 1400 are the Corrigenda (noted errors) plus additional promotions and deaths. Page1077 has an entry for John Skynner (d. 1846).

History: On page 1077, it reads about Commander John Skynner: 'This officer entered the Navy, in 1795, as A.B., on board the Bedford 74, Capt. Robt. Mann, attached to the fleet in the Mediterranean; where, and on the Lisobon and Home Station, he served, we believe, from the following Dec. until April, 1801, the greater part of the time as Midshipman and Master's Mate, in the Egmont 74, Capt. John Sutton. In that ship he was present at the evacuation of Corsica in 1796, and in the action of St. Vincent 14 Feb. 1797. After he had been for 11 months he employed in the Ville de Paris 110, flag-ship of Hon. William Cornwallis, Isis 50, Capt. Thos. Masterman Hardy, and, as Acting-Lieutenant, in the Nemesis 28, Capt. Edw. W.C.R. Owen, he was confirmed to the latter rank, 8 March, 1802, in the Amazon 38, Capts. Sam Sutton and William Parker. In her he brought the Duke of Kent home from Gibraltar, and then he returned to the Mediterranean; on which station he held command from 19 June, 1804, until 14 Dec. 1807, of the Hirondelle gun brig. He was placed on the list of Retired Commanders 10 April, 1838.' The book belonged to Stewart Jarvis. The Skynner and Jarvis families were connected through two marriages: Henry Skynner (1825-) and Mary Jarvis (1828-1861) married in 1851, and Caroline Skynner (1826-1916) and Frederick William Jarvis (1818-1887) married in 1857. Their parents were Frederick Starr Jarvis (1787-1852), eldest son of Stephen Jarvis (1756-1840), and Susan Isabella Merigold (1786-1852), daughter of Thomas Merigold (1761-1826), Mississauga's first Loyalist settlers in Toronto Township. See: Dorothy L. Martin's ‘The Families of Merigold's Point’ (Mississauga: Mississauga Heritage Foundation, 1984); Ann Jarvis Boa ‘My Eventful Life: Stephen Jarvis, U.E, 1756-1840’ (Montreal: Price-Patterson Ltd., 2002). John Skynner (1762-1846) was born in England in 1762 to a family steeped in the traditions of the Royal Navy as both his father and grandfather had been high ranking officers. Skynner immigrated to Upper Canada in 1839 and made his home in The Anchorage, a comfortable and stylish cottage on the shores of Lake Ontario. The property itself had belonged to the Jarvis family who had used the protected waters as a shipping point for goods to and from York (Toronto) and Niagara. John Skynner and his family moved into The Anchorage after his retirement from the Royal Navy. Skynner fought at the Battle of the Nile and later served in all of Admiral Nelson's campaigns except for Nelson's decisive victory over Napoleon, at Trafalgar. Captain Skynner was commanding his own ship, the Hirondelle, with the Mediterranean fleet at the time.
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