John Skynner (1762 to 1846) was Mississauga’s own ‘Master and Commander’. John was born in England to a family steeped in the traditions of the Royal Navy. He joined the navy as an ‘Able Bodied Seaman’ in
1795 and quickly rose through the ranks. He became a Full Lieutenant in 1802 and one of his first duties was to escort the Duke of Kent, future father of Queen Victoria, from Gibraltar to England.
During the Napoleonic Wars, John helped to protect convoys between Gibraltar and Malta, keeping the ships and their cargo safe. In 1808, the merchants of Malta gifted John a silver cup for his meritorious conduct to the convoys under his charge.
A 78-year-old John moved with his family to Merigold’s Point in Mississauga in 1838. Little is known about his personal life, but he was married to a woman named Joanna, 22 years his junior, and together they had six children.
John passed away in 1846 at the age of 84, but his legacy lives on in the presence of The Anchorage, his retirement home on the shores of Lake Ontario.
The Skynner Collection includes the Skynner Cup, a key artifact in the Museums’ collection, Skynner’s naval signal book, account book and a portrait of his daughter, Caroline Jarvis.