Skinner was born into a wealthy political family; his father, James C. Skinner, was a state senator and clerk of the county court, and his grandfather, also named Harry Skinner, had served in both houses of the North Carolina legislature. Born near Hertford, North Carolina, Skinner attended Hertford Academy and was graduated from the law department of the University of Kentucky at Lexington. He was admitted to the bar in 1876 and commenced practice in Greenville, North Carolina. He served on the town council in 1878 before joining Governor Jarvis' staff and serving as aide-de-camp (1879–1886). He chaired the Democratic executive committees of the First Congressional District (1880–1890) and of Pitt County (1880–1892). In 1891 and 1892 he was a member of the State house of representatives. He chaired the Populist executive committee of Pitt County (1892–1896), was a member of the State central committee (1892–1896) and a trustee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1890–1896).
Skinner was elected as a Populist to the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Congresses (March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1899), but in 1898 was unsuccessful in his bid for reelection to the Fifty-sixth Congress. He served as United States attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina (1902–1910), after which he resumed the practice of law in Greenville, where he died on May 19, 1929, and was interred in Cherry Hill Cemetery.
- Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, Volume 2, Madison, Wisconsin: Brant & Fuller, 1892, p. 133
United States Congress. "SKINNER, Harry (id: S000468)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
William A. B. Branch
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 1st congressional district
John H. Small