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Skiles, William West  

(Oct. 12, 1807-Dec. 8, 1862). Missionary deacon and pioneer monastic in Southern Appalachia. He was born in Hertford, North Carolina. When Bishop Levi S. Ives of North Carolina decided to establish a mission in the Watauga region of North Carolina in 1844, he invited Skiles to be the manager of the farm and the teacher of agriculture. The mission was named Valle Crucis. Within a year at the mission, Skiles decided to enter the ordained ministry so that he could better serve those who had been placed in his charge. On Aug. 1, 1845, he was ordained deacon. Skiles practiced medicine among the mountain people and worked in the missions. In 1847 Bishop Ives founded a secret Episcopal monastic order, the Order of the Holy Cross. The community was controversial because of its monastic character. It disbanded in 1849. "Brother" Skiles, as he had come to be known, decided to remain in the region and continue his missionary work. In the inscription on the altar in the Church of the Holy Cross, Valle Crucis, Skiles is memorialized as the "first person in the Anglican Communion since Reformation Days to persevere in the life of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience under Vows." The education and parish hall wing of the Church of the Holy Cross is named "Skiles Hall." Skiles died in Mitchell County, North Carolina. See Valle Crucis, North Carolina. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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