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George Preston Sikes  1836-1883

    George Preston Sikes was born on 30 December 1856 in Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, to William Wirt Sikes (1836-1883) and Jeannette Annie Wilcox (~1837- 1889).  He had one sister, Clara Jeannette (Sikes) Lang (1858-1956). 

     His father led an “unsettled” life and in 1870 his parents divorced by mutual consent.  He was raised in Watertown and in the 1870 US Census is shown living with his grandparents William Johnson Sikes (1799-1872) and Meroe (Redfield) Sikes (1803-1888) apprenticed to a jeweler.   At age 21, on 1 January 1878 in Watertown, he married Jennie Martha Lawrence (1860-1948) daughter of George W. Lawrence (~1828-????) and Martha J. Ballard (~1828-????) of Watertown.

     Their son George Preston Sikes, Jr. (1879-1960) was born in Watertown, but by 1880 the family was living in Buffalo, Erie, New York.  They now had their first daughter May (1880-1972) and he had begun his life as a printer. Next, the family moved to Denver, Colorado, where their daughter Edna Meroe (1888-1951) was born. In the early 1890s, doctors in Denver gave his wife a year to live and told her, “Go to California, if you care to, but there is no climate in the world that can save you.”  They moved to San Diego, San Diego County, California where fourth child Jennie Lawrence (1894-1972) was born.

     In San Diego, he was the first reporter on the “Evening Tribune” when it was founded in 1895. He founded the “Daily Transcript” (a newspaper for the building trades) when he had a print shop in the old Albien Hotel building on E Street according to his obituary in the “San Diego Tribune.”

     He continued in the printing business for 60 years and in 1927 published “By the Name of Sikes or Sykes – A Family Tree” that used material collected by his aunt Electa Wilkinson (Sikes) Lawrence (1834-1914). The booklet traces our branch of the family back to Richard Sykes and his wife Phebe in the 1600s. It also links our Sikes family to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of the  “Mayflower” through the family of his grandmother Meroe (Redfield) Sikes.  It shows Meroe as 7th generation “Mayflower.”  His says our branch of the family is also descended from Francis Eaton, his wife and son Samuel of the “Mayflower.”  I have never been able to establish this link.  He traces our family to George Bunker who owned Bunker Hill, through Sarah “Sallie” Eaton who married John Sikes on 7 September 1794 in Brimfield, Massachusetts.  

     George and Jennie celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a large party on 1 January 1938.  At that time they had 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.  Jennie died at age 87shortly after they celebrated their 70th anniversary in 1948.  George’s sister Clara (Sikes) Lang lived to age 98.  He lived to be over 100 years old and says he was never in a hospital until he went for a medical examination at age 98. He was the oldest member of the San Diego Old Timers Club. 

Linda Garrett Whitson 

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