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George Watson Sykes, Sr.  1830-1865
and George Watson Sykes, Jr.  1865-1934

    George Watson Sykes was born 23 Dec 1830 at Suffield, CT to Alfred Sikes and Abigail Stebbins.  He grew up on the Indian Spring farm along the State Line and the Connecticut River.  He was the 8th of the 9 children of Alfred and Abigail.  The account book for the farm mentions George W. Sikes in Sept 1855 being paid 75 cents cash for help in tobacco gathering and on 8 Oct 1855 he receives $1.00 cash when going to Springfield with apples. 

     5 June 1857, George Watson Sykes was married to Lucy Jane Norton.  She was the daughter of Benjamin Copley Norton and Mary Billings and had been born in Suffield on 28 Apr 1837.  George and Lucy were the parents of 3 children; the oldest child, Alice May Sykes, died at 6 weeks old and was buried in the Old Center Cemetery behind the Congregational Church in Suffield.

     George was by occupation a carpenter and was known as a man of industrious habits.  He worked at his trade in Suffield for a few years after his marriage.  By 1860, he removed to Amherst, MA.  That year, he purchased 16 acres in Amherst, that had been owned by the Persis Norton Eddy, the aunt of Benjamin Norton, his father-in-law.  An unproved family tradition says that George taught at Amherst College or was somehow connected to it.  Their second child, Clara Ruth Sykes, was born in Amherst in 1862.  He continued to work at his carpentry trade in Amherst until 1864 when they sold their land and moved to West Springfield, MA.  In August of 1865, his 3rd child, George Watson Sykes, was born in West Springfield, MA.  Sometime in 1865, George had gone to Virginia, and returned to West Springfield, intending to move his family to Virginia.  But shortly after his return from Virginia, he contracted Typhoid Fever and died in West Springfield on the 23 Nov 1865.  He was buried in the Old Center Cemetery in Suffield, CT, next to his infant daughter.

     His young 28 year old wife, Lucy, was left a widow with a 3 year old and 2 month old baby.  Shortly after George's death, Lucy returned to Suffield with her two children and acquired the home of her father, Benjamin Norton, after Benjamin's death in 1866.  She raised her two children alone, never remarrying.  By 1873, Lucy had removed to Amherst, Massachusetts, purchasing a half acre lot.  By 1890, her son, George Watson Sykes, had moved on to the West.  Lucy and her daughter Clara purchased a home on Pendleton St. in Springfield.  In the Springfield directory, Lucy is listed as a nurse for many years, while Clara is in clerical work.  Lucy died at her home on Pendleton St. in Springfield, having lived as a widow for 50 years, on 26 Dec 1915.  She was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield, Massachusetts.

   During the life of George Watson Sykes, Sr., this branch of the Sikes family changed the spelling of the name to Sykes.  His son, George Watson Sykes went to Tomahawk, Wisconsin, where he married Genevieve Bishop on 24 May 1892 and they first lived in Minneapolis, MN.  In about 1896, the family moved on to Vancouver, Washington and he purchased a farm, near the Columbia River, outside of Vancouver in an area known as Ellsworth.  He owned a plumbing business.  He died at his home in Ellsworth (Vancouver area) Washington 26 Nov 1934.  Most of his descendants still live in Oregon and Washington. 

Sources: 1) Sykes family history compiled by Clara Ruth Sykes;  2) Sikes family genealogy, unpublished manuscript volumes by Henry A. Sikes at the Connecticut Historical Society, 3) Land Deed records in Hampden and Hampshire Counties, Massachusetts, 4) Springfield, Massachusetts City Directories, 1890 - 1915 and 5) Richard Sikes and His Descendants by Arthur M. Sikes, Jr.

Laraine (Sykes) Clark [2nd great grand daughter of George W. and Lucy Jane Norton Sykes and great grand daughter of G. W. Sykes, Jr. who brought our branch of the Sykes family out to the Pacific Northwest, where we have remained.]              

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