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Re: Sykes family around Springfield > 1794.
Posted by: Roberta DeVoss (ID *****1562) Date: April 11, 2002 at 14:18:46
In Reply to: Sykes family around Springfield > 1794. by Charles Sykes of 1120

Have you found the information you want yet?

I ran across this on the net. I have not proved it or checked it out but it certainly would explain a lot of my own missing spots in the Sykes genealogy. I took the liberty of breaking the write up down to assorted paragraphs for easier reading. While it contains a lot of information the style of writing is confusing and you have to stop and think who exactly is the writer talking about at times.

If you have not tried the Sikes-Sykes home page you might want to look it over. From my point this will all tie in with just a bit of work. Hope it might be of help to you.

Harry Sykes
History of Montana, by Joaquin Miller, 1894
USGENWEB Montana Archives, maintained by

Harry N. Sykes, a Montana pioneer of 1864, now an esteemed resident of Helena, who has done his share toward developing the resources of his vicinity and advancing the general welfare, was born in Niagara County New York, December 4, 1830.

His ancestors came from England to America in an early day, settling in New England in the history of which they played a prominent part and from which place their hardy descendants have spread over the United States, carrying with them that determination and ability so characteristic of their forefathers, to whom and their co-partner is largely due to the present status of this country among the nations of the world.

Great grandfather Nathaniel Sykes was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1730, his life being passed amid the stirring scenes of Revolutionary times; and knowing the independent character of the family it is hardly necessary to state that he took his part with the colonists in freeing themselves from the yoke of monarchial domination. The musket with which he fought the British at Lexington is still a treasured heirloom in the family, while that spirit which it represents is also their heritage. This noble ancestor
Died in 1791 after having witnessed the fruition of his hopes in the independence of the American colonies.

His son, Francis Sykes, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1763. He married Rose Bishop, a descendant of an old and wealthy New England family and in 1794 they moved westward to Springfield New York which town they founded and where they resided until their death, Francis in 1823 and his worthy wife in 1840.

Of their eight children, Nathaniel Sykes, father of the subject of this notice, was born in Whitingham Vermont in 1794 and was carried by his mother on horseback to New York. Nathaniel was the second child and was reared in Springfield and married in Cheningo in 1817 to Elizabeth Seeber. She was born in Schoharie County New York in 1795 and was a descendant of the Dutch Knickerbockers, belonging to one of the oldest families of the Mohawk Valley. Her grandfather, Jacob Seeber was killed in the Revolutionary War while fighting for the freedom of the colonies.

In 1835 the parents of the subject of this sketch removed to Chautauqua County New York whence they went in 1846 to Van Wert County Ohio.

In 1857 they again moved west, going to Missouri where the wife and mother died in 1862.

Harry Sykes continued to reside there until his death in 1872 at the good old age of seventy-eight. He was an influential and worthy citizen, prominent in good works and universally respected. For many years he acted as Justice of the Peace and during the late war was a strong advocate of the Union.
Of his four sons and three daughters there now survive three sons and one daughter, Eliza died aged eleven; Charlotte became Mrs. Perry Hull and died aged twenty-five; Francis was an officer in the Union Army, and was severely wounded at Fort Donelson--he died in 1876. George resides in Miles City Montana; Lorenzo lives in Vina, California, Harry N. is the subject of this sketch and Jeanette, the youngest, who now resides in Montana.

Jeanette has had a most remarkable and eventful career which savors of fiction but is intensely real. She was born July 29, 1833 and was married in Van Wert County Ohio in 1872 to Joseph W. Decamp. She removed with her husband in 1855 to Minnesota and thence in 1861 to Fort Ridgely on the Indian reservation, where in 1862 the great Indian massacre occurred. On August 17 of the last mentioned year, Mr. Decamp left the fort for St. Paul and on the following day Mrs. Decamp and her three children were captured by the Indians. On the 19th of the same month Mr. Decamp returned to Ft. Ridgely, which was for two weeks in a state of siege by the Indians. He was one of accompany sent out to bury the dead--about 1000 men, women and children who had been killed. While out on this mission this company was attacked by Indians and on September 1st the battle of Birch Cooley occurred in which all but eighteen of the white men were killed. Mr. Decamp was wounded and carried back to the fort where he died. After Mrs. Decamp had been in captivity for two weeks, she was enabled by the aid of a friendly Indian to escape with her children in a canoe down the river and returned to her parents in Missouri. Some years later she married Rev. Joshua Sweet at one time Chaplain of Ft. Ridgely and in 1867 they removed to Glencloe, Minnesota where Dr. Sweet founded a church. He died in St. Paul in 1874, greatly mourned by all who knew him. He was a man of talent and education, a prominent minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church who did much toward disseminating the Gospel in the northwestern wilds. Mrs. Sweet has had five sons, three by her first marriage and two by the last one. Wellington Decamp, the eldest is an esteemed resident of Spokane Washington, Joseph Warren is a miner in Helena; Benjamin E. lives in California; Charles N. is also in Spokane and Harry Whipple is now in Helena. Mrs. Sweet has borne her trials and vicissitudes with Christian fortitude. She is a lady of marked refinement and culture and enjoys universal esteem.

Harry N. Sykes, the subject of this biography, who has for a moment been obscured by his sister's virtues, was reared to manhood in the grand state of New York, his young life being passed on the home farm and in attending the public schools of his vicinity. He accompanied his parents to Van Wert County Ohio in 1846 where he married Henrietta DeCamp, a native of Licking County, Ohio. In 1855 this young couple accompanied Joseph W. Decamp and wife to Minnesota where Mr. Sykes settled on government land in the vicinity of Shakopee. Two years later, in 1857 Mr. Sykes and family returned to Ohio where he engaged in lumbering and later laid out the town of Middlepoint. In 1858 he went to Missouri whither his parents had preceded him, leaving his family in Knox County that State. In the spring of 1859 he went to Pike's Peak, Colorado where he remained a season prospecting for gold. He then returned to Missouri, where he remained until the last day of February 1864. He then started across the plains a second time; coming with Captain James Fisk and a small company to Montana. On arriving at the Little Missouri River the emigrants were attacked by a large number of Indians and for three days the white men traveled and fought, twelve of the company being killed. The men were finally surrounded but during the night some of the company stole away and succeeded in reaching Fort Rice, where General Sully had troops. He sent 800 men to the relief of the emigrants and the Indians were driven off. Sixteen days elapsed before the soldiers arrived, during which time the emigrants suffered greatly. Mr. Sykes then went down the Missouri River to Sioux City, Iowa, where he took a steamer to Omaha, Nebraska, thence crossing the plains to Virginia City, Montana, where he arrived in the fall of 1864. He mined here until 1865 and then came to Helena and in 1866 took up a ranch of 160 acres in Prickly Pear Valley, seven miles northeast of the capital. Until 1868 Mr. Sykes was engaged in freighting from Fort Benton and other places to Helena. At this time his wife and two daughters came out to him and after their arrival they settled on his farm near Helena. They were eighty-seven days in making the voyage up the Missouri River owning to the shallow condition of the stream. His daughters, Lottie and Ida are now married, the former to B.J. Townsend, a respected citizen of Helena and the latter to J.J. Ellis, a prosperous resident of Great Falls. Harry E. Sykes was born on the farm near Helena and is now managing that place for his father. The family made their home on this farm for a number of years, being greatly prospered, the father adding 160 acres to his original purchase and making substantial improvements on both farms. In 1887 the father bought a brick residence in Helena, where he and his wife now reside, surrounded by comfort and in the enjoyment of the society of their children and friends.

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