Biography of Major Charles E. Sykes
Erie County, PA Biographies

Major Charles E. Sykes is among the highly esteemed and well known citizens of Erie, where he is identified with the Volunteers of America. He was born at Carlisle, Pa., June 22, 1860, and is the son of William and Catherine (Miller) Sykes.

William Sykes was born in Perry County, Pa., the son of Henry Sykes, of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, who came to this country when a small boy. William Sykes died in 1884, and is buried in Nebraska. His wife, a native of Hopewell, Pa., married a second time to William Gibson, of Carlisle, Pa., and a mechanical engineer. She died Aug. 2, 1890, and is buried in Williamsport, Pa. To William and Catherine (Miller) Sykes nine children were born, seven of whom are now living.

Charles E. Sykes was four years old when he left Carlisle, Pa., with his mother and step father to go west. They lived for a short time in Fort Wayne, Ind., and then moved on to Oskaloosa, Iowa, and later to Newbern, Iowa. There they became part of a caravan consisting of 32 covered prairie schooners, which had formed along the way. When they reached Lincoln, Neb., it was incorporated as a boro. The trip required seven weeks and settled at Idaho Springs, Colo. It was here that Mr. Sykes received his early education and his step father engaged in the lumber business and became one of the prominent citizens of the town. Mr. Gibson was a candidate for the first house of representatives when Colorado came into statehood. After his death, Mrs. Sykes and her son returned to Williamsport, Pa., where he resided until 1892. While living in the west he attended the State University of Colorado in 1878-79. In 1892 Mr. Sykes went west again to Denver, Cob., where he remained until his wife's death in 1897, after which he took up his residence in San Diego, Calif., where he bacame associated with the Volunteers of America. During the latter part of 1897 he was ordered to Chicago, becoming attached to the Northwestern Territorial Division of the Volunteers of America. From there he was sent out as musical director of the traveling brigade in the interest of spiritual work. In 1903 Mr. Sykes was transferred to San Francisco, Calif., and remained there until 1906. He was located there at the time of the earthquake and rendered splendid service to the stricken area. Mr. Sykes was transferred to Pittsburgh in 1906 to the Central Regiment and since coming to Erie has, proven an active and willing worker in this good service.

On June 9, 1886, Mr. Sykes was united in marriage with Miss Alice Peeling, of Williamsport, Pa., and she died in Denver, Colo., in 1896 and is buried in Wildwood cemetery, Williamsport, Pa. To them were born three children: Charles E., born Sept. 26, 1891, an electrical engineer, Williamsport, Pa.; Louise, born Oct. 4, 1889, married M. Plankenhorn, manufacturer, Williamsport, Pa.; and Catherine, born April 22, 1888, married George Darlington, a banker, Westchester, Pa.

On Aug. 31, 1908, Mr. Sykes married' Mrs. Carrie Lawton, of McKeesport, Pa., born March 13, 1861.

Mr. Sykes is identified with the Democratic party in politics and is affiliated with all the Masonic bodies as follows: Knights of Templar, 32nd degree, and the Zem Zem Shrine. He lives at 212 East 11th Street. Mr. and Mrs.: Sykes have a wide circle of friends in Erie County and are well liked.

History of Erie County, Pennsylvania
By: John Elmer Reed
Historical Publishing Company

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