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Richard Sykes was the founder of several North Dakota towns and one of the best known settlers of the state. Mr. Sykes was born at Edgeley, Cheshire, England, in 1839. He was educated at Rugby, the famous English school, and at the University of Heidelberg. In 1880, he visited America and in 1882 made investments in land in Iowa and in Wells, Foster, and LaMoure counties in North Dakota. He was the first man to purchase and develop by agriculture any lands in Wells County. His men turned the first furrow in the county and harvested the first crops. He was a friend to the pioneers in this country and had a big heart for those less fortunate than himself.
In 1883, he established the town of Sykeston, ND, in Wells County, erecting a store building and an elevator there. In 1886, he established the town of Edgeley, ND, naming it after his birthplace in England. He also established and named the towns of Bowdon and Alfred, both in North Dakota.
At great expense, Mr. Sykes built a huge dam and made an artificial lake at Sykeston, which he named Lake Hiawatha. It is two miles long and about a quarter mile wide and 18 feet deep. It has been well-stocked with fish and is now one of the best patronized summer resorts in the state.
Mr. Sykes did not marry until late in life, being nearly 60 years old at the time. He died in Santa Barbara, CA, in 1923, at the age of 84, leaving his widow, Fanny, and two sons.
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