Edgeley History

Taken from the Edgeley Centennial Book -

The father of our city was Richard Sykes, an English gentleman, who was born on May 11, 1839 in Edgeley Park, Stockport, Cheshire, England. He was educated in England and became a partner in a syndicate of investors. In August, 1881, he came to America to check on his land holdings and to buy more.

After extensive travel, he decided to purchase, for approximately one dollar per acre, 45,000 acres of Northern Pacific Railway land in Wells, Stutsman, LaMoure and Morton counties. There were, in his opinion, the best soil and nicest country.

Mr. Sykes returned to England and made arrangements to start developing the land the next spring. Working with his farm manager and fellow Englishman, Walter J. Hughs, plus 125 hired men, driving oxen teams, 3000 acres were broken and backset ready for seeding. This was the first farm development in Wells County.

Mr. Sykes also developed another bonanza farm in Edgeley. These wheat ranches add much to information regarding the soils and climate, and the advantages and possibilities of Northern Dakota Territory as a farming section of the United States.

Mr. Sykes continued to live in England, but made annual trips to the States. He loved the game of rugby football, and became known as "The Father of Rugby" in this country. He also pioneered in golf, introducing the links to the northwest.

Richard Sykes and Miss Fanny Walton of Boughton, England, were married on June 29, 1904, and sailed for the United States on their wedding day to make their future home. They were the parents of two sons, Richard and Edward Christopher. In 1910 Mr. Sykes and family settled at Montecito, California where he spent the sunset of his life. he died at his home on May 31, 1923, and was buried in Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Richard Sykes founded and named five North Dakota towns. He named Sykeston, after himself; Bowdon, after his hometown in England; Edgeley, after the place of his birth in England; Chaseley, after the English home of an old friend; and Alfred, because it was a good English name!

Several references are made throughout your book to Mr. Sykes generosity and kindliness. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word.