James Sykes (Continental Congress)

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James Sykes
Continental Congressman
from Delaware
In office
February 22, 1777 – December 17, 1777
Personal details
New Castle County, Delaware
DiedApril 4, 1792(1792-04-04) (aged 66)
Dover, Delaware
ResidenceDover, Delaware

James Sykes (1725 – April 4, 1792) was an American lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He served in the Delaware General Assembly and was a Continental Congressman from Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Sykes was born in 1725, probably in New Castle, Delaware. He married Agnes Bell and had eight children: James, Stephen, George, Nathaniel, Ann, Harriet, Lucy Matilda, and Mary. They lived in Dover, Delaware and were members of Christ Episcopal Church.

Political career[edit]

Sykes served as a lieutenant under Caesar Rodney in the Dover Militia in 1756. In 1776 he was a delegate to the Delaware State Constitutional Convention held at Dover. From November 7, 1776 until January 10, 1777 Sykes served on the Council of Safety, a body which was appointed to act as the state's executive until the Delaware General Assembly was able to choose the state's first President and Privy Council. He served in the Continental Congress most of 1777. Also in 1777, Sykes was appointed Kent County Clerk of the Peace and Kent County Prothonotary. He served in these posts for the remainder of his life. Sykes served on the state's Privy Council in 1780, and in the state's second Constitutional Convention in 1792 until his death. He was appointed Judge of the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Delaware in 1792 and served until his death later that year.

Death and legacy[edit]

Sykes died in Dover, Delaware on April 4, 1792 and is buried at Christ Episcopal Church there. His son, James Sykes Jr., served as Governor of Delaware, and his great-grandson George served as a Major General in the American Civil War.


From 1776 until 1792 Delaware elections were held on the first day of October of the year noted. Terms for members of the General Assembly began on the twentieth day of October. Members of the Legislative Council had a term of three years. Three State Councilmen were elected, at large, from each county.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Elected Term began Term ended notes
Delegate Convention Dover August 27, 1776 September 20, 1776 State Constitution
Council of Safety Legislature New Castle November 7, 1776 January 10, 1777
State Council Legislature New Castle 1776 October 28, 1776 October 20, 1777
Delegate Legislature Philadelphia February 22, 1777 December 17, 1777 Continental Congress
Delegate Convention Dover 1791 November 1791 April 4, 1792 State Constitution


  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Cedar Tree Books, Wilmington. ISBN 1-892142-23-6.
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark.
  • Martin, Roger A. (1984). A History of Delaware Through its Governors. McClafferty Press, Wilmington.
  • Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775–1815. Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
  • Scharf, John Thomas. (1888). History of Delaware 1609–1888. 2 vols. L. J. Richards & Co., Philadelphia.

External links[edit]

Places with more information[edit]

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