A biographical sketch of the life of James
Reed Syron was furnished
recently by his descendants when the 12th annual reunion was celebrated
by them. His father, James Syron, Sr., came to America from Germany in
revolutionary war days, accompanied by a sister. Mr. Syron married a
Miss Reed and settled in New York City, where six sons and one daughter
were born. John, William, Charles, James Reed, Tom, and a boy and girl
whose names are now unknown. (this article refers to James Reed as
"Jr." but his father was "James" - not sure the Jr. applies).
James Reed Syron was born September 25, 1789, in New York City.
The family moved in 1807 from New York City to Elizabethtown, NJ, where
James served until 1812 as Mate on a sailing vessel but quit upon the
death of his brother, Tom, who was washed overboard and drowned.
In 1812 he enlisted in Elizabethtown in Captain Elley Britton's
company of New Jersey militia on Long Island and in the latter part of
the year he served again for three months as a substitute for David
Jones of New Jersey. He had the pleasure of riding on the Hudsonriver
in Robert Fulton's Clermont, first steamboat.
While living in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas county, Ohio, he
became an employee of the Ohio and Erie Canal company and had the honor
of carrying President-elect William Henry Harrison from his home in Ohio
to Washington, D.C., by way of the Erie canal.
In 1821 he married Elizabeth Simmers, who was born in Hamilton,
Canada, in 1804. The Syron family caught the pioneer fever in 1846 and
started west with a few of their belongings in a wagon. They traveled
through Illinois in the guise of Mormons to escape molestation at the
hands of the Mormons and continued west to Oscaloosa, Iowa, where they
lived until 1852. On April 1, 1852, they joined a train of 21 wagons
and started west under the leadership of Joseph Metzker.
Following many exciting experiences, the train arrived in Oregon,
September 1, 1852, and settled in the Willamette Valley near Sheridan.
Two men in the wagon train lived to be more than 100 years of age.
James Reed Syron, who was past 102 when he died, and William Franklin,
who was past 103. James Reed Syron and Elizabeth Simmers Syron had a
family of ten children, six boys and four girls. Mr. Syron died in 1892
and is buried in Pleasantville cemetery alongside his wife who died in
1872. A son and daughter passed away in 1917, the last survivors of the
immediate family of an early Willamette valley pioneer, James Reed