A Shudder Swept Through Them

An Identification of the Controversial Joshua Sykes

in Pneuma
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Upon hearing that baptism should be administered by immersion while invoking the name of Jesus at the Arroyo Seco camp meeting of 1913, one minister expressed concern that this practice would associate the early pentecostal movement with a man named Sykes. Who Sykes was has been the matter of some mystery, but this research based on archival holdings and newspapers suggests that it was Joshua Sykes, a pacifist preacher who lived in both Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Sykes represents Progressive era controversies in religion and in pacifism, and his history explains some of the early resistance to adopting this particular form of baptism.

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    Entry for Arthur R. Sykes 27 Sep 1896“Michigan Births 1867–1902” index and images Salt Lake City Utah 2009 2011; Entry for Marshall E. Sykes “Michigan Births 1867–1902” database with images citing Department of Vital Records Lansing. Detroit City Directory (Detroit MI: R.L. Polk 1899); Detroit City Directory (Detroit MI: R.L. Polk 1900); Detroit City Directory (Detroit MI: R.L. Polk 1903); Detroit City Directory (Detroit MI R.L. Polk 1904); Detroit City Directory (Detroit MI: R.L. Polk 1905); U.S. Census (Washington DC 1900).

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    Kevin StarrCalifornia: A History (New York: Modern Chronicles Book2007) 198–202.

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    See for example“Taxpayers Column,” Oakland TribuneJuly 26 1914 22.

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    Murray W. Dempster“Crossing Boarders: Arguments Used by Early American Pentecostals in Support of the Global Character of Pacifism,” in Pentecostals and Nonviolence: Reclaiming a Heritageed. Paul Alexander (Eugene OR: Pickwick 2012) 121–142.

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    Kevin StarrCalifornia: A History (New York: Modern Chronicles Book2007) 199–200.

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    WollenbergBerkeley: A City History72–74.

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    Joshua Sykes Entry 3743March 27 1921 U.S. Penitentiary Photos and Records of Prisoners Received 1887–1951 McNeil Island Washington National Archives and Records Administration Washington DC Microfilm Series M1619 Roll 2; Joshua Sykes McNeil Island Penitentiary Prisoner Identification Photographs National Archives and Records Administration Pacific Alaska Region Seattle ARC No. 608846 Box No. 13.

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