Sidney Sherman

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General Sidney Sherman
Memorial to General Sidney Sherman on main boulevard in Galveston

Sidney Sherman (July 23, 1805 – August 1, 1873) was a Texan general and a key leader in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution and afterwards.

Early life[edit]

Sherman was born in Marlboro, Massachusetts, a son of Michah and Susanna Dennison Frost Sherman. When his parents died, leaving him orphaned at the age of 16, Sherman moved to Boston, where he found employment in a store.

He soon moved to New York City, and in 1831, settled in Newport, Kentucky, where he engaged in the manufacture of cotton bagging. On April 27, 1835, Sherman married Catharine Isabel Cox (1815 — 1865) of Frankfort, Kentucky. They had 8 children. Sherman's business prospered, and he became well known and influential in the community.[1]

Texas Revolution and the Republic of Texas[edit]

In November 1835, a public meeting was held in neighboring Cincinnati to encourage support for Texas in her struggle against the Mexican government. A number of Cincinnatians and Northern Kentuckians pledged funding for ammunition and weapons (including the two artillery pieces later famous as the "Twin Sisters" of the Battle of San Jacinto). They left via riverboat to start their journey for Texas on January 6, 1836, with Sherman serving as captain of the company, which called itself the "Kentucky Rifles." Local citizens helped fund uniforms and donated a flag.

Sherman arrived in Texas in late January, and joined the main Texas Army gathering near Gonzales on February 3. On March 12, many of the new volunteers for the army joined with Sam Houston and were organized into one regiment, with Edward Burleson elected colonel and Sherman his lieutenant. With volunteers still streaming into Texas, enough men were recruited to fill out a second regiment. On April 8, the army was reorganized and the Second Regiment formed with Sherman as its colonel, though his old company remained in the First Regiment. Sherman led his troops at the Battle of San Jacinto, and they are generally credited as first uttering the famous warcry, "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"[2]

In August, Sherman became colonel of the cavalry of the new Republic of Texas and returned home to Kentucky to recruit more men for the Texan army. For his services in the revolution, he was granted large tracts of land as a token of gratitude by the legislature. When he returned to Texas in December, he brought his wife and her young 11-year-old brother back with him, settling near San Jacinto Bay and constructing a small home. Other family members soon settled nearby, although yellow fever killed Sherman's brother Dana and his sister-in-law. Sherman served in the cavalry commander's role until mid-December 1837.[2]

Sherman was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, from Harris County, during the Seventh Congress, November 4, 1842, to January 17, 1843. He introduced a bill providing for the election of a Major General of Militia for the protection of the frontier, which was passed over the veto of President Sam Houston. Thomas J. Rusk briefly assumed the position, with Sherman as his successor in mid-1843.

Later life[edit]

In 1846, General Sherman purchased 4,000 acres (16 km²) of land near Harrisburg and began promoting the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway (later part of the Southern Pacific system). He constructed a mansion in 1847, as well as a nearby sawmill. However, both were lost in separate fires within a decade. Without insurance and having lost most of his fortune, he moved to Galveston and opened a hotel.

During the American Civil War, Sherman was requested by the local Committee of Safety of the Confederacy to take full charge of affairs at Galveston, with full authority to put the island in a state of defense. In 1862 he moved with his family to his old home on the San Jacinto Bay and with them went former Republic of Texas President David G. Burnet. Early in 1863, the Shermans moved to Richmond, Texas, where they remained until the close of the war. Mrs. Sherman died in January 1865.

Sidney Sherman died 8 years later in Galveston. He was originally buried near his wife and dead son, but was reinterred in 1894 in the Lake View Cemetery in Galveston, next to former President David Burnet. The Sidney Sherman Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas dedicated a joint monument to their memories on March 2, 1894.[3]

Legacy[edit]

Sherman County and the city of Sherman in Grayson County, Texas, are named in his honor.

It was this Texian General Sidney Sherman (and not Union general William Tecumseh Sherman) who was the namesake of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, & Colorado engine the General Sherman, the first railroad locomotive in Texas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ San Jacinto Museum, commanders
  2. ^ a b Julia Beazley, "SHERMAN, SIDNEY," Handbook of Texas Online [1], accessed May 22, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  3. ^ Louis Kemp, Herzstein Library