October 21, 2013
July 23, 1805 - Marlboro, Massachusetts
August 1, 1873 - Galveston, Texas
Republic of Texas Army officer. Republic Congressman. Sidney was orphaned when he was twelve and tended to by relatives for four years until he struck out on his own, moved to Boston and found employment as a clerk. After saving some money, he traveled to New York City and tried to start his own business, but failing that, moved to Newport, Kentucky and opened a cotton bagging factory. This time a success, within four years he was prosperous, respected and married to Catherine Isabel Cox, with whom he would go on to have eight children. In November 1835, after attending a gathering encouraging support for Texas' rebellion against Mexico, he found himself elected captain of the "Kentucky Rifles" volunteer company, and by early January he and his men were sailing south. The Rifles arrived in Texas at the end of the month and joined up with the Army at Gonzales on February 3, 1836. In March, there was a reorganization of the smaller volunteer companies into one regiment, and Sidney was named second-in-command, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Several weeks later, so many volunteers had arrived that another regiment was formed and he was promoted to colonel and given command. On April 16, during the initial charge at the climactic battle of San Jacinto, it was he who reminded the troops of Santa Anna’s policy of ‘no quarter’ and that they would all be executed by the enemy if they lost. Rallying the men by shouting "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!", Sidney and his men led the left flank as the Texas army overwhelmed a larger Mexican force, captured Santa Anna and gained its independence. Four months later, he was still serving in the Texas military, now as a colonel of the cavalry for the Republic. After traveling back to Kentucky on a recruitment drive, he returned to Texas with his wife and her brother, and settled on land near San Jacinto Bay that he was given by the Senate in appreciation for his service. He left the military for good in December 1837, and tended to his estate and family until November 1842, when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1846, he built a sawmill and invested in wide tracts of land hoping to promote railroad construction near his home in Harrisburg, but lost everything in a series of fires. Uninsured and nearly broke, he moved to Galveston where he opened a hotel. In the early days of the Civil War, Sidney was asked to take charge of military affairs in the Galveston area and was given full authority to shore up the island's defenses. In 1862, he and his family returned to his old home at San Jacinto Bay, accompanied by his friend David Burnet, the ad interim president of Texas during the revolution. The following year, he and his family moved to Richmond where they remained until the end of the war. When his wife died in 1865, Sidney withdrew from the public eye and worked his property with his children until his death at the age of sixty-eight. He was first buried alongside of Catherine in Galveston's Old Catholic Cemetery, but in 1894 was re-interred in Lake View Cemetery next to his friend David Burnet under a monument dedicated to both men.