Sidney Sherman

Sidney Sherman

1805-1873
 

Information comes from research done by Margaret Hartman and the family files at the Campbell County Historical Society

Sidney Sherman became one of Newport's pioneer industrialists shortly after the city's manufacturing annex opened.  Sherman was born July 23, 1805 in Marlborough Massachusetts, the son of Micah Sherman and Susanna Dennison (Frost) and was orphaned at age 12.  He clerked at a Boston store for a time, then went to sea, resettled in New York, but finally drifted to the Ohio valley in 1831. In Cincinnati he united with a company for the purpose of establishing extensive factories in Newport.  This association, the Newport Manufacturing Company, was the first to put in a successful operation of cotton bagging by machinery.  Sherman was the first to introduce the manufacture of sheet lead west of the Alleghany Mountains and the first to apply the gas-spur to the iron horse in Texas. The sheet lead works was in Covington where he molded bullets for the military.

His brother Dana Sherman, bought property in Newport in April 1832, and Sherman bought a lot at Third and Monmouth in March 1833, where he built his home.  The citizens of Newport elected Sherman to city council March 3, 1834, and was on the committee to draft a code of by-laws and ordinances; later he was appointed to produce a town seal.  On July 14, 1835 he resigned and received an officer's commission in the Kentucky militia.

When rebellion erupted in Texas in late 1835, Sherman decided to join the struggle, even though he was just getting settled into married life.  He sold his real estate and manufacturing firms to  raise the capital needed for equipping a company of volunteers, the Newport Rifles.  He recruited 52 men and drilled them on the Newport Barracks parade ground.  A group of Northern Kentucky women presented him and his men with a battle flag emblazoned with the goddess liberty and the words "Liberty or Death".  When Sherman and his company boarded the steamboat Augusta at the Newport wharf on December 31, 1835, thousands lined both banks of the Ohio and sent them off with cheers.

The Texas Army mustered the Newport Rifles into its 2nd Regiment and elected Sherman to be their commander in March 1836.  The 2nd Regiment joined General Houston's outnumbered force at San Jacinto.  Texas independence appeared doomed as Santa Anna moved his army of 1400 against Houston and his army of 800.  Sherman knew they could suffer the same fate as those at the Alamo.

On April 21, 1836 Houston attacked their enemies camp and the only flag carried was the "Liberty or Death" banner.  As Colonel Sherman commanded the left flank and the only artillery pieces, he gave the army its battle cry "Remember the Alamo".  The surprise assault unnerved Santa Anna's forces and although Santa Anna tried to escape by disguising himself in a private's uniform, he was found by James Austin Sylvester, a Newport Rifleman, who marched into at bayonet point to the wounded General Houston.

The battle of San Jacinto ended the struggle and made Texas an independent nation.  The "Liberty or Death" banner has hung behind the speaker's chair in the Texas House of Representatives since 1933.  Sherman stayed in Texas and won election in 1839 as major-general of the Republic and sat for several terms in the legislature. 

Sherman took the lead in organizing the first railroad in Texas, and served as a general of the Texas state troops during the Civil War, in which Union forces destroyed most of his property.  He died at Galveston on August 1, 1873.
 

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