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Interview with the Murderers

Winfield Daily Courier - October 30, 1893


Yesterday's crime in Winfield resulting in Captain Siverd's death brings a loss not only at his home but throughout Cowley County. An intimate friend of the writer, comrades we were; although almost always in opposition we always found him a man. True as steel to his friends, honorable in his actions, standing by his principles no matter who opposed, Comrade Siverd was a grand man in that quiet charity which sought the poor and humble and gave relief, and we know of no better, more fitting epitaph for his memory than the words of the Master: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." So in putting away for all time an honored comrade, a kind husband, a loving father, and good citizen we can only say, "Good friend and true hero, hail and farewell." A. C. Dispatch.

The Winfield Daily Courier, Monday, October 30, 1893.


Capt. Siverd dead. The mere announcement of the fact brings sadness and profound sorrow to the hearts of the people of this county. How much greater the grief when the manner of his death is made known. A faithful, conscientious officer, brutally murdered while discharging his duties, by a demon in human form. A noble, exemplary citizen removed from the scenes of usefulness by a scoundrel whose name will always be as hateful as the recollections of the great crime he so wantonly committed. A fond wife and loving children, robbed of the protecting arm which has been their shield and armor for many years by a heartless assassin who should receive no mercy at the hands of an outraged community. The rigors of the approaching winter will be felt more keenly by the worthy destitute of Winfield because of the death of their generous friend, Captain Siverd.

Captain Siverd was a man with marked characteristics. He was eccentric, but never a fool. He was radical, but never radically wrong. Though generous almost to a fault, he never encouraged idleness by giving alms to the strong and unworthy. His friendship was as strong and unyielding as chains of steel and his love for universal justice was his guiding star.

A. C. Traveler.

The Winfield Daily Courier, Monday, October 30, 1893.


The Murderers of Officer Siverd Now in the Cowley County Jail.

They Think Little of the Terrible Crime They Have Committed, but

Rather Glory in the Deed.

Their Statement Made to a Courier Reporter in the Wichita Jail.

Saturday evening, Sheriff Nipp, Deputy Sheriff Rothrock, and a COURIER reporter boarded the north-bound Santa Fe train for Wichita to bring the murderers of Captain Siverd from that place to Winfield for their preliminary examination. The officers accompanied by the COURIER reporter arrived in Wichita at 9:30 and immediately went to the jail, where they were received by Sheriff Ault, of Sedgwick County, in a courteous manner, and shown through the jail. Sheriff Ault has some forty prisoners in his care, among whom we noticed Hancher, the express robber. After looking through the jail, the COURIER man requested that he be allowed to


of Captain Siverd, who were confined in one of the cells. Sheriff Ault readily consented, and the COURIER man and Deputy Sheriff Rothrock had the following conversation with them. Norton and Wright were in bed, but upon being greeted by the COURIER man and Deputy Rothrock, they at once came to the cell door and talked freely.

Norton said that he, in company with Morgan Wright, left Santa Fe for Joplin, Missouri, at which place Wright made his home before going into the strip.

Several days before the murder occurred, that while in Joplin, they got into a fight at a bawdy house there and that both were arrested and laid in the Joplin jail for a couple of days and then paid fines and were let out. When he and Wright left Santa Fe, Norton says that they had $500 between the two and that after paying their fine, they "blowed in" the balance of the money against a faro game, and that when they landed in Winfield on the day of the shooting they did not have only a few cents between them.

When asked how the trouble commenced which led to the murder of Captain Siverd, Norton stated that as soon as he and Wright landed in Winfield, they proceeded to Frank Manny's joint on North Main street and began to fill up. In a short time after they had been there Marshal Douglass and Deputy Sheriff Rothrock came and searched them. When Norton observed them coming, he slipped his gun out of his pocket and hid it between a couple of bales of hay, and when Douglass and Rothrock searched him they found no gun. Norton then went down the street. In the meantime Captain Siverd had arrested Frank Thorp, Manny's cork-puller, and had taken him to jail. After going to the jail Siverd returned up Main street and Norton states that he, Siverd, stepped up to him in front of Cole's drug store and demanded that he go with him as he had a warrant for his arrest. Norton states that he refused to go on account of the way Siverd talked to him, and that he did not mean to let Siverd land him in jail. When they reached the corner of Main and Ninth—where the murder occurred—Norton saw Wright coming and called on him to help him and told him to shoot the s__ of a b____ and that the "kid" done as he told him to do. He said that he had helped the "kid" out of several scrapes and had saved his life a few weeks before at Perry when a gambler had got the drop on him.

Norton first stated that the revolver with which the shooting was done was purchased at Joplin. But when the COURIER man told him that Jennie Lloyd, a lewd woman of Winfield had squealed, he acknowledged that he and Wright had traded some bedding and a couple of hats to her for the gun. Norton said he knew that Siverd had a warrant for him but that the officer did not read it to him.

Wright was not quite so communicative as Norton, but finally said that he and Norton had "chummed" together in the strip and he proposed to stay by him. He said that he had left his wife in Joplin, Missouri, a few days before the opening of the strip and went to the border and entered the strip when it was open. He said that he had got into a row with a gambler at Perry and that he had shot at the gambler and hit a girl, that he immediately left Perry and went to Santa Fe, where he and Norton had trouble with a nigger over a claim. He also said that he had been arrested a number of times and that about a year or so ago at Oklahoma City he got into a row over a girl at a camp-meeting and that he got cut fearfully across the back and laid in bed three months and in jail three months. He said that last July at Independence, Kansas, Melt Cannon was murdered and that the people were going to lynch him for the murder, but that he did not have a hand in it and they let him go. Wright states that when he and Norton landed in Joplin that they had $500.00, but that they spent it "bucking" faro and paying fines in order to get out of jail. He also states that he and Norton had been drinking in Frank Manny's joint and that when the marshal came up to search Norton that he picked up the gun from between the hay and put it into his pocket. When asked where he got the gun, he said he had traded Jennie Lloyd some bedding and other things and she gave him $200 and the gun. When Norton was in trouble, he wanted to help him; and when Norton told him to shoot, he did it. He said he had no trouble with Officer Siverd, but that he did not propose to see Norton beat up any. Wright states about 5 o'clock the next morning after the murder he saw a face of fire covered with red whiskers come into his cell in the jail and with wide-open mouth come toward him. Wright pointed his finger at the face, but it still came toward him. He then raised up and grasped the face by its long red whiskers and said: "You s__ of a b____, get out of here, d___ you," and at that the face disappeared and has not returned. When asked if he was frightened, when arrested, at the thought of the people lynching him, he said that he did not care a d___n if they wanted to string him up; all he wanted was a fair show.

On the way home from Wichita this morning the boys did not seem in the least concerned, but sat in the car seat and told of the many tough scrapes they had been in and smoked cigarettes. They told the COURIER man that if the people of this city attempted to lynch them at the depot, all they wanted was to be turned loose and they would take care of themselves. Tom Wright, the father of the murderers, accompanied the boys from Wichita and feels terribly over the said affair.

Upon arriving here the prisoners were taken before Judge Ingman for a hearing; but the case was postponed until November 9th at 9 o'clock. Wall & O'Brien of Wichita have been engaged to defend the murderers. Sheriff Nipp will keep the prisoners in the jail unless an attempt to lynch them is made, when he will take them back to Wichita.

The Winfield Daily Courier, Tuesday, October 31, 1893.

Capt. Siverd Monument Fund.

At a conference of some of those interested in the erection of a monument to Capt. Siverd, held last evening, the following persons were selected as a general committee to take charge of the work of raising funds, procuring and locating the monument. The persons named are requested to meet at P. H. Albright's office on Saturday, November 4th, at 2 p.m., for the purpose of perfecting an organization.

The following are the committee:

For Winfield: W. P. Hackney, W. T. Madden, Rev. B. J. McKernan, Rev. J. C. Miller, P. H. Albright, E. B. Buck, J. P. Winton, John Riley, J. E. Conklin, Edward Pate, W. E. Otis, W. C. Robinson. Added later to committee: Capt. T. A. Morrison.

Arkansas City: T. W. Eckert, O. S. Gibson, M. M. Sinnott.

Burden: John W. Ledlie.

Udall: Dan Winn.

New Salem: Daniel Stiff.

Dexter: Henry Branson.

Cambridge: H. F. Hicks.

Geuda Springs: W. C. Barnes.

[Added later.]

Floral: E. S. Bliss.

Atlanta: S. Sweet.

Rock: Geo. H. Williams.

Note: Some names were corrected; some names were added to list in November 1, 1893, issue of COURIER. MAW

Cowley County Historical Society Museum