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A Tribute From a Distant Friend

Winfield Daily Courier - November 20, 1893

POINT LOMA, Cal., Nov. 10, 1893.

EDITOR COURIER: The last issue of your paper lies before me with a full account of the tragic death and imposing obsequies of the late Capt. Siverd.

After reading the many tributes to his qualities as a man and officer, I sat with the paper in hand meditating over days gone by and thus lived in memory through many scenes in which he was an actor. I said to myself, if it were possible to take away from the history of Winfield during the past thirteen years all the moral force exerted by Capt. Siverd in behalf of temperance and the enforcement of law—all the days and nights he had spent in assisting in bringing offenders to justice, how different might have been the result.

During a very intimate acquaintance of many years, my memory does not recall a single instance where he ever wavered in discharge of duty, and however dark and foreboding the future appeared, he never, to my knowledge, hesitated or for one moment despaired. You can very readily recall tiems, when, to the stoutest hearts it seemed as if the flood gates of perjury from the witness stand and jury box were wide open and to all appearance it seemed as if the law and constitution must be ignominiously trampled under the feet of the lawless, yet even then his counsel was always hopeful and he seemed to have a sublime conviction that the right must triumph and thus he worked and waited. How often I, as doubtless many others, have heard him in that weird, impetuous manner peculiarly his own, pout out his intense hatred of the demon of drink, which at one time had almost hopelessly ensnared him. I have always thought, that having felt the strength of its ruinous coils, he felt, to be safe, he must keep up a constant warfare, and that the language of the old psalmist,

"Yes, I must fight, if I would win."

expressed his conviction.

In many respects he occupied a wonderfully unique position among his fellow men. I don't think he ever had a friendship so dear that he did not at times risk it by some criticism. This propensity to tell both friend and foe of faults wsa perhaps his greatest obstacle to political preferment especially where he was not well known. To his most intimte acquaintances he was a constant mentor and as persistent as the human conscience.

One of his chief delights was in dispensing charity. Of slender purse and with a large family to support, his own gifts in money were necessarily small, yet I think it can be safely said that he was the instrument in giving more relief to the needy than any one man in Winfield, if not in the state of Kansas. Having been reared in poverty, he knew its haunts, every storm reminded him of the consequent suffering. Every epidemic told him the poor must suffer most.

The pinched cheek and shivering form were familiar to him and he never tired in his efforts for relief. What he could not do himself, he besought others to do. He knew the worthy poor and the charitable rich and brought them together. I recall one man for whom he distributed goods and money of much value in silent charity—that kind of charity that has its reward in the conscienceness of doing good, and not in outword provide.

Few men will be missed more than he, and very few have possessed the confidence of a community so thoroughly as he. His bitterest enemies never doubted his integrity or honesty of purpose and whether his life should have ceased when it did or have gone on for years it must have been sadly missed when it ended. My wife, who knew him almost as well as I, said, at once, on hearing the sad news, tht she believed if he could have had a choice, he would have chosen to die in the heroic discharge of duty rather than in the gloom of a sick chamber, or in the decreptitude of old age.

The saddest thoughts I have are that he was not spared to see his family grown up and in an honorable way for a livelihood, which I know was one of his chief desires, and that he was not permitted to longer enjoy that comparative degree of freedom from financial distress which had partially clouded so many years of his life. Just as the future years gave promise of a cessation of the anxious cares that had been his portion, he was cut down on the very threshold of a happier existence by the recreant hand of a worthless outlaw. It is indeed sad to contemplate and hard to reconcile to our human notions of the fitness of things.

May his family have the consideration they deserve from the community in which, and for which he lived, and may his children grow up and honor their father's memory and become as useful members of society as he was is my earnest wish.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum