I am a volunteer researcher for the National and Texas Peace Officer Memorials. On or about December 16, 1866 Victoria policeman Silas B. NEWCOMB was shot by a US Army soldier and later died. I am searching for any surviving family members. Any additional information or articles to clarify actual date of death - conflict between newspaper article and tombstone which was added later. It appears he was shot on Sunday 16 Dec 1866 and died on Tuesday 18 Dec.
An article in the New Orleans Times (dated December 31, 1866):
“The Victoria Advocate of the 22nd, says:
Silas B. Newcomb, a young man resident of this place, while on duty as a policeman, was assassinated by a negro solider with a musket, the ball taking effect in the right breast and ranging back in the direction of the left shoulder. He lingered in great agony until Tuesday morning, when he died from the effects of the wound inflicted. There was nothing on the part of Newcomb to provoke this murderous act, for according to his statement he did not see the negro until he raised his musket to shoot him.”
An article in Flake’s Bulletin (dated July 28, 1868):
“4th. The murder of Silas Newcomb, while in the discharge of his duties as policeman in the town of Victoria, by a negro soldier.”
4th. The murder of Silas Newcomb, &c. A part of the Taylor gang had passed through town, and at the crossing of the Gandaloupe run one of the colored soldiers of the United States army into the river, after firing at him several times, he being in the United States uniform. The negro, after swimming the river, ran to the camp and reported that he had been fired at because he was a United States solider. His regiment, who were all negroes, at once turned out and threaten to overhaul the town. An extra number of policemen were put on duty, and, among others, S. Newcomb, who challenged a negro soldier that night and was shot. Said negro solider was arrested by the civil authorities, and tried before Mayor Bradford, a Democrat, with A.H. Phillips (Chairman of the Democratic State executive Committee) as counsel, and cleared.”
Newcomb’s tombstone reports his date of death as December 16, 1866 (Sunday); however, the Victoria Advocate (dated Thursday, December 22, 1866) reports he died on a Tuesday (meaning December 18, 1866). If the local newspaper is accurate it is most likely Newcomb was shot on Sunday, December 16 and died on Tuesday, December 18. If the date of death on tombstone is accurate the newspaper was incorrect on day of death.
Silas Benjamin Newcomb was born on February 29, 1844 in Mississippi and according to his tombstone, died on December 16, 1866 at the age of 22. He was not married. He is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery, Victoria, Victoria County, Texas,. His tombstone reads:
SILAS B NEWCOMB
PVT CO A TEXAS CAVALRY CSA
FEB 29, 1844 DEC 16, 1866
US, Confederate Soldiers Service Records reports that Silas Newcomb enlisted in 1862 at age 18 in Waller’s Cavalry. Another service record reports he served in Waller’s Regiment Texas Cavalry as a private.
Tex Gen Victoria reported under Confederate Dead Buried in Victoria:
• Newcomb, S. (Grave unknown)
Ancestry.com has a family page – Robbins/Fawvor Family Tree. His parents are reported as: Phelemon Dudley “P.D.” Newcomb (1812-) and Elizabeth C. Drake (1828-).
The 1860 US Federal Census for Victoria reports Silas B. Newcomb, age 16, born about 1844, Mississippi. His parents were reported as P.D. Newcomb, 47, and mother, Elizabeth Newcomb, 32. He had six siblings.
Ancestry.com reports Victoria Advocate (Historical Edition 1968):
• “More Old Families. P.D. Newcomb, a carpenter by trade, came to Victoria from Alabama, probably arriving earlier than 1850, farmed for many years while pursuing his own trade.”