The Sand Creek Massacre
Rocky Mountain News Obituary of Silas S. Soule
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We'll never forget
Rocky Mountain News
April 27, 1865 p.2 c.1
Captain Soule’s Funeral
The funeral of the lat Capt. Silas S. Soule, Provost Marshal, took place yesterday noon, and was attended by an unusually
large and respectable procession, comprising the distinguished civil and military officers of the Territory and District, the
military stationed here, and prominent citizen gentlemen and ladies of town and neighborhood. The funeral service was
had at St. John’s church, Rev’s. Mess. Kehler and Hitchings presiding. An appropriate and affecting discourse was
delivered on the occasion by Rev. H. B. Hitchings, in which he referred with particular fitness to the deserved bravery of the
deceased and his devotion to duty – as well on the crimsoned brows of the Apache Canon, defending his country’s banner,
as on the streets of Denver, daring danger when disorder and the city’s safety demanded his official interference. The
speaker judiciously referred to good discipline and moral courage, as essential attributes of the good soldier, showing that,
in the exercise of right, the officer or soldier who obeys superiors orders, subdues fear, and dares greatly, does greatly,
and is the true “good soldier” – the proudest uniform that any man can wear. He refrained from speaking on private
character, he said, because that custom of publicly overhauling private character, in this pulpit, for either praise or censure
should be foreign to occasions of this kind, and “is better honored in the breach than the observance.” An idea embodying
both good sense and judgment.
As a military funeral, this was the finest we have ever seen in the country. The officers and soldiers, and L. Wilson’s
company, made an appearance of style and discipline most “military” indeed. A long line of carriages – almost all the
public and private ones in town – were in the citizen cortege. The officers in charge of the funeral arrangements did every
thing to make the funeral one worthy of the occasion and these Headquarters.
Deceased was about 27 years of age, descended from Irish parentage, but born in Chelsea, Mass. The family moved to
Kansas, from which State the Captain immigrated to this territory in ’59. His mother resides in Lawrence, Kansas, and her
property was one of the victims of Quantrel’s (sic) raid, when he sacked the city. With her and his young widowed bride –
who has thus been draped in weeds before the orange blossoms scarce had time to wither – we all sympathize in their
sorrows; and, while condoling, would remind them, that death is but the newness of another life; that murder may sleep a
season but never always, since Heaven watches with a righteous eye the malefactor’s march, while to the bereft blessings
have been promised.
(RMN report has a few errors: Soule was 26; He was actually born in Bath, Maine. Misspelling of Quantrill.)
A different quote of Reverend Hitchens’ eulogy, provided by Colorado State Historical Society contributor C.
A. Prentice, reported a slightly different interpretation:
“It is of Captain Soule as a soldier that I may say something without fear of encroaching upon that sacred private memory
that belongs alone to his widow, his mother and his friends. It is from the testimony of others that I must speak. By his
commanding officers I am told he was a good soldier, and how much does that short objective involve? It involves all that
can be said of a soldier. It implies that he had no fear of work, of fatigue, of suffering, of danger, of death. And was it not
so? Did he not in the darkness of the night, almost at the midnight hour, go out to discharge his duty as commander of the
Provost Guard of this city? Did he not go when he had every reason to believe that the alarm which called him out was
only to decoy him into danger? Did he not go when he knew positively that his life was threatened, and that weeks ago five
shots had been sent at him with deadly intent? Did he not go, feeling so certain that his doom was sealed, that he took
farewell of his young wife, telling her what she must do in case he returned no more alive?
“Yes, and there is the spirit of the soldier, and the good soldier, too; he did his duty in the midst of danger, did his duty in
the face of death, and fell by the assassin’s hand . . .”
Prentice, C. A. Captain Silas S. Soule, a Pioneer Martyr. Denver: Colorado Magazine, vol.4 May, 1927; reprint November/December 1935.
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|Captain Silas S. Soule
courtesy Byron Strom private materials,
Anne Hemphill Collection
|Ned Wynkoop & the Lonely Road
From Sand Creek
|Sand Creek and the
Tragic End of a Lifeway