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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Owsley, Estel E. “Dick” (P1, C3, L12)

estill owsley photo editedCapt. Estel E. Owsley, 32, of Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky, Company H, 2nd Kentucky Regiment of Middlesboro, died at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, 11 February 1917 of pneumonia at Fort Thomas, Kentucky while on federal active duty. He took ill at Fort Thomas on Monday after the trip from El Paso, Texas, to Kentucky as the unit returned from duty on the Mexican border during the Punitive Expedition. His unit was in the process of mustering out of federal duty and would have been home in another week. Owsley was a native of Rose Hill in Lee County Virginia. He is buried in the Middlesboro Cemetery.

Capt. E. E. Owsley
Victim of Pneumonia
Town People Pay Tribute By
Turning Out To Funeral.

Three States, Middlesboro, Kentucky newspaper page 1 of the 15 February

Capt. Estill E. Owsley, aged 32, died in the military hospital at New Port last Saturday evening after a brief illness of pneumonia. The announcement of his death was a great shock to the people of Middlesboro as so few had heard of his illness. Only his brother Walter Owsley, was with him at the time of his death.

He was Captain of Company H, of the 2nd regiment made up of Middlesboro boys and had returned from the border where he and his company had been for the last six months doing border duty. Capt. Owsley had taken sick on the train while returning from Ft. Bliss, Texas, to Ft. Thomas, Ky., and the sudden change in the climate and the extraordinary cold weather caused pneumonia.

The remains were brought home Tuesday morning after a proper military funeral at Ft. Thomas, accompanied by his brother, Walter, and Garrard Ford, 2nd Lieutenant, of the Middlesboro Company.

Funeral services were held in the M. E. church, South, last Wednesday evening at 2 o’clock by Rev. C. A. Tague, Rev. J. L. Early and Dr. J. M. Roddy. Over 1,000 of the town people turned out to pay tribute to a soldier and beloved townsman who had died in the service of his country. The pallbearers were: Earnest Turner, Will Oaks, Alva Campbell, J. Erby Boyd, White Fugate and Will C. Star. His remains were taken to the Colson cemetery where they were laid to rest.

The deceased is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. Owsley, five brothers, John, Walter and Cecil, of this city, L. P. Owsley, of Alton, Ill., James Owsley, of Evansville, Ind., and two sisters, Miss Jennie Owsley, of this city, and Mrs. Mary Sloan, of Rose Hill, Va.

“Dick,” as he was called by his friends was well-known and well liked by the entire city. For the last eight years he had belonged to the State militia, serving in several capacities and for the last three years he had been Captain of his company and was well liked by the men under him, as he would go out of the ordinary rules of military ethics to see that his men were treated kind and his patience and indulgence with his company was commented upon as one of the principles why he stood in such good favor with the men under him.

Capt. Owsley studied law and was admitted to the bar, but had never given very much attention to the practice of law and some time before he was called to the border he had been employed by the Government as a railway mail clerk.


The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273

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