Charles B. Estill was born in Tennessee in 1836, the son of Louise Boulton and Milton Estill a Cumberland Presbyterian minister who was born in Kentucky.
The family moved to Texas in about 1840; Milton was performing marriages in Montgomery County by 1841, and he is mentioned in Texas Presbytery records as early as 1842. The family was enumerated in Walker County in 1850.
In 1860, the family was living in Montgomery County and were neighbors of the Irvine and Gipson families. Charles was twenty-three, and his brother Milton Estill was fifteen.
On 19 September 1860, Charles married Mrs. Nancy Jane Fowler, nee McCracken. She was the widow of David Fowler and of his brother William H., who had served as county clerk of Montgomery County. She was born in South Carolina in about 1826 and was at least ten years older than Charles Estill and was quite wealthy.
In the Montgomery County tax list of 1861, Charles rendered taxable property of 250 acres in the Timothy Cude survey, twenty-two Negroes, thirteen horses, forty cattle, and miscellanous property valued at $300.
Charles joined Second Texas Lancers under Captain Wooldridge in the spring of 1862, as did his brother, Milton Estill and his stepson, Charles Fowler. He was enrolled by John E. George at Danville on March 29, and mustered in at Hempstead on April 28.
It was fifty miles from his home to the place of muster. Charles’s horse was valued at $225.00 and his equipment at $30.00
Charles was present at the company musters of Company B 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry beginning in April. He rode to Arkansas with the rest of his company, where he was dismounted with the others. He fought in the Battle of Arkanasas Post, was captured on January 11, and transported to Camp Butler Illinois, where he was imprisoned.
In Company B was a slave named George Estill, who was captured along with the troops of the company and then liberated by his Union captors at Camp Butler. It is probable that George belonged to Charles and Nancy, and that he served both Charles and his stepson as a body servant. Any further records relating to George are yet to be found.
When the prisoners were sent from the prison to City Point, Virginia, to be paroled in April, Charles was in the hospital and was too sick to travel. The notation on the April muster roll states that he was left in hospital at Camp Butler, Illinois.
Other sick men of the company were also left behind in the hospital, and at least one soldier, James McCan, was left there as a nurse to those men.
Sadly, Charles never made it to Virginia to be paroled. He died at the Camp Butler Hospital near Springfield, Illinois, on April 13, 1863.
Charles was buried in the Camp Butler Cemetery. His grave is in the Confederate section, #320. His regiment is incorrectly identified on his grave stone as the 30th Mississippi Infantry.
Thank you to Gene Schnierle of Illinois, who took this photo for us. See this page of photos of the Twenty-Fourth Regiment Texas Burials at Camp Butler for more information.
Charles is shown on the muster roll of June 1863 thus: Died at Camp Butler, Illinois, April 13, 1863. Use of horse one month, Gun six months, Transportation 160 miles.
Nancy, Charles’s widow, was enumerated in the 1870 census of Montgomery County. She was alone except for Catherine Estill, a fifty-five-year-old black woman. Catherine may have been the mother of George Estill, the servant who was liberated at Camp Butler when he arrived with the other prisoners from Arkansas Post. Charles and Nancy Estill had no children of their own.
For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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