Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

George Estill was about fourteen years of age when he left Texas with the Second Texas Lancers to go off to fight in the Civil War in the spring of 1862.

Charles B. Estill had recently married Mrs. Nancy Jane Fowler, who brought approximately twenty slaves into the marriage.

It is likely that George was brought into the marriage and that he became the body servant of Charles and his brother, Milton Estill, when they went off to war.

George marched to Arkansas with the men of the Second Texas Lancers, which would soon be dismounted and become the Twenty-fourth Regiment, Texas Cavalry.

George probably served his masters by cooking, washing clothes, helping to procure food, and taking care of the horses. He may also have dug trenches and helped build the winter cabins for the men.

George was captured, along with all the other members of the regiment, by Union forces at the Battle of Arkansas Post. He was sent up the Mississippi River to Camp Butler near Springfield, Illinois, where he was released, or liberated, along with five other Negroes in Company B.

George appears on a prisoner of war muster roll with the notation, Negro, Liberated.

It was the middle of the winter in Illinois, and snow was on the ground. George likely had little in the way of clothing to protect him against the elements, since the Confederates were not allowed to take extra clothing or blankets with them. One of his young masters was dead and the other in prison, and he probably had little incentive to go back to Texas.

However, it appears he may have made his way to Chicago, a population center which had a need for the cheap labor he could provide.

In 1870, the only George Estill of color in the whole United States, was living in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. He was working as a waiter at a hotel, along with a number of other servants. His age was twenty-two and his birthplace, Virginia. He was a mulatto.

You may view the Chicago census page here.

This is the Robinson Fire Map showing the First Ward of Chicago, where George Estill lived in 1870.

In 1870, sixty-four-year-old Catherine Estill, born in Virginia, was living with Charles's widow in Montgomery County, occupied as a domestic worker. There's a good chance she may have been George's mother.

George has not been located in subsequent census years, and it's possible he died due to one of the epidemics that were rampant in Chicago in the years after the Civil War.

If you have further information about George Estill, please contact us.

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 or by contacting Frank at [email protected]

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