Estes, William E. (1829–1898)

By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer and Brett J. Derbes

Type: Biography

Published: April 6, 2011

William E. Estes, hotel proprietor and Confederate cavalry officer, was born on May 1, 1829, in Dickson, Tennessee, son of John H. T. Estes and Susan Hulet (Shulton) Estes. He married Nancy Louis Slinkard on November 29, 1846, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and the couple produced nine children. Estes enlisted as private in Company E of the First Regiment Mississippi Infantry on June 6, 1846, and was discharged as a sergeant on June 11, 1847, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The family resided in Bowie County, Texas, in the years before and after the Civil War. He was elected county treasurer in 1854. He held this office until 1860, after having been elected three times. He was a member of the local Masonic Lodge and owned two slaves in 1860. While living in Dalby Springs, Estes operated the Dalby Springs Hotel which offered "completed bathing rooms," a ballroom, and a dining room. He opened the hotel on July 1, 1860, and hoped to "keep the best house in eastern or northern Texas."

Estes enlisted as a major in Company H of the Thirty-second Texas Cavalry on February 19, 1862, in Boston, Texas, and fought in the battle of Nashville on December 15-16, 1864.

After the war, Dalby Springs was the scene of an infamous love triangle that resulted in the death of one of the participants. On July 18, 1865, Estes was elected to defend the accused murderer who was eventually found guilty by the jury and later hanged. The woman, who was the wife of the deceased man, had been kept tied to a bed post since the murder. The townspeople released her, and she left Dalby Springs. In 1880 Estes worked as a real estate agent in Jefferson, Marion County, Texas, and was married to Jane Estes. By 1900 they resided in Texarkana where he worked as a city tax collector. Estes died on September 21, 1902, in Texarkana and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Jefferson, Marion County.

Barbara Overton Chandler and J. E. Howe, History of Texarkana and Bowie and Miller Counties, Texas-Arkansas (Texarkana, Texas-Arkansas, 1939). The Standard [Clarksville, TX] 1860 (, accessed February 9, 2011.

Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephanie P. Niemeyer and Brett J. Derbes, “Estes, William E.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 6, 2011

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