Otis M. Messick, physician and Confederate officer, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 16, 1837. He and his three siblings appear on the 1850 census of Bath County, Kentucky, with the family of William M. Hopewell, an uncle. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1855 and rose to the rank of sergeant. After leaving the army, Messick moved to Grayson County, Texas, and practiced medicine. He married Susan Hathaway of Indiana on December 30, 1859. On October 2, 1861, Messick joined the Eleventh Texas Cavalry as a regimental adjutant. On military rolls he is listed as a lieutenant, though it is unclear whether he was officially in the Confederate Army or technically considered a civilian. In early 1862 Messick was dropped from the rolls but reappeared as a major on April 11 and was confirmed in this position on May 8, 1862. Irregularities marred the elections of the field officers in the Eleventh, so that Messick’s further promotions were disputed, and ultimately rejected by the Confederate senate. General Joseph Wheeler, head of the cavalry corps of the Army of Tennessee, resolved the dispute by appointing Messick to his staff as corps provost marshal. Meanwhile Messick continued to receive steady promotions—to lieutenant colonel in December 1864 and finally to colonel by April 26, 1865, when his unit surrendered. Messick received his parole on July 11, 1865, in Rowan County, North Carolina.
After the war Messick fled to Mexico, along with other Confederates. He settled in Tuxpan, became a merchant, and in 1883 served as United States consul for that city. While in Mexico he married Regina Gomez. He died on February 4, 1885, while on a visit to Brooklyn, New York, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery.