Messick, Otis M. (1837–1885)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller and Bruce Allardice

Type: Biography

Published: May 25, 2011

Updated: December 2, 2017

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.

Bruce S. Allardice, Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008). Confederate States of America Records, 1856–1915, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. R. Scott Gartin, "Field and Staff," 11th Texas Cavalry (, accessed March 22, 2011. Genealogical Biographies of Landowners of Grayson County, Texas from 1836 to 1869 (Sherman, Texas: Oak Room Emporium, 1967).


  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

Aragorn Storm Miller and Bruce Allardice, “Messick, Otis M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 25, 2011
December 2, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: