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Fowlkes Tyler

Obituary of Henry Ashburn Tyler, Hickman, Kentucky.

Gen. Henry Ashburn Tyler, soldier, lawyer, statesman, manufacturer, financier, planter, philanthropist, is dead. The end came peacefully at the magnificent Tyler homestead, Oakwood Farm, three miles east of Hickman, Ky., on Monday morning, April 26. Like a tired child who seeks repose from a day of play, this great, good man fell gently to sleep amid the scenes of a beautiful spring day. The announcement of his death was a source of sorrow and anguish to thousands of loving friends throughout the entire South.

Henry Tyler was born on the 2d of April, 1838. He was a son of Austin S. and Susan A. Tyler, both natives of Kentucky; and his gret-grandfather, Capt. Robert Tyler, was the first Virginian ever in the State of Kentucky, coming out in the year 1769 with Squire Boone. As he was reared on a farm, Henry Tyler's first education was in the country schools and later, at the age of twenty, he graduated from Bethel College, Carroll County, Tenn. He read law and first began the practice of his profession in Hickman, Ky. He was eminently successful and practiced for many years. He joined the Confederate army in May, 1861, and served one year in the 5th Tennessee Infantry, afterwards in the cavalry for three years, until his parole at Columbus, Miss., May 16, 1865. His deeds of valor were a source of honor to him and a mark of distinction until his death. He was the most popular figure at the Reunions of the Veterans; and except for his unstinted generosity, many of the honored, but financially unsuccessful, battle-scarred survivors could not have participated in these enjoyable affairs, General Tyler's war record is one upon which he and his posterity can rest with justifiable and pardonable pride. No man who ever drew a saber, not even his own best-loved commander, Forrest, excelled him in dash, daring, or any of the attributes of a successful cavalry leader. He enjoyed the enviable distinction of having been mentioned for gallantry in action more often than any other officer in the Confederate cause, with its legion of brave captains.

General Tyler's war record is one that gives him a place in "Fame's eternal camping ground." "Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war," and there is one incident in the career of General Tyler in time of peace which to most men is an evidence of greater heroism and self sacrifice than any of his dashing deeds in war. In 1878, during the dreadful yellow fever epidemic in Hickman, when all who could had fled the city, he remained, organized, and was made chairman of a relief committee for the aid of the sufferers, turned his residence over as a hospital, and in every way possible relieved the distress of the stricken people.

Genral Tyler was honored by many marks of esteem by his people. He was for many years mayor of his home city; he also served two terms in the State Senate and was, by gubernatorial appointment, judge of the Kentucky Supreme Court of Appeals. And time and again he was chosen by his old comrades as Commander of Forrest's Cavalry Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant General.

On April 2, 1868, he was married to Miss Bettie Fowlkes, of Dyer County, Tenn., who preceeded him in death over twenty years; and of the three sons given to them, only one survives. His chivalry and kindness, his unselfish loyalty to friends, his fairness and frankness to foe, his scorn of pretense, and fraud, his disdain of tickery, his dauntless courage and devotion to duty, generosity, and high ideals crowned him at his death with imperishable honor.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, June, 1915.

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