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The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky of the Dead and Living Men of the Nineteenth Century, Cincinnati, Ohio; J. M. Armstrong & Company, 1878.
OWSLEY, JUDGE MIKE H., Lawyer, was born December 10, 1834, in Burkesville, Cumberland County, Kentucky. Dr. Joel Owsley, his father, was a native of Lincoln County; a prominent physician; was a member of the State Legislature for a number of years; died in 1869; was son William Owsley, a Virginian, a soldier in the war of the Revolution, who settled in Lincoln County at an early day; and as of Welsh ancestry. His mother, Mary A. (Lewis) Owsley, was a native of Lincoln County, and a daughter of Joseph Lewis, of London, England. Col. William Whitley, who fell in the battle of the Thames, was his grand-uncle; was one of the first prominent settlers of Kentucky; his daughter, Levisa, being the first, or one of the first, persons born in the State. Judge Owsley graduated at Centre College, at Danville, in 1854, and at once began the study of the law; attended law lectures at Lexington and Louisville, and graduated in the law department of the Louisville University, in 1856; in the same year, commenced the practice of his profession at Burkesville; established a large and valuable practice; in 1861, entered the Union army as Captain of Company J, First Kentucky Cavalry; was four months with that regiment, and was transferred to the Fifth Kentucky Federal Cavalry, and promoted major; participated in numerous engagements in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama; and, in 1862, retired from the service to take the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney, to which he had been elected. In 1864, he removed to Lancaster, where he has since resided; in 1868, was re-elected Commonwealth’s Attorney, and served till 1874; and in that year, was elected to his present position, Circuit Judge for the Eighth Judicial District. He is a Democrat in politics; has not been much of a politician; probably cast his first Presidential vote for Bell and Everett; and, in the Presidential campaign preceding the war, was Assistant Elector on the Bell or Union ticket. Religiously, he is connected with the Christian or Disciples Church. Judge Owsley was married, March 6, 1865, to Miss Ellen Letcher, native of Garrard County, daughter of Dr. Joseph P. Letcher, of Lexington, and grand-niece of Gov. Letcher and Chief-Justice Robertson.