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Kuykendall Family


Abner Kuykendall

Abner Kuykendall, Capt. Robert H. Kuykendall's older brother, was elected head of all the militia for the Austin Colony. Abner and brother Joseph Kuykendall were granted leagues of land on the west side of the Brazos River south of Richmond in what is now Fort Bend County. Their league joined those of Wiley Martin and Jane Long. By 1834 the Kuykendall brothers had become celebrated as colonists, hunters and Indian fighters. They were among the most popular of the colonists. While drunk,  Joseph Clayton became angry and stabbed Captain Abner Kuykendall in the neck. The knife blade broke off, causing Abner's death from lockjaw. Joseph Clayton soon was put on trial for murder, quickly convicted, and given the death sentence by hanging. This was the only legal execution in Austin colony. Mrs. McCroskey states in her papers:

Captains Robert and Abner Kuykendall were both dead in 1836 and brother Joe was a cripple. There was a feud between the Kuykendall's and Houston that must have started in Tennessee. The Kuykendall's were going to the rescue of Goliad and the Alamo. Houston threatened court-martial for them and every man who followed them. After those two massacres, because reinforcements did not arrive, the victory of San Jacinto saved Houston and made a hero of him. Even at the battle of San Jacinto he left all the Kuykendalls and their troops, including Capt. Gibson Kuykendall, Abner's son, at the river guarding the supplies and only one Kuykendall was in the thick of the 30 minute fight. Had Houston and his forces been routed, those further back guarding supplies would have saved the day, so some historians say. It is said that had not Captain Abner Kuykendall been killed that he, and not Sam Houston, would have been the liberator of Texas, for Abner was over all military forces and had been since the colony was first started, and was Austin's close friend.

Robert H. Kuykendall

Robert H. Kuykendall was born in Henderson County, Kentucky, in 1788 to Adam and Mary Hardin Kuykendall. The Kuykendall family came to New York from Holland in 1646. Each Kuykendall generation migrated progressively southward. Robert was a sixth-generation American.

Kuykendall came into East Texas from the Arkansas Territory in 1821 was joined by his brothers Abner, Joseph and Benjamin. Robert married Sarah Gilliland in 1814, and they had six children: Robert H., Jr., Mary, Jane, Joseph Gilliland and twins Thomas and Albert Benjamin.

In 1822, Robert Kuykendall was in a party of men sent to the mouth of the Colorado River to pick up supplies and to lead the group in an Indian fight at Skull Creek. He became captain of the colonial militia in December, 1822. He also served as alcalde of the Colorado District in 1824.

As one of Stephen F. Austin's "Old Three Hundred" colonists, Captain Kuykendall received two leagues of land in Wharton County as Spanish land grants. Austin recommended that Robert be granted an additional league of land because of his services during the early days of the colony.

Capt. Kuykendall and his family moved to Matagorda in 1830 to put his children in school. He borrowed money from Stephen F. Austin to pay the teacher, Mr. Wightman. His estate later pay this debt.

Robert had been totally blind for several years before 1830, because of a blow to the head he received in an Indian fight. In late 1831 he died and was buried in Matagorda Cemetery.

The twin sons, Ben and Thomas Kuykendall were born on January 21, 1829 in prison for the County. Thomas Mary Sarah and Gainer in Jackson County on December 7, 1850. Sarah was the daughter of Redden and Permelia Taylor Gainer Ann was born in the San Augustine District in 1833.

Thomas and Sarah Kuykendall lived in Wharton and Matagorda Counties and raise five children: Benjamin, Annie, Emma, Willie and Mattie.

Thomas died January 11, 1904, and Sarah Ann died in 1910. Both were buried near Tres Palacios Creek and a few miles from Hawley Cemetery.

Mattie Kuykendall married John Harrison McCrosky.

Donna McCrosky Johnson

Benjamin Warner Kuykendall

Mr. Benjamin Warner Kuykendall, a life long citizen of Matagorda County, died at Wharton Saturday, May 11, and was buried in the Hawley Cemetery near Blessing yesterday afternoon. At the time of his death he was 63 years of age.

Four sisters, Mrs. J. H. McCrosky and Miss Emma Kuykendall, of this county, Mrs. Harry Gainer of Victoria and Mrs. R. H. ___ of Wharton survive him.

Mr. Kuykendall was a member of one of Matagorda County’s oldest families and was born and raised in the county, where he had many friends and acquaintances. He was laid to rest in the family plot of the
Hawley Cemetery yesterday afternoon by loving friends and members of the family who accompanied the remains to the burial place after the arrival of the Southern Pacific train from Wharton.

The Matagorda County Tribune, May, 1918


Miss Emma Kuykendall, a resident of Matagorda County for a lifetime, passed away at the home of Mr. J. H. McCroskey at Markham Sunday morning at 9:30 o'clock.

Funeral services will be held at
 Hawley Cemetery Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock. Rev. Mr. Thompson, pastor of the Methodist Church in Markham officiating. Funeral arrangements under directions of Walker-Matchett.

THE MATAGORDA COUNTY TRIBUNE, Thursday, December 26, 1935, Matagorda County, Texas

Sarah Ann Gilliland Kuykendall

Sarah Ann Gilliland Kuykendall, wife of Robert H. Kuykendall, Sr., was born in Tennessee on December 4, 1787, and married Robert H. at Red Hill, Arkansas, in 1814. She and Robert H. had six children: Robert H., Jr., Mary, Jane, Joseph F. K., and the twins, Albert Benjamin and Thomas. On August 6, 1830, Robert H., Sr., gave power of attorney to his brother, Joseph K., in all matters canceling the one given to Richard C. Patten of Arkansas (probably pertaining to their law suit against the United States Government). Robert must have died shortly thereafter, as the later records reflect. The Colorado County Court then appointed Joseph K. and Abner K. as administrator of the estate. Robert H., Jr. was made guardian of the minor children. The two leagues of land, lots in Matagorda, and cattle were divided among Sarah and her children.

Sarah, Robert's widow, married Peter Kensie [also spelled Kinsey] around 1833. Sarah Ann Gilliland Kuykendall Kensie gave power of attorney to William Casneau, with other considerations, to obtain the league of land belonging to her deceased husband, Peter Kensie. (No death date is known for Kensie.) He had come from Kentucky to Texas about 1830. Sarah and Peter had one child, Sarah Ann, who married John Moore on May 26, 1845. John Moore died leaving two minor sons, Ford and Benjamin Moore to Sarah Ann, who lived on Tres Palacios Creek in Matagorda County.

After Peter Kensie died, Sarah Ann Gilliland Kuykendall Kensie married Thomas J. Tone on December 31, 1837. Thomas J. Tone was deputy surveyor under E. R. Wightman and also administrator of Peter Kensie's estate. Tone died without children and his widow, Sarah, asked for the administration papers of the Tone estate in 1853. Sarah later went to live with her daughter, Sarah Ann Kensie Moore, in her home on Tres Palacios Creek. Sarah died there after a short illness and was buried in the Moore Family Cemetery in 1857. This, and many other graves later were moved to the noted old Hawley Church Cemetery (Deming's Bridge). It is the oldest grave in the cemetery and is in the Moore plot with a headstone that reads:

Robert H. Kuykendall, Jr.

Robert H. Kuykendall, Jr., was born at Red Hill, Arkansas, in 1850, and moved to Texas in July of 1825. He married Electra Shannon on November 7, 1837. There is a discrepancy over their marriage dates. They were married under Mexican law some time earlier, but as was the custom after the revolution of 1836, many families were remarried by their Protestant ministers, hence the 1837 date. Little is known about Electra-- no birth or death dates. There is a land request, however, on June 1, 1835, by Robert and Electra requesting land "on Buffalo Bayou west above Reinerman." Land grant #82 by the Board of Land for the County of Fort Bend did grant a request on February 1, 1838. Robert H. Kuykendall, Jr., sold at the same day to one George M. Dolson, signed by Wylie Martin, Chief Justice, Ex officio Notary Public, Fort Bend County.

Also bounty land was given to Robert, Jr., for his service during the Texas Revolution of 1836. Kuykendall received bounty warrant #600 for 320 acres for service from March 7, to June 7, 1836. Three hundred twenty acres in Fort Bend County were paid to Randolf Foster, assigned February 25, 1841.

Robert and Electra had two sons, Robert H. Kuykendall, born in 1838 and Wylie Martin Kuykendall, born October 22, 1839. At the courthouse in Fort Bend County are many documents that concern Robert H. Kuykendall, Jr. He purchased lands from John Fitzgerald east of the Brazos River on Oyster Creek.

In the probate minutes of November 30, 1839, Republic of Texas v. R. H. Kuykendall, he is charged with affray ( a brawl or disturbance of the peace) and he acknowledges that he is indebted to the president of the Republic of Texas in the amount of $500. Wylie Martin, who later became a probate judge of Fort Bend County, was a neighbor of Robert Kuykendall and apparently a good friend, because his name appears many times in court records and on deeds that concern Robert. Usually children were named after relatives, but in this case, one can presume that Robert named his second son after his friend, Wiley Martin.

Nothing can be found regarding Electra Shannon Kuykendall's death, but records show that the widower, Robert, married Matilda Earp on May 30, 1844, and they had one daughter, Jane. Robert H. Kuykendall, Jr. met an untimely death in 1946. He was ambushed by Indians while returning from a trip to San Antonio. On January 12, 1847, Matilda filed a petition that her husband, Robert H., was dead. On November 2, 1847, Ichabod Earp, brother to Matilda, petitioned for the guardianship over the persons and property of Robert H., III and Wylie Martin Kuykendall, minors of Robert H. Kuykendall, Jr. it may be assumed that he did not win his petition since 1850 census of Fort Bend County shows that the two orphan boys, Robert H., III and Wylie Kuykendall, are living with their great-uncle, Joseph Kuykendall.

Wylie Kuykendall

Susan Pierce Kuykendall

Wylie Martin Kuykendall

Wylie Martin Kuykendall was born in Fort Bend County, Texas on October 22, 1839, to Robert H., Jr. and Electra Shannon Kuykendall. He was named for the family friend and prominent colonist, Wiley Martin. Robert H., Jr. failed to return from a trip and was presumed killed by the Indians sometime in 1846. Wylie went to live for a while with his great-uncle, Joe Kuykendall. When he was eleven years old, he went to Matagorda County to live with his grandmother, Susan K. Tone.

Kuykendall entered the ranching business at an early age. He was driving cattle when only ten years old and at twelve he was trailing cattle to Missouri. Bill Hurnden, the owner of the herd of 700 head, paid him $25 per month. When Quincy, Illinois, was reached, 600 head were marketed. That was in 1857, nearly twenty years before the big drives to the North from Texas. The land between the coast country of Texas and Missouri was a wilderness, infested by hostile bands of Indians. Buffalo and deer were to be seen by the thousands. Since history states that most of the great drives took place after the Civil War--not before--Wylie obviously was making long cattle drives much earlier than most.

In 1858 Kuykendall began ranching in Matagorda with 5,000 head of stock. When the Civil War erupted in 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate army, serving throughout the conflict in Texas and Louisiana. After the close of this struggle, he spent several years rounding up ownerless cattle of the plains as the nucleus of his herd.

Wiley M. Kuykendall joined the Confederate army on August 10, 1862, at Camp H. E. McCulloch, Texas, in Captain James C. Borden's Company (also known as "Company D"), Yager's Battalion, Texas Mounted Volunteers. His name appears on the company Muster Report for March, 1863. If there is a record of where he served, it is unknown.

In late 1865 or early 1866, Wylie went to work for Abel Head "Shanghai"  Pierce as a trail boss. When he first heard that Wylie was courting his sister, "Shanghai" stated that he wanted a trail boss not a brother-in-law and that sister Susan better watch out because "Mr. Wylie" occasionally had "Kuykendall fits." These "Kuykendall fits" were probably caused by the fact that "Mr. Wiley" was a heavy drinker. In the minutes of the Trespalacios Baptist Church, Wylie was admitted and thrown out--depending on the mood of the elders--and the sobriety, or lack of it, of himself. He was excluded from the church on March 4, 1860, because he refused to make reconciliation.

On April 22, 1869, Wylie Kuykendall married Susan E. Pierce, daughter of Jonathan D. and Hanna Pierce of Little Compton, Rhode Island. Susan was the sister of Abel Head "Shanghai" and Jonathan Edwards Pierce.

Wylie and Susan began their married life on a 400-acre ranch near Deming's Bridge, Tres Palacios River. Susan, like all women of the period, kept the place running and tended the children while Wylie was on the many cattle drives "up the trail."

With the opening of the northern markets in the early 1870s, Matagorda County cattlemen saw an unusual opportunity to make good money. Prior to that time, thousands of head of cattle in that section were killed for their hides and tallow only--not for meat. Kuykendall trailed cattle to Kansas and Missouri and made a profit on every trip. In 1886 he began raising registered stock, purchasing a herd of registered Herefords for this purpose. In later years he dealt solely in Brahman cattle breeds.

In 1887 Wiley and Susan bought one-half of the Cox League on the Colorado River, now known as the Buckeye Ranch. They had four children: Robert Gill, May 15, 1870-December 19, 1905; Isaac B., October 15, 1874-June 23, 1875; Isaac G., June 19, 1876-December 1, 1896; and Ella M., April 15, 1883-January 28, 1965. In 1901, because of Wylie's health, he and his son, Robert Gill, decided to move away from the coastal climate. They bought 11,000 acres west of Buda, Hays County, on Onion Creek. Wylie bought 5,000 acres just south of it on the Blanco River in Hays County and a small place on the river just outside of Kyle. "Mr. K.," as he was called, and "Miss Susan," kept a home in San Marcos and stayed there most of the time.

Wylie Kuykendall died in San Marcos on January 31, 1920, and Susan died September 26, 1920, around either Ashby or Blessing. Both were buried in the old Hawley Cemetery next to their three children.



Wylie Kuykendall Dead

News was phoned to this city from Blessing today in which it was stated that Mr. Wylie Kuykendall, a pioneer citizen of this county, had died at Cuero yesterday.

The remains have been shipped to Blessing and will be buried in the family plot in Hawley Cemetery tomorrow.

Matagorda County Tribune, February 6, 1920

Wylie Kuykendall Family


Mr. and Mrs. Wylie Kuykendall

Mr. Wiley M. Kuykendall is a native of Fort Bend county, born on the Brazos river 77 years ago. His parents, the Kuykendalls who were among Austin’s first colonists in 1822, died soon after getting the farm home improved, leaving one of Texas’ first natives to hustle for himself at the tender age of 6 years. At about the age of seven years the lad drifted into Matagorda county and worked his way among the hardships of western life, until fortune threw him in with that veteran ranchman, A. H. Pierce, better known all over South Texas as Shanghai Pierce, from which time on Fortune dealt kindly with the young Texan–very kindly when in 1869 he woed and won Miss Pierce, the only sister of A. H. and J. E. Pierce.

Miss Pierce was something of cow-rancher herself. Educated at her home town in Rhode Island, she came to Texas in 1867, following her brother A. H. who came in 1853 and J. E. in 1860. Her friends tell us her first years in Texas was the life of a genuine cow-girl as picturesque as any of the heroines of the magazines or movies. She could ride and shoot equal to the cow-boy, invested her first earnings in land on which Buckeye now stands, paying 10 cts an acre for it, and then she bought calves to grow and multiply on the fine grass, and she looked after her own branding and roundups. But it is presumed stopped those activities when in ’69 she took from her brother the best ranch boss in all this country. Mrs. Kuykendall certainly doesn’t appear to have passed through as many winters on the range as she admits (75), and then they must have been very mild ones or mostly summers. She is full of life, vivacious and a charming conversationalist, always entertaining.

Mr. Kuykendall, not only has served a full half century of activities on the range, but seasoned his young manhood with four years of service for the Confederacy in the civil war, most of the time in Yeager’s North Texas regiment and Gen. Buchell’s brigade in the Louisiana campaign.

Mr. Kuykendall relates an interesting incident of his first drive of cattle to northern markets, along in the early seventies. It was the custom of the Indian tribes to exact toll of the herds crossing their reservations, and where their demands were refused, they would stampede the herd during the night. Mr. Kuykendall says that as they were crossing the Comanche lands and just about time they were stopping for the night he saw standing on their horses 20 figures silhouetted against the sky, and these figures cautiously advancing proved to be a score of Comanche braves, with a demand for ten beeves. Mr. Kuykendall played “no understand,” and remembering that “the surest way to a man’s heart (or head) is through his stomach,” he called his camp cook and took him to cook plenty of supper; and he saw to it that the braves were well filled, refusing all the time to understand the chief’s desires. After the feast, however, Mr. Kuykendall told the chief he could not talk Comanche and asked if one of them could talk Spanish, and finding among them one who could he opened negotiations through the interpreter. Having been well fed and feeling lazily comfortable the chief soon fell from ten to eight, and then reduced his toll exaction to six, and still the cow-man argued it was too much. Then to four, three and two the chief fell, and finally a worthless jack traveling with the herd caught the eye of the chief and he proposed to compromise on the jack and a heifer. “All right,” promptly responded Kuykendall, “the jack and the heifer are yours,” and the braves went away perfectly satisfied.

The Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer, Tuesday, September 12, 1916



Robert Gil Kuykendall

Maggie Moore Kuykendall

Gil and Maggie and the oldest three of their four children.

Robert Gill Kuykendall Family

Robert Gill Kuykendall was born in Matagorda County on May 15, 1870 to Wylie Martin Kuykendall and Susan E. Pierce Kuykendall. There is some confusion about his middle name. It is shown by McCrosky as Gill, one letter states that it is Gilbert, and his wife, Maggie, told my mother, Alice Hamlett Kuykendall, Austin, Texas, that it was Gilden, so she named her first son Robert Gilden Kuykendall after his grandfather. Gill is most likely correct, shortened from Gilliland Kuykendall. Wylie's uncle was Joseph Gilliland Kuykendall.

Gill, as he was called, married Margaret "Maggie" Moore in Matagorda County on August 21, 1890. They had three children born in the 1890s in Matagorda County around Buckeye or Ashby: Marion, Dorothy and Wylie Moore (b. March 3, 1899); and Isaac, born in Hays County. Gill and his father had moved to Hays County, Texas, in 1901 or 1902 and bought property there. There is little information about Gill's early life.

It had been said that Maggie was the housekeeper of the family and that Gill married her. If she was the housekeeper, she must have been a good one, for the Moores were prominent families of the Matagorda area. Eudora I. Moore's diary is the source of the details that are known of Gill's life. Eudora, a school teacher, was Maggie's aunt. In the fall of 1905, while on a return trip from Kyle, Gill fell from his horse into Onion Creek: he obviously developed pneumonia, because he took to his bed in October or November, and as his condition worsened, he drank more, would not eat, and died on the 19th of December, 1905, at the Kuykendall Ranch headquarters west of Buda.

Gill was a big man, well over six feet. Shanghai Pierce, his uncle, was six feet, five inches. The pictures of him at the Kuykendall Ranch Museum in Hays County show a man extremely well-dressed and riding fine looking horses, all branded with the famous 101 brand that the Kuykendalls controlled in Texas until the late 1940s. Gill's sense of humor was obvious, one of the pictures show the cow hands around a pen fill of cattle, and Gill himself standing on his head, with his ten gallon hat on. With Gill's death, the ranching helm was lost.

Marshall E. Kuykendall

Wylie Moore Kuykendall Family

Wylie Moore "Bill" Kuykendall was born at Ashby, Texas, near Blessing in Matagorda County on March 3, 1899 to Robert Gill Kuykendall and Margaret "Maggie" Moore. His family moved to the ranch in Hays County in 1901 where he spent the rest of his life. Bill married Mildred Williams of Lockhart in 1921, and had one child, Lamonde. Lamonde and her husband, Dick McGhee, retired and lived in Wimberly, Texas.

Bill married second Alice Hamlett, daughter of the Reverend Dr. William Hamlett and Faye Early Hamlett of Austin, in July, 1926. Dr. Hamlett built the First Baptist Church in Austin located in front of the Governor's Mansion. It was torn down and moved to East 9th Street. The old cornerstone with Dr. Hamlett's name inscribed on it was placed in the new building. Two sons were born to this union, Robert Gilden of Austin and Marshall Early of Austin and Kyle.

Bill produced the 101 Rodeo in the late 1920s and played polo all over the United States from 1930-1939. Documentation of this era is preserved in the Historical Section of the Austin Public Library. Bill ranched in Mexico from 1956-1962, then retired and died on October 11, 1976, and was buried in the Kyle Cemetery just southwest of Kyle, Hays County, Texas. Alice Hamlett Kuykendall then lived in Austin in her mother's old home on Shoal Creek.

Marshall E. Kuykendall

Electra "Ella" Kuykendall Dunn

Photo courtesy of Marshall Kuykendall



Ella Kuykendall Dunn
Daughter of Wylie and Susan Pierce Kuykendall


Copyright 2010 - Present by the Kuykendall Family
All rights reserved

Dec. 24, 2010
Dec. 24, 2010