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
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
Donna McCrosky Johnson
Benjamin Warner Kuykendall
Benjamin Warner Kuykendall, a life long citizen of
Matagorda County, died at Wharton Saturday, May 11,
and was buried in the
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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., dates unknown. 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
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
The remains have
been shipped to Blessing and will be buried in the family plot
in Hawley Cemetery tomorrow.
February 6, 1920
PEOPLE WE KNOW
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
The Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer, Tuesday,
September 12, 1916
Robert Gil Kuykendall
Maggie Moore Kuykendall
Robert Gill Kuykendall Family
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
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