Robert Hardin (or Hampton) Kuykendall, an early member of the Old Three Hundred, was born in 1788 near Princeton, Kentucky, to Adam and Margaret (Hardin) Kuykendall. After moves through Sumner County, Tennessee, and Henderson County, Kentucky, the family settled in Arkansas near the Cadron Settlement on the Arkansas River around February 15, 1810. In the fall of 1821, having explored west of the Sabine River for some time, Robert joined his brothers Abner, Joseph, and Peter at Nacogdoches. He and Joseph moved with Daniel Gilleland and their families to the east bank of the Colorado River, near the La Bahía crossing, where they established the river's first settlement. In December 1822 the Baron de Bastrop arrived at the settlement to organize the Austin colony. The settlers elected Robert Kuykendall captain of the militia for the Mina (Colorado) District and alcalde of the Colorado District. Kuykendall's house was the election site when James Cummins was elected alcalde of the Colorado District. Kuykendall and his men killed a group of horse thieves and placed their heads on tall poles along the La Bahía Road as a warning to others, a warning that evidently succeeded in deterring lawlessness in the colony. After many Indian depredations in the summer of 1822, Kuykendall headed a party of settlers in an attack on the Karankawas at the mouth of Skull Creek, where the Indians were defeated with considerable loss. In 1824 Kuykendall was involved in further encounters with the Karankawas. On July 15, 1824, Stephen F. Austin granted Kuykendall two leagues of land, one on the east side and one on the west side of the Colorado River. Kuykendall established his home on the east league near the site of present Glen Flora and named it Pleasant Farm Plantation. In an Indian fight sometime after the spring of 1826, he received a serious head injury, which gradually led to paralysis, blindness, and eventual death. Between March 20 and 27, 1830, Dr. Robert Peebles performed a successful trepan on Kuykendall, an event that induced Judge Robert M. Williamson, editor of the Texas Gazette at San Felipe, to commend the doctors of the colony. William B. Travis later turned money over to E. Roddy for Dr. Peebles from the Kuykendall estate for medical expenses. In 1830 Stephen F. Austin requested that commissioner general Juan Antonio Padilla convey an extra league of land each to two men of particular merit in the early days of the colony, Josiah H. Bell as alcalde and Robert H. Kuykendall as commander of the militia. Kuykendall married Sarah Ann Gilleland at Red Hill, Arkansas, in 1814. They had six children. Kuykendall died in the latter part of 1830 and is presumed to have been buried in the Old Matagorda Cemetery. Subsequent hurricanes washed away most of the grave markers, and his headstone has been lost.
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Robert H. Kuykendall, Sr., Family Genealogy (MS, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Marshall E. Kuykendall,
“Kuykendall, Robert H., Sr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 1, 1995
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