Kyle, Claiborne (1800–1867)

By: Barbara Donalson Althaus

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: November 13, 2019

Claiborne Kyle, early Texas politician and settler of Mountain City, Hays County, was born on August 8, 1800, in Hawkins County, Tennessee, the son of Maj. John William and Rebecca (Young) Kyle. His parents had been early settlers in Tennessee and were large landholders there. Kyle married Lucy Bugg in 1829 in Lincoln County, Tennessee, and the couple had nine children. After leaving Tennessee, the Kyles lived in Alabama and Mississippi, where their children were born. Kyle served as state senator in Marshall County, Mississippi, from 1837 to 1841. After a friend for whom he had posted bond absconded, Kyle and his family were placed in great financial difficulty, which precipitated their move to Texas about 1844. The family spent a year in Gonzales, then lived in Austin from 1846 to 1850, when they moved permanently to Hays County. In Texas, Kyle was a member of the Travis County District Court grand jury in 1849. In November 1850 he served on the first grand jury of Hays County and as county treasurer. He also served in the fifth Texas Senate (1853–54) and in the Texas House of Representatives during the Civil War. Five of Kyle's sons fought in the Civil War. One son, Fergus Kyle, founded the town of Kyle, served as captain of Terry's Texas Rangers (the Eighth Texas Cavalry) during the Civil War, and replaced his father in the Texas House, where he introduced a bill to save the Alamo and a bill to establish Southwest Texas Normal School (later Southwest Texas State University) at San Marcos. A daughter, Lucy Emma, married Maj. Edward Burleson, Jr., and their son, Albert Sidney Burleson, became postmaster general under the Woodrow Wilson administration. In Hays County Kyle's family built an unusual four-room log house near Kyle, Texas, which has been restored and is open to the public on special occasions. In 1863 Lucy died, and Claiborne died in 1867. Both are buried on land they donated to establish the Kyle Cemetery.

Annie Doom Pickrell, Pioneer Women in Texas (Austin: Steck, 1929). Ann Miller Strom, The Prairie City: A History of Kyle, Texas, 1880–1980 (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1981).

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Barbara Donalson Althaus, “Kyle, Claiborne,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995
November 13, 2019