Kyle, Fergus (1834–1906)

By: Barbara Donalson Althaus

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: November 13, 2019

Fergus Kyle, politician and founder of Kyle, Texas, the son of early settlers of Hays County, Lucy (Bugg) and Claiborne Kyle, was born on September 6, 1834, in Hinds County, Mississippi. The family moved to Texas in 1844 and settled in Hays County about 1850. Kyle grew up in an unusual four-room log house near the site of what is now Kyle, Texas; the house has been restored and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. He was educated at Thrall's Academy in Austin, and in 1860 he married Anna Elizabeth Moore, whose family came to Texas from Alabama in the 1850s. During the Civil War Kyle enlisted as a private in the Eighth Texas Cavalry (Terry's Texas Rangers). After the battle of Shiloh he was promoted to captain, and his four brothers, William, Polk, Curran, and Andrew Jackson, were under his command. He then became an aide to Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham. Kyle continued throughout his life to wear his Confederate gray uniform on frequent occasions. After the war he returned to Hays County and began farming and raising stock. He was elected to the House of Representatives for the Twelfth Texas Legislature (1870–71) and was one of the few Democrats to serve during Reconstruction. In 1880 Kyle, Texas, was named in his honor after he and his wife, along with his wife's family, deeded the land for a townsite on the Austin-San Antonio route of the International-Great Northern Railroad. Town lots were auctioned under a historic Texas tree, the Kyle Auction Oak. Kyle continued his political career as sergeant-at-arms of the Texas Senate from 1881 to 1884. He returned to the House in 1901 and cosponsored the Alamo purchase bill of 1905, which saved the Texas shrine. He was, in his third term, the oldest member of the legislature when he died on May 19, 1906. Kyle, a Baptist, was buried in the Kyle cemetery. Two of Kyle's nine children were well known. Edwin Jackson Kyle, the Texas A&M dean for whom Kyle Field was named, was appointed ambassador to Guatemala by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mary (Kyle) Hartson was elected mayor of Kyle in 1937 and served until 1947.

Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Ann Miller Strom, The Prairie City: A History of Kyle, Texas, 1880–1980 (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1981).

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

Barbara Donalson Althaus, “Kyle, Fergus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 27, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995
November 13, 2019