Kyle, William Jefferson (1803–1864)

By: Stephen L. Hardin

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

Updated: November 17, 2015

William Jefferson Kyle, a prominent planter in Brazoria and Fort Bend counties and one of the largest slaveholders in Texas, was born on November 11 or November 20, 1803, in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Around 1831 he had a son, William Rufus Kyle. William J. Kyle and Benjamin F. Terry purchased Nathaniel F. Williams's Oakland Plantation at Sugar Land in 1853 and continued the raw sugar mill and grew sugarcane and other crops. By 1860 Kyle, in partnership with Terry, owned 105 slaves in Fort Bend County. That same year he also appeared on the census for Brazoria County, where he had real property valued at $112,500 and personal property valued at $65,750. In Brazoria County he and Terry had seventy-five slaves and a plantation with 600 improved acres that produced 3,000 bushels of corn, 50 bales of cotton, and 200 hogsheads of sugar. Kyle died in January 1864 and was buried at Sandy Point, Brazoria County.

Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). Ralph A. Wooster, "Notes on Texas' Largest Slaveholders, 1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (July 1961).

  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

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

Stephen L. Hardin, “Kyle, William Jefferson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995
November 17, 2015