John G. O'Grady, pioneer innkeeper, was born in Westport, Ireland, in 1829. He immigrated to Boston in 1848. Although he had studied for the priesthood, he decided in Boston to pursue medicine instead. He eventually traveled west, and in the early 1850s he served in the United States Infantry at what later became Fort McKavett in Menard County. There he attained the rank of sergeant and later opened a mercantile business. In 1856, while at the fort, he married Katherine Cahill of Tipperary, Ireland; they had eight children. When the fort closed in March 1859, the couple moved to Boerne, a stage stop on the military road from San Antonio to Fort Concho and Ben Ficklin. O'Grady supplied feed to government teams hauling freight and opened an adobe inn that he called Kendall House in honor of Kendall County, which he had helped organize. The inn was on the south bank of Cibolo Creek and on the east side of the road as it entered Boerne from San Antonio. According to legend, Robert E. Lee stopped at the inn on his last tour of duty for the United States in early 1860. In 1963 the remaining portion of the inn, then known as the Stotts House, received a historical marker. O'Grady often took part in the pursuit of Indians who made raids on settlements in the Boerne area. During the Civil War he served as postmaster of Boerne. In January and February 1872 he contributed a meteorological register to the Smithsonian Institution. The legislature listed him as a commissioner in the act to incorporate the San Antonio and Fredericksburg Narrow Gauge Railway Company in March 1875. O'Grady died in 1879. Two of his children, Robert Emmit and Alice, continued the hospitality of Kendall House at the Argyle Hotel in San Antonio.
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Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vol. ed., 1929?). S. W. Geiser, "Men of Science in Texas, 1820–1880," Field and Laboratory 26–27 (January 1958-October 1959). Texas Pioneer, January-February 1930.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“O'Grady, John G.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995