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.
NoteThis is a cenotaph. Over the course of several decades during the mid-to-late 1800s, many of the older grave markers in Matagorda Cemetery were washed away by a series of severe storms. Although Robert Kuykendall is believed to have been buried in the immediate area, his exact grave location has been lost.
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