Wylie “Bill” Kuykendall's pistol and holster

Third generation Hill Country rancher

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Keeping with family tradition, Wylie “Bill” Kuykendall was a lifelong cowboy and rancher. He was also a successful polo player in the 1930s.

The Kuykendall family has a long history in Texas. Robert H. Kuykendall, Sr. was one of the first three hundred settler families to receive land grants in Stephen F. Austin’s colony. He received two leagues of land in southeastern Texas along the Colorado River in 1824. Robert’s grandson Wiley was among the first Texans to drive cattle long distances, trailing herds to Missouri and Illinois in the late 1850s, over a decade before large cattle drives became common. Wylie's son, Gill, purchased an 11,000 acre ranch in Hays County that became the Kuykendall 101 Ranch. After Gill passed away at the young age of 35, his wife Maggie ran the ranch. Gill and Maggie's son Wylie "Bill" inherited a portion of the 101 Ranch from his mother. While he ultimately sold his portion in 1948, Bill continued to operate ranches in Mexico and Kyle County until his death in 1976. 

An avid hunter, Bill Kuykendall was not keen on other hunters trespassing on his ranch. He became known for shooting at trespassers with his Winchester rifle to scare them off. He never went anywhere on the ranch without the rifle secured to his saddle. Bill’s pistol holster and belt were handmade for him by the King Ranch in 1924. The Kuykendall brand, a K, is inlaid on the holster with the King Ranch’s Running W brand just below it.

Bill began selling horses to Texas polo clubs as a way to generate money during the Great Depression and soon found himself playing as well. Using the horsemanship skills he learned on the ranch, Bill competed and won against more seasoned players. He even built a polo field on the 101 Ranch. Bill’s riding boots were custom made for him by Texas boot company Lucchese Bootmaker.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Wylie “Bill” Kuykendall's pistol and holster Artifact from Buda
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