The Kyle Family in St. Louis

Virginia Kyle Campbell, circa 1882.

Put your thinking caps on for this one. Short version: The Campbells and Kyles knew each other back in County Tyrone, Ireland, and Virginia is related to many of the names we see on a daily basis in St. Louis: James McCausland, Ralph Clayton and James Collier Marshall. Here’s the long (and fascinating) version:

Visitors to Campbell House all know Virginia Campbell was born Virginia Kyle, the daughter of Hazlett and Lucy Ann Kyle. What you may not know is the scope of the interrelationships between the Campbell and Kyle families, their origins in County Tyrone, Ireland, the extent of the family tree in America, and the surprising links to other St. Louis historic sites. Don’t get lost as we trace some of the Campbell and Kyle links in St. Louis.

There are so many Kyle descendents that it is virtually impossible to accurately determine specific families back past the end of the 18th Century. The original Kyle family belongs to the Clan Campbell of Argyle, the surname originating from the Kyle district in Ayrshire, Scotland. As with the Campbells, the Kyles left Scotland for Norther Ireland and the two families undoubtedly knew each other. Eventually some immigrated to the United States.

In September 1818, Hugh Campbell came to the U.S. and was hired as a clerk in Milton, NC by David Kyle of County Tyrone. Hugh’s friend, James Reed, was already in the employ of David Kyle’s Cousins, Robert and Hazlett Kyle, the father of the yet-to-be-born Virginia Campbell. Robert and Hazlett Kyle were also brothers to William and David Kyle, Jr. who, in 1824, would offer Hugh a partnership in their Richmond, VA business. Hugh wrote to Robert about this offer and, curiously, mentioned the unlikelihood of marrying anytime soon. He did wait five years, and in March 1829 married David Kyle’s daughter, Mary.

In October 1831, David Kyle moved to St. Louis with his family (except Mary Campbell) and started a business with Edward Edgar. Robert Campbell (in St. Louis) wrote to Hugh (in Richmond) revealing he was watching, if not actively involved, with the move: Mr. Kyle’s dwelling House is finished — the rent [is about] $400…the Store House will not be completed until 1st November the workman told me but I presume Mr. Kyle will have little difficulty in renting a House.

Stephenson House

In April 1832 Hugh Campbell ended his partnership with David Kyle Jr. and moved to Philadelphia to start his own business. In June 1832 William Kyle died; Robert Kyle died three weeks later. Per Hugh: Hazlett Kyle died at his house in Raleigh N.C. of a few days illness, brought on by intemperance & bad conduct. His brother Robert of Fincastle went to pay a visit to condolence to his widow and to assist in regulating the estate…[He] became sick on 30th & died on 31st in the same room where his brother breathed his last breath about 3 weeks previously. I need scarce tell you that the cause was nearly similar. Thus have three brothers been called to their account in the course of about one year…Hazlett’s wife & children will have about the sum of $40,000 amongst them. Thus we see that Robert had some knowledge of the Hazlett Kyle family long before his first meeting with Virginia in 1835.

In February 1835, David Kyle, father-in-law to Hugh Campbell, died in St. Louis, leaving a widow and nine children (David Kyle, wife Lydia, and two daughters — Margaret and Harriet — are buried in Hugh’s family plot in Bellefontaine Cemetery). After David’s death, Hugh spent several months resettling the family in Fayette, MO. Besides Mary, the only child who had married by this time was Eleanor Kyle. In December 1834 she married James Stephenson at Christ Church in St. Louis. James was the son of Benjamin Stephenson, the first sheriff of Randolph County, Illinois and a representative of the Illinois Territory in Congress. His home is now a state historic site in Edwardsville, Illinois.

So, David Kyle came to St. Louis in 1831, his niece Virginia arrived in 1841, newly married to Robert Campbell. His daughter Mary came in 1859 with husband Hugh Campbell. These Kyles, however, were not the first ones in the area. In 1825, another branch of the Kyles lived here and established their own mercantile trade. Elizabeth Kyle (a distant cousin to Virginia and Mary) married her first cousin, Alexander McCausland.

Fairfax House

Of their eleven children, John opened the mercantile firm Kyle & McCausland. Another son, James, opened a tract of land on the western edge of St. Louis. McCausland Avenue is named after him. John and James’ sister Rosannah married Ralph Clayton, the man for whom the city of Clayton is named. Another sibling, Elizabeth, married James Collier Marshall in 1840 in Rock Hill. The Marshall family home — the Fairfax House — is an historic site.

The connections go on and on. We encourage you to visit all these locations and reflect on “small town” St. Louis the next time you take a drive down McCausland or Marshall Avenues.

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2 thoughts on “The Kyle Family in St. Louis

  1. Megan says:

    This is wonderful! You all are accomplishing so much great research. I’m very jealous. Great job!

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