- Robert Kyle was born March 26 1751 in Temple, Midlothian County, Scotland. He settled on the Clinch River near the present Kyle's Ford, TN. His land was on the south side of the river.
He founded the village of Kyle's Ford, on the Clinch River, some twenty-five miles north of Rogersville, now in Hancock County, TN.
The following is familylore:
He came to America in 1759, when he was eight years old, with his parents from Northern Ireland. His parents settled in Botetourt County, VA on a plantation owned by his father. He grew to manhood on this plantation and helped in the farming.
In 1772, Robert J. Kyle went back to Tyrone County, Ireland and spent four months visiting his relatives. Death had taken the girl he was betrothed to marry in two weeks. He grieved over her death and thus his father decided Robert should visit his relatives in Ireland. In 1791 he went back to visit Ireland and Scotland.
After the American Revolutionary War, he obtained work with a Milling Company and he was away from home two or three years. He returned to Fincastle, Botetourt County, VA, and was united in marriage to Sarah Runnels. They had ten children who lived to adulthood.
Robert Kyle remained in the home of his parents the first eight years of married life. After the birth of their first four children, Robert told his father he was planning on establishing a new home. In February, 1800 he went to Lee County, VA and moved his family for a short time into Jonesville, VA. He rode horse back to Hawkins County, TN. Here he purchased a farm on the south side of Clinch River. His family remained in Jonesville while he went back and forth on horseback herring logs and building his house. He moved his family down to Tennessee in 1801. His father gave his two slaves, Jake and Cindy, who helped him improve the place. He then went farther down in the Puncheon Camp Valley (today it is known as "Kyle Valley), invested in acreage of land.
When James Madison was elected President of the United States, William Kyle made plans and looked ahead to attend his inauguration. The week before it took place, he rode horseback to Hawkins County, TN, where he spent the time resting to be able for the trip. The day before they were to take leave on the trip, William said "Sara, I am going to take little John with Bob and me to the inauguration".
Sara said: "My gracious no father Kyle, John hasn't suitable clothes for such an occasion. Grandad said "Don't worry, I'll take care of that". They left the next morning, rode to Buckingham County, VA where they spent two days. They went to Charlottesville for all three to get fitted up in clothes. Grandad Kyle fixed little John up in a white shirt, with a large lace trimmed collar, blue velvet coat, black velvet pants, buckled shoes, long black hose, gray cap and over coat. William then purchased an entire new outfit for Robert and himself. They rode to the home of a friend two miles out of Washington, D. C. where they spent the night. They dressed the next day and left all of their old clothes at the friend's home and headed for the inauguration. James Madison recognized them and sent a messenger boy to invite them in. Then the thrill began for little John. He had never attended anything just equal to this. Robert Kyle and James Madison being close friends since boyhood were soon enjoying this meeting. Finally near the close of their conversation, he said "Now Robert you have a son named Thomas Jefferson, if there is another boy born in your family, name him James Madison." Then he reached in his pocket and took out his purse, gave little John Kyle a pearl handled pocket knife, placed his hand on his shoulder and said, "John, when you grow up, name your first son James Madison." Little John Kyle grew to manhood, married, and named his first son, born in 1831, James Madison.
When the war broke out between Great Britain and the United States in 1812, he enlisted. He told my grandfather (John Kyle) that it was again his Duty to defend his country. His oldest son was age twelve. He was assigned as a Private, Capt. Jones Laughmiller's Co., Col. Ewen Allison's Regiment, East Tennessee Drafted Militia. He was transferred to Capt. Jones Griffin's Co. on April 27, 1814 and later to Col. Samuel Bunch Regiment. While serving in the war, he was suddenly stricken with a high fever. He may have contracted in the war the yellow fever that caused his death. He was furloughed home from Ft. Williams May 3, 1814 for inability. He died July 17, 1814 in Hawkins County, TN. He is buried on his plantation in the Kyle Family Cemetery, Puncheon Camp (now Kyle Valley), near Eidson, TN. Robert Kyle never had the opportunity again to see James Madison. After the inauguration and the death of Robert in 1813, the family corresponded. The family received a letter of sympathy from President James Madison and wife, Dollie Madison. The Kyles, Monroes, Madisons and Jeffersons were very close friends.
The Robert Kyle plantation at Kyles Ford, Hawkins County, TN remained in the family until 1923, when it was put up at auction to sell to the highest bidder to settle estate of his heirs.
Robert Kyle also owned property in Jonesville, Lee County, VA.