James M. Lykes
Portrait, James McKay Lykes, circa 1900. Courtesy of the Portal to Texas History. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Company Ad
Lykes Brothers Steamship Company Ad, 1942. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

LYKES, JAMES MCKAY (1880–1943). James McKay Lykes, shipping magnate, son of Howell Tyson and Almeria Belle (McKay) Lykes, was born in Brooksville, Florida, on November 30, 1880. He attended Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and managed a hardware establishment in Cuba before he went into the cattle business with his brothers in Galveston, Texas, in 1903. The Lykeses shipped cattle to Cuba on chartered vessels that brought back sugar for the Gulf refineries. In 1907 Lykes consolidated his interests with H. Mosle and Company to form the United Steamship Company. His brother, Joseph Taliaferro Lykes, joined him in 1910, and in 1922 the Lykes Brothers Steamship Company (see LYKES BROTHERS, INCORPORATED) was incorporated to engage in the general shipping business. The company acted as agent for the United States Shipping Board during World War I and after the war expanded with offices in Houston and in Louisiana, Florida, and New York. James M. Lykes was chairman of the board. He moved to Houston in 1925 and carried on a cattle business. In 1935 he was decorated by the president of the Dominican Republic for services rendered that country during a hurricane. Lykes married Genevieve Parkhill in Tallahassee, Florida, on December 20, 1906. They had five children. He died in Houston on November 26, 1943.


Cattleman, November 10, 1948. Houston Post, November 27, 1943. Susan L. Mueller, A Lykes Family History (1991).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "LYKES, JAMES MCKAY," accessed July 20, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 19, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox