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RYE, EDGAR (1848–1920). Edgar Rye, pioneer journalist and cartoonist, the eldest of seven children of Henry M. and Mary Ann Rye, was born on June 22, 1848, in the Danleyton area, Greenup County, Kentucky. His Irish father, born in the Virginia Territory, was a farmer and sometime storekeeper at Greenup, Kentucky. Edgar Rye first worked for "the Nighthawk, a hoodlum sheet in a back alley in Cincinnati," according to rival newsman George Robson. In 1876 Rye followed the Jacobs family of Greenup to Fort Griffin, Texas, and found employment as justice of the peace and county attorney for Shackelford County. He founded a newspaper, the Tomahawk, in 1879 and worked for it and its successors, the Western Sun and the Albany Sun from 1880 to 1882; he also worked as a cartoonist and town booster for the Albany Star (1883), operated by the Palo Pinto editor J. C. Son. During the 1880s Rye was superintendent and foreman for construction of the Albany courthouse, as well as general correspondent and Austin correspondent for the Fort Worth Gazette. He sent back a series of "Mexican Letters" to both the Gazette and the Albany News from Lerdo de Tejada, Vera Cruz, where he managed an oil and soap factory. He also joined the Los Angeles Cactus as cartoonist, participated in opening Oklahoma Territory, and managed a lumberyard at Moore, Oklahoma. He worked as advertisement and editorial page cartoon engraver for the Fort Worth Mail in 1889–90, then returned to Albany to operate the Albany Weekly News. His cartoons, caricatures, advertisement illustrations, and two series of articles, "Old Times in Texas" and "Character Sketches," which ultimately were incorporated into his Quirt and Spur (1909), were the outstanding features of this elaborate venture into journalism with co-owner S. F. Cook. Rye married Marie Turley Henderson, a schoolteacher of Seguin, Texas, in December 1891, and began the New Era at Rockport in 1892; during this time he also contributed to Texas Land News. Later he started the Graham Radiator (1894) and the Texas Coast News, Texas City (1896). By 1898 he was writing for the Wichita Falls Herald. He was also city clerk, recorder, and police court judge (1911–16) in Wichita Falls. His wife died in 1903, and in 1917 Rye married a woman named Gertrude in San Diego. He wrote unsuccessful western movie scripts for Hollywood and attempted to publish a Kentucky Civil War novel. He died on June 6, 1920, in Hollywood, California.


Charles E. Linck, Jr., Edgar Rye (Commerce: Educational Research and Field Services, East Texas State University, 1972). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Charles E. Linck, Jr.


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

Charles E. Linck, Jr., "RYE, EDGAR," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.