William Kaye
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States (born in United Kingdom)
Date of Birth: 1813
Date of Death: 1890
Cause of Death: Heart failure
Occupation: Machinist, businessman, politician
Parents: Joshua Kaye, Hannah Poole
Professional Affiliations: Kaye & Co.
Political Party: Democratic Party
Political Office(s): Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky (1863-5), Louisville Chief of Police
Fictional Appearances:
The Guns of the South
POD: January 17, 1864
Type of Appearance: Direct (unnamed)
Nationality: United Kingdom (1813-1836)
United States (1836-1865)
Confederate States (from 1865)

William Kaye (February 13, 1813 – November 19, 1890) was the fourteenth Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from April 4, 1863 to April 1, 1865. He was born in Yorkshire, England to a clothing manufacturer, trained as a machinist, and came to Louisville in 1836. In 1841 he founded Kaye & Co., which was well known for its brass and bell works, including the bell in the Cathedral of the Assumption.

In 1862 he was elected as a Democrat to the City Council, and on April 4, 1863 he was elected mayor over former mayor Thomas H. Crawford, who ran on the Unionist platform. Kaye was not an open supporter of the Confederacy, but he was backed by some secessionists.

After his term as mayor, he served again on the City Council, and also as Chief of Police for a year. He died of heart failure and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

William Kaye in The Guns of the South[]

In early 1865, the Mayor of Louisville[1] joined the contrite delegation to the visiting Robert E. Lee, who had narrowly dodged a sharpshooter's bullet while in the city on business. The delegates expostulated on the horror of the attempted murder, and assured Lee that Kentucky welcomed him. Lee just wished they would leave so he could eat his ham and eggs.[2]


  1. Kaye isn't named, but there's no reason to think that someone else was mayor.
  2. The Guns of the South, p. 301.
Political offices
Preceded by
John M. Delph
Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky
Succeeded by
Philip Tomppert