Alexander Kégl was born in a landowner family. The origins of the family can be
reconstructed as follows.
According to the surviving documents and genealogical
sources, the family had two lineages, whose relationship in the earliest period
is not clear. They were ennobled in different times: the
Kégly lineage in 1623 by Emperor Ferdinand II, while the
Kögl lineage in 1762 by Empress Maria Theresia. This is also the reason of
the differences of their coat of arms.
2 Nevertheless, in the 19th century the two lineages professed their
relationship, at that time both of them using the name form Kégl (or rarely
Kégly). The family of Alexander Kégl belonged to the Kögl lineage, as it is
the coat of arms on his tombstone.
The marriage of János Kégl and Éva Farkas,
contracted on 8 January 1806 in Felsőpakony, was blessed with 17 children.
3 The eleventh of them was Sándor’s father, also called Sándor
(Alsópakony, 5 February 1825 – Szentkirálypuszta, 14 August 1905). He had from
his marriage with Terézia Jeszenszky of Nagyjeszen
4 (Délegyháza, 3 March 1838 – Szentkirálypuszta, 4 March 1894)
contracted on 14 June 1860 five children:
Mária (Szunyogh, 1 May 1861 – Pusztaszentkirály, 13 January 1874),
Sándor (Szunyogh, 1 December 1862 – 28 December 1920),
János (Pusztaszentkirály, 1 January 1865 – 15 October 1925),
József (Pusztaszentkirály, 19 June 1867 – 8 February 1874) and
Teréz (Tessa) (Pusztaszentkirály, 26 July 1869 – 28 December 1920). Only
three of the children survived to adult age, Mária and József died in smallpox.
Sándor, János and Teréz were loving and loyal brothers. None of them founded a
family of his/her own.
We do not know much about
Alexander Kégl Sr., but it is certain that he was also an educated person,
speaking several languages and interested in intellectual activities who
supported the scholarly career of his son. The center of their estates was
Pusztaszentkirály near to the village of Áporka in Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun
county. Although Sándor and Teréz were also engaged to a certain extent in the
management of the estates, after the death of their father this was mainly the
competence of their brother János.
Similarly to his brother,
János Kégl also pursued his
studies as a private pupil, and then he read law at the University of
Budapest. In 1889, during the Persian journey of Alexander Kégl, János did his
one year’s military service at the hussars. Their father reported in a letter to
Sándor about his service like this: “Jani is healthy. He hopes for a promotion
to corporal by Easter, and he even considers his officer’s promotion as sure by
the end of the year. His superiors love and also appreciate him. I have heard
them speaking among themselves that they believe him to become the best horseman
among the fellow hussars.”
János loved his profession, and he gave
a long account of his affection for jurisprudence – which, in his opinion,
was not equal to practical law – to his brother. He also published several
titles in this subject (Az
ági öröklésről [On collateral inheritance]; Az öröklési jog reform kérdései [Questions of the reform of the
law of inheritance]). Besides he was engaged for all his life in
agriculture. He was especially interested in horse-breeding, and took much care
the family estate. At his death in 1925 he left behind an estate of about
230 hectares, which also included a model dairy farm and pig farm.
last will written on 14 January 1925 and complemented on 30 September he
left his estate on the State with the condition that they would establish there
a stud farm within a year. This was the beginning of the famous Hungarian Royal
Stud Farm of Pusztaszentkirály. He also established a number of foundations, for
the renovation and enlargement of the Catholic church of Pereg,
5 the building of a seat for the credit union of Áporka, and for the
books and school equipments of the poor children of the elementary school of
Teréz, the youngest of the three was a person endowed with great
intellectual skills and a talent for languages who could be an intellectual
partner of his eldest brother. László Gaál, a student of Kégl in his necrolog on
6 wrote about her like this: “He also had an adequate company in the
person of his sister who spoke about ten European languages … and with whom he
could discuss his scholarly subjects and practice languages. Most probably his
essays on English subjects were also written on her inspiration.” According to
the witness of the bequest, Sándor and Teréz simultaneously used
the same notebooks, and Teréz also took part in the formulation and copying
of the English essays of his brother. We do not exactly know how they shared the
work, but Sándor’s
treatise on Shelley, published in 1913
7 was left to us
in the hand of Teréz, most probably dictated and then corrected by Sándor
Teréz Kégl was also an author of essays, including one on Újabb angol regények[Contemporary English novels] and a
“novelette” entitled She who loved much.
Besides literature and languages, the wide range of interests of
Teréz also included photography. She was an enthusiastic amateur photograph. Her
article written on her experiences of photography was published on 24
December 1906 by the journal The amateur.
8 Most probably she was the author of most of the photos left to us
on the family and the estate that are presented here (MTA Dept. of Manuscripts,
Ms 5075), as she herself wrote that her camera “is devoted to the family stove:
this beautiful bright lens is the illustrator of the home”.
The love of music permeated all the family. They were
serious clients of the most important record shops in Budapest. Sándor and
Teréz had their special notebooks where they
noted down the texts of their favorite opera arias.
Teréz Kégl spent her days in Pusztaszentkirály, in the circle of
her extremely educated, much-reading family members speaking a large number of
languages. Besides them she had no adequate intellectual company. Her letters
reveal that in the absence of her brothers she felt being “in a Babylonian
captivity”. It is no surprise that at the sudden death of her brother she also
saw the sense of her life being lost.