William Larrabee Callender, attorney, judge, and prominent Methodist, was born to Nathaniel and Olive Callender in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1815. Subsequently, the family lived in several locations in New York and on the Ohio frontier. Callender learned the shoemaker's trade from his father and as a youth of thirteen read for college preparation while employed as a printer. He was graduated from Allegheny College in 1839 and, after studying law in Frankfort, Kentucky, under James Harlan, was admitted to the bar in 1848. Callender edited the Frankfort Commonwealth from 1850 to 1856, when he moved to Victoria, Texas. He married Ann Matilda Kellogg in 1842, Lucy W. Roper in 1850, Alice F. Kibbe in 1862, and Sallie R. Sangster in 1869; he had children in each marriage.
Though his views were decidedly pro-Union, Callender was a much respected citizen of Victoria, where he conducted the Victoria Male Academy. He served as justice of the peace, district clerk, and attorney, while pursuing his avocation of reflecting on current and historical events in poetry and prose, much of which remains among the Callender manuscripts.
The firm of Glass and Callender conducted the bulk of legal business in Victoria County for two decades after the Civil War. For thirty years Callender led the Methodist movement in the area. At the time of his death on November 4, 1895, he was given generous recognition by the state Supreme Court. The Callender House of Victoria, cited by the United States Department of the Interior and the state of Texas, bears his name. Callender was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Victoria.
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Callender Papers, Callender House, Victoria, Texas. Victor Marion Rose, History of Victoria (Laredo, 1883; rpt., Victoria, Texas: Book Mart, 1961). Robert W. Shook, "A Texas Portrait: William Larrabee Callender," Texas Bar Journal, January 22, 1963.
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Politics and Government
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Robert W. Shook,
“Callender, William Larrabee,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994