Calvert, Robert (1802–1867)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: April 30, 2008

Updated: November 19, 2014

Robert Calvert, cotton planter and Texas legislator, was born February 19, 1802, near what would become Wartrace, Tennessee, son of William and Lucy (Rogers) Calvert. Calvert spent his earliest years in Tennessee, but the family moved to northern Alabama when he was still a child. Calvert married Mary Keesee on August 28, 1823, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and ran a farm there until 1838. During that year he moved to Saline County, Arkansas, where he served several terms as county judge and was active in local politics.

Calvert settled in Robertson County, Texas, in 1850. He cleared a large plantation in the Brazos River valley and grew corn and cotton, making a substantial fortune. From 1853 to 1855 Judge Calvert served in the House of the Fifth Texas Legislature for District 46, comprised of Milam and Robertson counties. Calvert became an influential man both during his time in the legislature and by aiding the Confederate war effort by provisioning the army. He used his influence to advocate the extension of the Houston and Texas Central Railway through Robertson County. He was successful, and the town that became the railhead of the Houston and Texas Central was named Calvert in his honor upon the railway's completion in 1868.

Robert Calvert was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and donated the land for the original site of Calvert's First Presbyterian Church, although it was moved from Calvert's plantation site to the town of Calvert after the Civil War. Late in life Calvert joined the Masons, rising quickly in the organization and becoming a Knight Templar. Robert and Mary Calvert had at least four children. Robert Calvert died on September 20, 1867, during the yellow fever epidemic of that year and is buried in Sterling Cemetery near Calvert in Robertson County.

John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

  • Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
  • House

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

Jennifer Eckel, “Calvert, Robert,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2008
November 19, 2014