Cullen, Ezekiel Wimberly (1814–1882)

By: Christopher Long

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 7, 2018

Ezekiel Wimberly Cullen, early legislator, jurist, and lawyer, was born in 1814. He moved from Georgia to Texas in 1835 and settled at San Augustine, where he established a law practice. In 1835 he joined the Texas revolutionary forces and participated in the siege of Bexar. In 1837 he married Eliza A. Cooper. While representing San Augustine County in the House of Representatives of the Third Congress of the republic (1838–39), where he was chairman of the education committee, he sponsored the Cullen Act, which started land endowments for public schools and universities, thus laying the basis for an eventual Texas public-education system. In 1839 President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Cullen to judgeship of the First District, vacant after the death of Shelby Corzine. Cullen practiced law in San Augustine until 1850, when he relocated to Washington, D.C. While there, he was appointed purser in the United States Navy. By 1860 he was practicing law in Pensacola, Florida. He returned to Texas in 1871 and opened a law office in Dallas, where he lived until his death in 1882. He also served as the first president of the Dallas and Wichita Railway Company. Noted oilman and philanthropist Hugh Roy Cullen was his grandson. The Ezekiel Cullen Building on the University of Houston campus, constructed in 1950, was named in his honor.

Hall of Remembrance: The Heroes and Heroines of Texas Education (Dallas: Texas Heritage Foundation, 1954). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Christopher Long, “Cullen, Ezekiel Wimberly,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 7, 2018

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