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Kendall, Mitchell (ca. 1822–ca. 1885)

Paul M. Lucko Biography Entry

Mitchell Kendall (Kendal), political leader in Marshall, Texas, was born a slave around 1822 in Georgia. He served as a voter registrar in 1867 and 1868 in Harrison County, where the population was predominantly Black. He was a blacksmith and owned property valued at $2,400 when he won election as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69. At the convention, as a member of the Public Lands Committee, he voted to divide Texas into three states and signed the constitution produced by the convention. After Kendall's nomination by the Union League in Harrison County, he won a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, where he was one of fourteen Blacks who helped give the Republican party a working majority in the Twelfth Legislature. He served on the Counties and County Boundaries Committee and was a member of the Radical Republican Association, organized to sustain vetoes by Governor Edmund J. Davis. He broke with the association when he supported railroad developmental laws despite opposition from Davis. The 1880 federal census reported that Kendall lived with his wife, Adeline, and his five children. He died before June 20, 1885, and was buried in the Old Powder Mill Cemetery in Marshall.

Alwyn Barr, "Black Legislators of Reconstruction Texas," Civil War History 32 (December 1986). J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). Randolph B. Campbell, A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County, Texas, 1850–1880 (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1983). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985).


  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Politics and Government

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

Paul M. Lucko, “Kendall, Mitchell,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 27, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: