Lambert, Will (1840–1898)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 2, 2017

Will Lambert, Confederate soldier, journalist, and civil servant, was born on Governors Island, New York, on February 29, 1840, the son of Robert Lambert, a soldier in Company D, First United States Infantry. Robert Lambert brought his family to Texas in 1848 when he was transferred to Fort Brown. There he, his wife, and a daughter died of cholera that July. The orphaned William enlisted as a drummer in his father's company in 1850 and served for one year at Fort Duncan before his older brother secured his release and brought him to San Antonio. There, starting in February 1851, he served a five-year apprenticeship on the San Antonio Weekly Ledger, his only formal education. In 1857 he moved to Austin to work on a newspaper there.

In 1859 he served for ten months as a private in Edward Burleson, Jr.'s ranger company, seeing service against the Indians on the northwest frontier. In April 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, he joined Col. Henry E. McCulloch's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles, which also saw duty on the frontier. At the end of his one-year enlistment term he transferred to Capt. Frederick W. Moore's Company G of Col. George M. Flournoy's Sixteenth Texas Infantry, Walker's Texas Division. He was physically incapacitated in 1864 and served for the remainder of the war on the staff of Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith and Brig. Gen. Elkanah Greer and was paroled at Shreveport, Louisiana, on June 5, 1865.

Subsequently, Lambert moved to Harris County, where he worked as an editor on the Houston Telegraph (see TELEGRAPH AND TEXAS REGISTER) under Edward Hopkins Cushing. He was also treasurer of the Houston Typographical Union. On May 10, 1866, he married Fannie E. Black. In September 1866 he and his bride moved to Grimes County, where he became the publisher of the Central Texas Record. He was elected mayor of Anderson but was removed from office by order of Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds, who viewed him as "an impediment to Reconstruction." The newspaper, too, proved a financial failure, and Lambert returned to the Houston Telegraph, now under William Graham Webb, and in January 1868 became publisher of the revived Houston Journal in partnership with George Washington Diamond. He afterward worked on newspapers in Waco, Galveston, and Austin before founding the Marshall Daily Morning News in 1874. This paper's editorial stand was thought to be too conservative, and it too failed.

On May 23, 1877, while Lambert was an editor for the Houston Age, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Gov. Richard Bennett Hubbard and commissioned a colonel in the Texas State Guard. He later held the same position under Gov. Oran M. Roberts. Lambert was twice assistant clerk of the Texas House of Representatives, where he served in the Tenth and Fifteenth legislatures; he was elected chief clerk in 1879, a post he held in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth legislatures. On January 11, 1881, he was appointed acting secretary of the Texas House of Representatives. In 1883 he published the Pocket Directory of the Eighteenth Legislature of Texas. On January 8, 1884, he was defeated in the election for enrolling clerk of the special session of the Eighteenth Legislature by W. H. Harris of Williamson County, but four days later was appointed clerk of a special House committee. In June he was elected secretary to the regional convention of the Democratic party in Texas, in July he attended the national Democratic convention in Chicago, and in August he was elected assistant secretary to the Texas state Democratic convention in Houston. That year, as well, he was elected secretary of the Texas Livestock Association. On January 13, 1885, he was nominated for chief clerk of the Nineteenth Legislature but was defeated in the election. He died at his home in Houston in October 1898.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Dallas Herald, January 11, 1868, October 3, 1874, June 30, 1877, January 13, 1881, January 10, 17, February 7, June 26, July 10, August 21, 1884, January 15, 1885. E. W. Swindells, A Legislative Manual for the State of Texas (2 vols., Austin, 1879, 1883).

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
Time Periods:
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Civil War
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Lambert, Will,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

May 2, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: