Ledbetter, William Hamilton (1834–1896)

By: F. B. Largent, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: March 1, 1995

William Hamilton Ledbetter, Fayette County attorney, was born to Hamilton and Jane (Peacock) Ledbetter, a well-to-do Tennessee Episcopalian couple, in 1834. In 1840 the family moved to Texas and settled with a large number of slaves near the site of present-day Victoria. Four years later the Ledbetters moved to Fayette County and established a small plantation there. William, the third of nine children, was educated in Fayette and Washington counties and began to study law in 1855. He was admitted to the bar in 1857 and set up a lucrative practice in La Grange, the seat of Fayette County. In 1862 he was commissioned a lieutenant in Company I of Col. George M. Flournoy's Sixteenth Confederate Texas Infantry. Ledbetter subsequently fought in a number of battles in Louisiana and in 1863 was captured by Union forces at the battle of Pleasant Hill; he was freed in an exchange shortly thereafter. Later that year, having been mustered out of the Confederate Army, he went to Austin as a representative in the lower house of the Tenth Legislature. He returned to Fayette County in 1865, nearly bankrupt as a result of losing twenty slaves and a good deal of valuable property in the war. He once again took up the practice of law and in 1876 was elected as a Democrat to the state Senate, where he served until 1880. He thereafter served several terms as mayor of La Grange. Ledbetter was married twice. His first wife, Bettie (Pope), died in 1864, leaving two children. In 1868 he married Tennie Hill; they had two children. Ledbetter was found dead on April 24, 1896, in his home in La Grange by his wife upon her return from a trip to Virginia.

Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Proceedings of the Texas Bar Association, 1896.

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

F. B. Largent, Jr., “Ledbetter, William Hamilton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 09, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ledbetter-william-hamilton.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995

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