William Larrabee Callender was born in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania in 1815. He was the youngest of nine children of Olive and Nathaniel Callender. He graduated from Allegheney College at Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1838. During his years as a student, Callender developed a talent for writing and journalism and by 1844 was the editor of the Cincinnati Atlas.
Following the death of his wife, Ann Matilda Kellogg, in 1848, Callender moved with his daughter Ann Adelaide, to Frankfurt, Kentucky where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in Kentucky in 1848.
In 1850 Callender married Lucy W. Roper. He became the editor of the Frankfort Commonwealth with its political leanings toward the Whig Party of Henry Clay. Callender's editorials from 1850 to 1856 abound with his opinions on the political issues of the day.
In 1856 the Callender family moved to the Victoria, Texas area seeking a healthier climate to remedy Lucy's chronic ill-health and perhaps drawn by her relatives, the Weisigers, formerly of Kentucky and now in Mission Valley, Texas. William Callender was 41 years old.
Callender farmed land north of Victoria and in 1865 became clerk of the district court. Soon after that he was invited by W. S. Glass to form the law partnership of Glass and Callender. They were a leading law firm in Victoria for nearly twenty years
In addition, William Callender was deeply devoted to the Victoria Methodist Episcopal Church, serving as a layman and officer, offering financial support and leadership.
In 1860, Lucy Roper Callender died. Lucy and William had three children: Annie Bell, William Roper I, and Lucy A.
In 1862, William Callender married Alice F. Kibbe and they had two children: Norman Lacy and Herbert. Alice died in 1867.
In 1869 Callender married Sallie R. Sangster, niece of Judge David Irvin. Their only child was Roberta. At the death of Judge Irvin, the Callenders inherited his stately home in Victoria, known today as the Callender House, which stands in the Historic Homes District.
William Callender accumulated considerable property and wealth during his lifetime and had a reputation as an outstanding professional in the field of law as well a man of good character and faith. He died in 1895 after a trip to his childhood home in Pennsylvania. His death was commemorated by the Victoria Bar in a resolution filed in the Supreme Court of Texas on December 2, 1895.
Contents of the William Larrabee Callender Papers: Correspondence, including Civil War letters; Personal papers, 1840s to 1890s.
Shook, Robert W. (1963) A Texas Portrait: William Larrabee Callender, Texas Bar Journal, 26 (1), 33-34+.