The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 329
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ROBERT A. CALVERT, Editor
Judge Legett of Abilene: A Texas Frontier Profile. By Vernon Gladden
Spence. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1977. Pp.
xviii+264. Preface, introduction, illustrations, bibliography, in-
Here Comes the Judge from State Home to State House: Memoirs of
Robert W. Calvert. Edited by Joseph F. Ray. (Waco: Texian
Press, 1977. Pp. vii+191. Preface, illustrations, epilogue, appen-
dices, index. $1o.)
These books are concerned with the lives of two Texas lawyers. To-
gether, their professional careers span a full century. The Spence book
is a scholarly biography of a pioneer Abilene lawyer who used his talents
to help fashion a city out of the Texas wilderness. Judge Calvert's
memoirs portray a twentieth-century Texas lawyer who made use of his
talents to pursue a political career and become chief justice of the
Supreme Court of Texas.
Spence submits that the life of a representative pioneer West Texan
might epitomize the energies and talents of "thousands of other pioneer
settlers." Nominating Judge Kirvin Kade Legett as such a representa-
tive, the author undertakes to show, through Legett's experiences, the
development of the Abilene area. Born in Arkansas, reared in Grayson
County, Texas, Legett arrived in Buffalo Gap, Taylor County, in 1879
as a twenty-two year old lawyer. When the Texas &8 Pacific Railway
built its line fifteen miles north of Buffalo Gap in 1881, Legett moved
to Abilene, a new tent city on the railroad. From that time until his
death in 1926, Legett's life was interwoven with the growth and develop-
ment of Abilene.
While Legett's courthouse experiences furnish entertaining reading,
more worthwhile are the descriptions of the development of the many
institutions with which Legett was associated. For a quarter of a century
Legett served Simmons College (now Hardin Simmons University) as
a founder, trustee, and chairman of the board. Appointed to the board
of Texas A&M, he served for eight years, the last four as president of the
This biography includes much detail on Taylor County history and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/381/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.