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Albert Collins Prendergast (1853-1922)

Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1911-1913
Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1913-1918

Albert Collins Prendergast was born in Limestone County, Texas on February 19, 1853. He attended local schools in Limestone County. His father, Davis M'Gee Prendergast, was a lawyer, district judge, and Texas state representative, and he became the first law professor at Trinity University in Tehuacana when it opened its law school in 1873. At the time it was the state's only operating law school.

Following in his father's footsteps, Albert Collins Prendergast was one of four members of Trinity law school's first class, graduating with the LL.B. degree in 1874. He was admitted to the bar that year and practiced law in Limestone County for the next seven years. In 1876 Prendergast married; he and his wife had five children. In 1884 he moved to Waco, where he founded the law firm of Baker & Prendergast and practiced civil law for the next seven years. He then established the firm of Prendergast & Sanford, which continued until his partner, Allan Sanford, became mayor of Waco in 1903. Prendergast was known as a hard-working and painstaking lawyer, and his law practices were very successful.

Prendergast was a member the Twentieth Texas Legislature in 1887-89, and served on the House committee for constitutional amendments. He served as a district judge briefly in 1890. From 1893 to 1911 he was president of the Waco school board. He was a Democrat, and was active briefly in the state's Prohibition party.

Gov. Thomas M. Campbell appointed Prendergast to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals following the resignation of W. F. Ramsey in 1911. Prendergast was elected to a six-year term in the next general election. He served as presiding judge of the court from 1913 until 1917, when he resigned the post due to poor health. He died in Waco on January 6, 1922 and was buried in Waco's Oakwood Cemetery.


Beryl V. Bowen. Prendergast, Albert Collins, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001).

Mark W. Lambert. The Trinity University School of Law, 1873-1878, and the Jurisprudence of Texas, The Houston Lawyer, November/December 2003 (accessed December 1, 2006).

Betty Ann McCartney McSwain, ed. The Bench and Bar of Waco and McLennan County 1849-1976 (Waco, Texas: Texian Press, 1976).