While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Michael Pullin

BARCLAY, WILLIAM ARCHIBALD (1907–1969). William Archibald Barclay, organist and professor of organ, was born in Temple, Texas, on February 26, 1907, the son of Rigsby Ledbetter and Louzelle Rose Barclay. Gifted from his earliest days, Barclay began playing the piano almost as soon as his hands could reach the keys. His mother, a talented pianist and organist, was his first piano teacher. On the organ, Barclay began with Mrs. W. A. Harrell in Temple. As a teenager he traveled alone on the train to Dallas to study under Harold Van Katwick. Barclay had the ability to play by ear any music he heard. As a result, he played in church as early as age ten. He entered Burleson College in Greenville, Texas, the year he graduated from Temple High School (1923). The next year, he transferred to Baylor University in Waco, from which he graduated in 1927. During the summers he studied in New York at Columbia University and at Guilmant Organ School with William Carl and Ernest Hutcheson. After graduation, Barclay moved to Fort Worth, where he accepted the position of professor of organ at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, thanks in part to his friendship with Isham Reynolds, director of the School of Gospel Music. Barclay was well liked by the students, and his performances were always well attended. One commentator at a commencement service for which Barclay played wrote, "President Scarborough presided, Prof. I. E. Reynolds had charge of the music and Prof. William Barclay was at the pipe organ. How that boy can play! He gets a wonderful amount of music out of that great instrument."

Barclay remained with the seminary from 1928 to 1948. He held numerous other positions in and around Fort Worth, including staff organist at WBAP radio in Fort Worth (1928–42), professor of organ at Trinity University in Waxahachie (1933–36), organist at Hemphill Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth (1933–36), organist (1942–46) and minister of music (1946–69) at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, staff organist at WBAP-TV in Fort Worth (1949–53), and "director of serious music" at WBAP–FM in Fort Worth (1955–57). Barclay was married in 1948 to Dora Poteet. The couple had no children. At the time of his death, of cancer on January 28, 1969, in Fort Worth, Barclay was married to a woman named Louise. He was buried in the family plot in Temple.


Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 29, 1969. F. M. McConnell, "Seminary Commencement," Baptist Standard, May 29, 1930. William J. Reynolds, The Cross and the Lyre: The Story of the School of Church Music, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994). Vertical files, Archives and Special Collections Department, Roberts Library, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth.

Image Use Disclaimer

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: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Michael Pullin, "BARCLAY, WILLIAM ARCHIBALD," accessed May 25, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbabr.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on April 10, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...