Bell Prairie [Homesite of Henry F. Gillette]
2000-1/2 Tri-Cities Beach Road
Baytown , 77521
Bell Prairie is the name of Henry Gillette's plantation home, once located near the marker site
Directions: Old Hwy 146, right on Spur 55/TX99, right on Tri-Cities Beach Road/TX2354, 1.5 miles, marker is at the Harbor View Blvd. entrance to Bay Oaks Harbor subdivision
Key Time Period: 1846 - 1865 Statehood - Civil War
Marker Text: Once located southwest of this site was the home of Henry Falvel Gillette (1816-1896). A native of Connecticut, Gillette came to Texas in 1840 at the urging of his cousin, Ashbel Smith. He became a noted educator in Harris, Washington, and Polk counties. He married Lucinda Maxey (1826-1901) of Washington County in 1842.
The Gillette family lived on the plantation of Lucinda's father, William Maxey, in present San Jacinto County from about 1848 until 1859, when Henry bought property on Galveston Bay. He named his plantation home Bell Prairie. The plantation included a two-story brick home, matching carriage house, and slave quarters. a wharf on the property was used for the importation of cattle from England.
In addition to operating his plantation, Gillette was superintendent of the Bayland Orphan's Home on nearby Goose Creek and was a founding member and worthy master of the Cedar Bayou Masonic Lodge.
Following Henry Gillette's death, Bell Prairie remained in the family until the mid-20th century. The plantation home was severely damaged in the 1900 hurricane and burned to the ground after being struck by lightning in the 1915 storm. (1989)
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 542 J
GPS Coordinates: 29 42.023, 94 56.523
Precinct No: 2
Marker No: 10613