Bayland Orphans Home [Replacement]
Bayland Park, 2641 SH 146 Business
Baytown , 77521
(est. 1866) See "Suffer the Children: A History of the Confederate Orphanage at Baylands, Harris County, Texas 1867 to May 1918" by Trevia Wooster Beverly (2004); in March 2008 new "Confederate Naval Works at Goose Creek" marker installed next to this marker; REPLACEMENT MARKER FOR # 10609 (1964), original marker at Baytown Parks Department pending move to Harris County Records Center; marker text revised for 2012 marker; 1964 text: "Established in 1866 by Texas Confederate veterans for children of deceased soldiers. Had capacity for 250. Rev. Henry F. Gillette was first superintendent. C. S. A. Col. Ashbel Smith, diplomat, soldier and statesman, was staff doctor. Trustees included leading citizens. Donations from Harris and Galveston counties started the home, but later gifts came from as far away as New Orleans. After the Confederate children grew up, home and school were opened to others. Bayland was forerunner of the De Pelchin faith Home, of Houston."
Directions: From SH 225, north on SH 146, cross the Fred Hartman Bridge toward Baytown, after crossing the bridge exit to the right on Business 146; then turn right at the traffic light into the Waterfront District Public Boat Ramp entrance, then turn left and continue across the parking lot to the McBride Boat Ramp; the marker is to the left of the McBride Boat Ramp
Key Time Period: 1866 - 1876 Reconstruction
Marker Text: The Civil War Shattered many families, leaving orphans, destitute widows, and children whose stepfathers were unable or unwilling to support them. Motivated by such conditions, Henry Gillette led a group who met in 1866 to form an orphanage for children of Confederate soldiers, which the Texas legislature charted on September 24 as "The Orphans Home at Bayland." A Board of Trustees organized on January 15, 1867 at the Houston home of Dr. John L. Bryan included Gillette, Bryan, and Rev. C. C. Preston, who had bought Bryan's property on the west bank of Goose Creek overlooking Tabbs Bay.
The site, including a two-story brick house, became "The Orphans Home at Bayland." Preston was the first superintendent but died in August 1867; he was succeeded by Gillette. Gillette's sister, Jeanette Duke, a Confederate widow with two young sons, became matron of the home in 1870. Dr. Ashbel Smith served as the home's physician. From two sisters enrolling in February 1866, the orphanage grew to serve 76 youths by 1870. The orphans home cemetery, now unmarked, contains at least eight burials.
In 1873, the state legislature granted the home more than 48,000 acres to sell for operating funds. Additional large gifts included land and stocks donated by William and J. J. Hendley of Galveston. By October 1886, the number of orphans had decreased to 37. Through the years, Houston was the site of most board meetings and support for the school, so in 1888, the board closed the Bayland site and relocated the home to 35 acres north of Houston (now in Woodland Heights). In Houston the home changed names, location, governance and mission but lives on today in Harris County's Burnett Bayland Rehabilitation Center. The original orphans home site in Bayland Park is remembered as the beginning of a story of charity and hope for young Texans. (1964, 2012)
Marker is property of State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 541 E
GPS Coordinates: 29 42.788, 95 59.613
Precinct No: 2
Marker No: 12HR11