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Silas Baggett’s Queen Anne-style home exemplified the prosperity of Belton, Texas, during the heyday of the cattle drives down the Chisholm Trail to northern beef markets in Kansas and Montana.

Silas Baggett House

Plant, Sky, Window, Building

Silas Baggett Grave, North Belton Cemetery

Sky, Statue, Sculpture, Art

Silas Baggett was an early Bell County settler who was born in Alabama but migrated to Texas with his family in 1841. They settled in Rusk County in east Texas. Not long after, Silas met Ellen Warren, the daughter of Eli B. Warren. Silas and Ellen were married in 1844 and assumed the guardianship of Silas’ seven minor brothers and sisters. Silas and Ellen along with Ellen’s parents moved to Bell County in 1851. Silas rented land and later purchased 500 acres north of Pepper’s Creek about nine miles northeast of Belton where the Baggetts established the town of Howard. Howard obtained a post office in 1852. It was a stage stop and Chisholm Trail trading center in the 1870s. 

During the Civil War, Silas and his two older sons joined the Confederate cause in Captain Wat Graves’ Company in Showalter’s Regiment. They served with the 4th Texas Cavalry on the Rio Grande frontier from 1864 until the war’s end. Following their return home, Silas and his sons saw the potential for turning cattle into needed cash by arranging cattle drives to northern beef markets. Silas continued to invest in land and businesses in Belton and helped to organize the Belton Compress Company, the Belton Water Works, and the Belton Oil Mill Company. He also served as a county commissioner for six years.

Silas and Ellen built a large home in Howard in 1875. When it burned about ten years later, they decided to move to Belton. Using the profits from his cattle business and other ventures, he built a two-story house located on Main Street. The Silas Baggett home illustrates the use of stock house plans and pattern books in the construction of ornate late-Victorian middle class houses. Silas’ son, Ele, built a mirror image of the home across the street. At the time, George F. Barber and other architects sold house plans through published catalogs, and it is likely that a local builder borrowed floor plans and design motifs from their work.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, the house is an “exuberant Queen Anne style wood frame house with a projecting chamfered bay and corner tower.” The house has multiple gables decorated with typical Queen Anne sunbursts or fish-scale ornamentation. A large two-story gallery at the center is flanked on either side by a gabled wing and bell-roofed tower. An ornate gabled dormer projects centrally from the roof above the gallery.

Silas Baggett died in 1897 and is buried in North Belton Cemetery.

Baggett, Silas and Ellen, House - Belton, TX - U.S. National Register of Historic Places on” Accessed April 18, 2018.

Bell County Historical Commission (Tex.). Story of Bell County, Texas. Edited by E. A. Limmer. Austin, Tex: Eakin Press, 1988.