Bayland Orphans' Home for Boys, a county home for dependent and delinquent boys, was chartered as the Confederate Orphans' Home on September 24, 1866, and organized in Houston on January 15, 1867, by Texas Confederate veterans. The institution was first located at Bayland on the west side of Galveston Bay near Morgan's Point, at a place that later became part of the Goose Creek oilfield. The nonsectarian home, planned to care for and educate up to 250 orphans of deceased Confederate soldiers, opened on August 13, 1867. Henry F. Gillette was superintendent from 1867 to 1882, and Col. Ashbel Smith served as staff doctor. Private support for the home came primarily from Galveston and Houston. In the 1870s the home received a share of state public lands, including acreage in Shackelford, Stevens, and Callahan counties. Agents for the institution were kept in the field to gather and accept donations of all kinds, and a small community church at Harmony Grove was moved to the site for use as a school. By 1878 the home owned a 328-acre farm and several buildings and had cash reserves.
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