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 »


David A. Falloure and David H. Falloure

BALDWIN, WILLIAM WRIGHT (1845–1936). William Wright Baldwin, railroad attorney and land developer; credited with creating the Westmoreland Addition in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas; as well as founding Bellaire, Texas; was born in Keosauqua, Iowa, on September 28, 1845, to Charles and Rachel Baldwin. Baldwin attended public primary and secondary schools in his hometown of Keosauqua. He was admitted to Iowa State University in 1862 and graduated in 1866, following brief service during the Civil War. Baldwin was one of the founding members of the Zetagathean Society, a literary organization, and pledged the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

In 1864 Baldwin left Iowa State University to enlist with Union forces during the Civil War, specifically Company D, Forty-fourth Regiment, Iowa Infantry. This volunteer unit was organized in Davenport, Iowa, on June 1, 1864. The unit was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and assigned with guard duty until the volunteers were mustered out on September 15, 1864.

Baldwin returned to Iowa State University and completed his undergraduate studies, then entered Iowa Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated in 1867 as class salutatorian. In the course of his legal education, Baldwin worked for printers by copying Supreme Court opinions. He earned enough to pay for law school and also save seventy-five dollars. The following year he worked as a law clerk before accepting a partnership offer to practice law with Judge C. B. Harrington.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company (CB&QRC) hired Baldwin in 1879. His first post was as Iowa land commissioner with the legal department. He advanced within the corporate system and became president of two lines that were consolidated with the CB&QRC—the St. Louis, Keokuk and Northwestern and Chicago, Burlington and Kansas City lines. Baldwin was eventually named assistant to the president and then elected vice president in 1909. In this role, he was responsible for company activities involving taxation, land matters, telegraph operations, as well as government relations.

Baldwin was also president of the South End Land Company, and one of its projects in the city of Houston was the Westmoreland Addition in the Montrose area. The company purchased forty-four acres in 1902 and developed a twelve-block subdivision. By 1903 lots were sold in what the Westmoreland Preservation Alliance refers to as the “first planned, elite residential area” in Houston. The next development for Baldwin and the South End Land Company came in 1908 with the purchase of Westmoreland Farms, six miles west of Houston. Baldwin named the new community Bellaire, after Bellaire, Ohio, which was served by one of the CB&QR rail lines, as well as for the “good air” from constant Gulf breezes.

Baldwin was a noted philanthropist in Des Moines County, Iowa. He served as a trustee of the Burlington Public Library, president of the Charity Organization Society, president of the local school board, and director and secretary of the Opera House Company. Politically he was a member of the Democratic Party.

In September 1870 Baldwin married Alice Tuttle, daughter of Martin and Mary (George) Tuttle. Her uncle was James M. Tuttle, a colonel of the Second Iowa Infantry. William and Alice Baldwin had three sons (Martin, William, and Roger) and one daughter (Rachel).  Baldwin died ten years after his wife Alice on July 17, 1936, in Cook County, Illinois. He is buried next to Alice in the Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, Iowa.


Augustine M. Antrobus, History of Des Moines County, Iowa and Its People, Volume 2 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915). Bellaire Historical Marker Information, Bellaire, Texas (http://ci.bellaire.tx.us/457/Bellaire-Historical-Marker-Information), accessed March 18, 2016. Crawford House, Westmoreland Civic Association (http://westmorelandpreservationalliance.org/specificpropertyhistory/crawfordhouse.html), accessed March 18, 2016. Union Iowa Volunteers, The Civil War: Battle Unit Details, National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UIA0044RI), accessed October 8, 2016. 

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, David A. Falloure and David H. Falloure, "BALDWIN, WILLIAM WRIGHT ," accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbald.

Uploaded on October 11, 2016. 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...