Chilton, Horace (1853–1932)

By: Anne W. Hooker

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 2, 2019

Horace Chilton, lawyer and statesman, son of Ella (Goodman) and George W. Chilton, was born on December 29, 1853, near Tyler, Texas. His mother taught him at home until he began attending local schools, including Charnwood Institute, at the age of ten. He later spent one semester at Lynnland Institution in Glendale, Kentucky. He learned the printing business and at the age of eighteen published a tri-weekly newspaper at Tyler, the Tyler Sun. Later he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1872, and began his practice in Tyler. Chilton was assistant attorney general of Texas from 1881 to 1883, delegate to the Democratic national conventions of 1888 and 1896, and the first native Texan to sit in the United States Congress. Governor James Stephen Hogg appointed him to succeed John H. Reagan in 1891. Although he sought election to the position, Roger Q. Mills defeated him to replace Reagan. In March 1895 Chilton was elected to follow Richard B. Coke in the Senate and served until March 3, 1901. He returned to his law practice in Tyler, but moved to Beaumont later in 1901 to become Governor Hogg's office manager for his oil operations at Spindletop oilfield. He returned to Tyler, and in 1906 he represented the city in his most famous case, a successful fight to keep the offices of the Cotton Belt (St. Louis Southwestern) Railroad in that town. Chilton married Mary W. Grinnan on February 20, 1877; they had five children. He moved to Dallas in 1906 and lived there until his death on January 12, 1932. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler. He was an Episcopalian.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress. Robert W. Glover, ed., Tyler and Smith County, Texas (n.p.: Walsworth, 1976). C. W. Raines, Year Book for Texas (2 vols., Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1902, 1903). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Albert Woldert, A History of Tyler and Smith County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1948).

  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anne W. Hooker, “Chilton, Horace,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 2, 2019

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