Gaines-Oliphint House

By: Ingrid Broughton Morris

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 23, 2016

The Gaines-Oliphint House is on State Highway 21 seven miles east of Milam in Sabine County. The structure, built by James Gaines on property that he acquired in 1830, is one of the oldest extant log residential buildings in Texas. The house, which measures fifty-two by twenty feet and has 2,000 square feet of living space, is a 1½-story double-pen log structure featuring dogtrots (see DOG-RUN HOUSES) upstairs and down. Longleaf pine was used for the planking, and cypress was used for the foundation beams and roofing. A staircase attached to the wall of the west pen in the downstairs dogtrot area provided access to the second floor. The upstairs dogtrot was enclosed, and porches ran the length of the house both front and back. All of the flooring was hand-planed and had a tongue-and-groove construction; the ceiling joists and base moldings were also hand-planed and beaded. In the interior of the house, the spaces between the logs were covered with hand-beveled batts. The two chimneys, one at each end of the house, were constructed of local stone and handmade brick, and the chimneys' original limestone mortar contained shell from the nearby Sabine River.

In 1843 Gaines sold the house to Martha Oliphint and moved to Nacogdoches County. About 1845 Oliphint's daughter, Fanny, made the still-legible chalk notations in the upstairs dogtrot concerning the schedule of the riverboat Buffalo, the names of the Oliphint family members, and the initials of her future husband. Two additions were made to the house about 1860. The house was bought by the Waller family in 1910.

The Gaines-Oliphint House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. In the late 1980s it was under renovation. Tours were administered by the Sabine District Chapter 33 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas.

James Wright Steely, comp., A Catalog of Texas Properties in the National Register of Historic Places (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1984).


  • Architecture
  • Houses, Mansions, and Plantations

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

Ingrid Broughton Morris, “Gaines-Oliphint House,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2021,

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July 23, 2016