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Houston, Margaret Bell (1877–1966)

William E. Bard Biography Entry

Margaret Bell Houston, poet and novelist, was born at Cedar Bayou in 1877, the daughter of Lucy (Anderson) and Sam Houston, Jr. She began writing verse as a child. She studied at St. Mary's College in Dallas and later attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Columbia University. Her first volume of poetry, Prairie Flowers, appeared in 1907. In 1926 a second volume, The Singing Heart, won the annual book contest of the Poetry Society of Texas, and in 1929 her poem "Cerelle," about a cowboy who marries a Galveston woman, won the annual award of the Poetry Society of America. She published a third book of poetry, Dusk, in 1930. Collected Poems of Margaret Bell Houston was published posthumously in 1967 by the Sam Houston Shrine in Huntsville.

In addition to poetry, she wrote short stories and serials, which, with her poetry, appeared in such publications as McCall's, Harper's, Century, Good Housekeeping, and Poetry. Between 1914 and 1958 she published at least thirteen novels, including The Straw Wife (1914), Moon Delight (1931), Magic Valley (1934), Dark of the Moon (1943), and Cottonwoods Grow Tall (1958).

Margaret Houston was a member of the Dallas Shakespeare Club and the Texas Institute of Letters as well as the Poetry Society of Texas. She was married twice, first to M. L. Kauffman, with whom she had one daughter, and second to William H. Probert. In 1953 she moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where she died on June 22, 1966. She was buried at Restland Cemetery in Dallas.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Dallas Morning News, July 15, 24, 1966. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 14, 1932. Vaida Stewart Montgomery, A Century with Texas Poets and Poetry (Dallas: Kaleidograph, 1934). Who's Who in America, 1960–61. Who's Who of American Women, 1958–59.


  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Poets
  • Women
  • Authors and Writers

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

William E. Bard, “Houston, Margaret Bell,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 12, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 2, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: