||By the turn of the twentieth century, Bay City was a flourishing community with houses and buildings constructed all over the city. John Thomas Sargent (1834-1911), a prominent cattleman, purchased a home in Matagorda for his family after a devastating storm destroyed his home and took the lives of his wife and father. In 1881, John married Jane Ann Bates (1858-1945). In 1905, Jane purchased several lots in the Hamilton Heights subdivision, one of the highest points in Bay City. John Sargent assisted in the design of the new home planned for his daughter, Catherine Minna Sargent Rugeley (1884-1967), and her husband, James Walcott Rugeley (1874-1935). The home was often referred to as “Miss Kate Rugeley’s Home,” although John and Jane also lived in the house for a time.
J.S. Gibson was hired in 1905 to construct the three-story home in the Victorian style. However, after the death of John Sargent, the home was remodeled with Prairie and Greek Revival elements. Features include a large veranda, beveled and stained glass, cypress shutters for storm protection, and lumber shipped from Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana. This stately home boasts 26 rooms, including bathrooms and pantries with winding staircases, transom windows and custom hardware.
John and Jane Sargent were active in the communities of Matagorda and Bay City, involved in the Masonic Lodge, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and the Bay City Public Library Association. Their son-in-law, James Rugeley, owned a local cotton gin and was also a respected leader in the community. The home was in the Sargent-Rugeley family until 1969.
RECORDED TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK – 2015