Foremost member of the Arts and Crafts Movement who founded The Chicago Arts and Crafts Society. Known for his designs of the John Farson House in Oak Park, Illinois, and Pleasant Home.
He began apprenticing with the firm of Augustus Bauer and
He was an architect of the Prairie School, a style of architecture popular in the Midwestern U.S.; he was elected a Fellow in 1916 of the American Institute of Architects.
His family was residing in Mill Creek, West Virginia, when he was born, but relocated to New Albany, Indiana, a few years later. His family then moved to Chicago when he was a young teenager because of their difficult financial straits. He married Elizabeth Brooks in 1893.
He worked for a time with architect Frank Lloyd Wright at Silsbee's firm, and his influence on Midwest architecture was considered comparable to Wright's influence.