John Baylor

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For the football player, see John Baylor (American football).
John Robert Baylor
Lieutenant Colonel John Baylor.gif
Born (1822-07-27)July 27, 1822
Paris, Kentucky
Died February 8, 1894(1894-02-08) (aged 71)
Montell, Texas
Allegiance  Republic of Texas
United States United States of America
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch Republic of Texas Texas Army
 Confederate States Army
Years of service 1840–1842
1861–1862, 1863, 1865
Rank Confederate States of America Colonel.png Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War
- Eastern Arizona Campaign
- Western Arizona Campaign
- Galveston Campaign
Other work Military Governor of Confederate Territory of Arizona, 1861–62

John Robert Baylor (July 27, 1822 – February 8, 1894) was a politician in Texas and a colonel in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was removed as military governor of Arizona Territory by Jefferson Davis, who disapproved of his genocidal plans for the Apaches.


Baylor was born in Paris, Kentucky, the son of a United States Army surgeon, and lived on various Army posts during his youth. He moved to Texas at age 18, where he became a prominent citizen, state legislator, publisher of a newspaper called The White Man, and Indian agent.

In 1861, after the outbreak of the American Civil War, Baylor organized the 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles to drive the Union Army from the southwest on behalf of the breakaway Confederate States of America, and led his men into New Mexico Territory. Following his victory at the First Battle of Mesilla and the surrender of federal forces in the area, he proclaimed himself the military governor of the Confederate Territory of Arizona, a region encompassing the southern half of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona. His position was confirmed by the Confederate Congress. A disagreement over critical articles in the Mesilla Times led to a fight between Baylor and the editor, Robert P. Kelly, who died of his injuries. A member of Baylor's Cabinet, Attorney General Marcus H. MacWillie, officially pardoned him and was later rewarded when Baylor orchestrated MacWillie's election to the First Confederate Congress.

At one point, Baylor ordered his men to commit genocide against the Apache, issuing the following order to his men:

[U]se all means to persuade the Apaches or any tribe to come in for the purpose of making peace, and when you get them together kill all the grown Indians and take the children prisoners and sell them to defray the expense of killing the adult Indians. Buy whiskey and such other goods as may be necessary for the Indians and I will order vouchers given to cover the amount expended. Leave nothing undone to insure success, and have a sufficient number of men around to allow no Indian to escape.[1]

There is no indication that any of his officers ever followed this order. Nevertheless, when news of it reached Confederate President Jefferson Davis, he immediately relieved Baylor of his position as governor. His commission in the army was also revoked.

Baylor later was elected to the Second Confederate Congress. He enlisted in the Confederate States Army as a private and served in the ranks at the Battle of Galveston. He regained his commission of colonel and was raising a new force to recapture the Arizona Territory when the war ended.

After the war, Baylor lived in San Antonio. In 1873, he unsuccessfully campaigned for the Democratic Party's nomination for the governorship of Texas, losing to Richard Coke. In 1876, during the height of the Black Hills War, he offered his services to the United States Army against the Lakota Sioux.

In 1878, Baylor established a sizable ranch near Montell, Texas, and prospered. However, he continued to be involved in violent confrontations and reputedly killed a man in a feud over livestock in the 1880s. This killing happened in Uvalde County Texas and involved a man called Gilchrist. Baylor was charged with first degree murder but acquitted on the grounds of self-defense in May 1881.[2]

John R. Baylor died at Montell at the age of 71 and was buried in Ascension Episcopal Cemetery.




  • Thompson, Jerry Don, Colonel John Robert Baylor: Texas Indian Fighter and Confederate Soldier. Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1971.
  • Allardice, Bruce S., Confederate Colonels, University of Missouri Press, 2008.
  • Allardice, Bruce S., More Generals in Gray, Louisiana State University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8071-3148-2.
  • Katheder, Thomas, The Baylors of Newmarket: The Decline and Fall of a Virginia Planter Family. New York and Bloomington, Ind., 2009.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Lewis Owings
Governors of the Confederate Territory of Arizona
August 1, 1861–March, 1862
Succeeded by
Lewis Owings
Confederate States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Malcolm D. Graham
C.S.A. Representative from Texas's 5th Congressional District
Succeeded by