Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor

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R. E. B. Baylor

Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor (May 10, 1793 – December 30, 1873) was an ordained Baptist minister, district judge, and co-founder of Baylor University.[1]

Early life[edit]

Baylor was born on May 10, 1793, in Lincoln County, Kentucky to Walker and Jane Bledsoe Baylor.[2] He served in the Kentucky militia during the War of 1812. After the war he studied law under his uncle Jesse Bledsoe, and practiced law in Kentucky. He was briefly a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1819 to 1820 before he resigned and moved to Alabama.[1][3]

In Alabama he practiced law and continued his political career. In 1824 he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. Baylor was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-first Congress (March 4, 1829 – March 3, 1831) from Alabama's 2nd congressional district and was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1830 to the Twenty-second Congress. In 1836 Baylor fought as a lieutenant colonel against the Creek tribe in the Creek War of 1836.[3] In 1839 Baylor converted to Christianity and was ordained a Baptist minister.[1]

Texas career[edit]

At the age of 46, Baylor moved to Texas, where he would live for the rest of his life.[1] He quickly made a name for himself in Texas law as judge of the Third Judicial District of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, and was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1841, a position he would hold until the annexation of Texas in 1845.[3] After Texas attained statehood, Baylor was appointed by Governor J.P. Henderson as judge over the Third Judicial District of the new state, a position he would hold until 1863.[3]

Baylor was one of the first officers of the Texas Baptist Educational Society[4] and, in 1844, along with Reverend William Tryon and Reverend James Huckins, sent a petition to the Congress of the Republic of Texas asking the nation to charter a Baptist university.[5] In response to this petition, The Republic of Texas produced an Act of Congress that was signed on February 1, 1845, by Anson Jones, providing the charter that yielded Baylor University and, later, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Personal life[edit]

Baylor was a Mason from 1825 until his death.[3] He never married, and fathered no children, although he was close to his nephew, John Baylor.[2] He died on December 30, 1873, and was buried in Independence, Texas on the original site of Baylor University. In 1917 his remains were exhumed and transferred to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas


  1. ^ a b c d Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor Papers, Accession #1362, The Texas Collection, Baylor University
  2. ^ a b "The Naming of Baylor". About Baylor. Baylor University. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "BAYLOR< ROBERT EMMETT BLEDSOE". The Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. 
  4. ^ "TEXAS BAPTIST EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY". The Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. 
  5. ^ "History". About Baylor. Baylor University. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John McKee
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1829 – March 3, 1831
Succeeded by
Samuel Wright Mardis