“Pro Ecclesia – Pro Texana”
For over twenty years, Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor traveled on horseback with a Texas law book in one saddle-bag and the Holy Bible in the other, dispensing justice and preaching the gospel.
Born May 10, 1793, in Lincoln County, Kentucky, Baylor’s formal education had been interrupted by service in the War of 1812. Completing his education after the war, he went to Alabama in 1821, was elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1824 and to the U.S. Congress in 1828. In 1836 he commanded a battalion of Alabama volunteers against the Creek Indian uprising, and in 1839 was ordained a Baptist minister.
Two years later Baylor came to Texas and settled in Fayette County, establishing a missionary school. He also assisted in establishing the Texas Baptist Union Association and the Texas Baptist Education Society. This latter formed Baylor University at Independence, which opened its doors in 1846, but was later moved and combined with Waco University and rechartered in 1886.
Baylor was elected District Judge and Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. He was a delegate from Fayette County to the Convention of 1845, and supported the establishment of free public schools, homestead exemptions, annual elections, and exclusion of the clergy from the legislature.
A Mason since 1825, he served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1843, 1846 and 1847. In 1853 he helped establish Baylor Lodge No. 125 at Gay Hill, Washington County. Author of the charter of his namesake university, Baylor served on its Board of Trustees and as a professor of law from 1845 until his death. Baylor died in 1874 at Gay Hill. Baylor Lodge No. 125 demised in 1888.
* From The Texas Mason
By Pete Normand, PM
Texas Lodge of Research
* The Texas Masons
The Fraternity of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons in the History of Texas
by Pete Normand, © 1986
Book may be ordered from
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P.O. Box 1300
College Station, TX 77841
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