Baylor, Robert Emmett Bledsoe

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Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor achieved prominence as a jurist, a Baptist preacher, and a law professor. He was instrumental in the founding of the first Baptist college in Texas, which was named Baylor University in his honor.

Baylor was born May 10, 1793, in Lincoln County, Kentucky. He began his political career in 1819 with service in the Kentucky legislature, moving to the Alabama legislature in 1824. He represented Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1829 to 1831.

In 1839 Baylor settled in Texas and began a judicial career. He was appointed to a Texas district court in 1841 and also served as associate judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas from 1841 to 1845. Following the annexation of Texas by the United States, he rendered decisions as a U.S. district judge from 1845 to 1861. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Texas state constitution in 1845.

As a Baptist preacher, Baylor helped to procure a charter for a Baptist college that would come to be named Baylor University. The university was originally located in Independence, Texas, but later moved to Waco in 1886, where it remained. Baylor began teaching courses in the science of law at the new university in 1849. In 1857, Baylor University established its original school of law, and Baylor served on the original faculty. With the exception of the period of the Civil War, when the school of law did not offer classes, Baylor taught courses in constitutional law and jurisprudence until 1873. He died on December 30, 1873, in Washington County, Texas.

further readings

"1849–1883: The Early History." Baylor Law School. Available online at <> (accessed June 16, 2003).

McSwain, Betty Ann McCartney. 1976. The Bench and Bar of Waco and McLennan County, 1849–1976. Waco, Tex.: Texian.