Thursday, February 15, 2007

 

Baylor History, Part One


Over the past few weeks, I have become aware that many Baylor students have only a vague awareness of Baylor's history. Over the next weeks, in one post per day, I shall try to rectify that situation with the help of an elderly friend. We begin our history with the moving story of the founder of Baylor, Judge Baylor:

In the year 1845, Texas was a remarkable and wild place. In January of that year, the month of Baylor’s founding, Texas existed as an independent Republic seized from Mexico by renegade Southerners and Europeans who were ornery, driven and fiercely independent. One symptom of these qualities was that very few towns were well populated; Rather, some newcomer would take up a plot of land, name it for himself or the town he came from, set down his family in a cabin in a prime spot, and wait for others to follow. The problem, of course, was that Texas was all leaders and no followers, and the next family to come along would keep moving past the already established “towns” and simply set up their own farther along. As a result, by 1845, Texas was comprised of 798 recognized settlements, with an average population of six per town. In that year, Dallas had four residents, Fort Worth seven (all members of the Worth family, who had built a “fort” of rocks and brush), San Antonio (then still known as “Sam Antonio,” after its founder) sixteen, Waco four, and Houston one (that one being Sam Houston).

Predictably, many of these town founders also opened “colleges,” with the student body limited to the children of the founding father. In Liberty, the County Seat of Liberty County, Dwight Liberty founded Liberty College, which much later was seized by fellow Baptist Jerry Falwell and moved to Virginia. In Fort Worth, Milgrane Worth opened Worth College of Dentistry, which resulted in his five children becoming the first dentists in Texas. Eric Tech of Lubbock (named after his hometown in Tennessee) founded Tech University, which later became Texas Tech University after it was taken over by the state in the wake of the Rubella epidemic which wiped out the entire campus population in 1934.

Into this mix came Judge Benjamin Franklin Baylor, who rode in from Georgia with his wife, Tiffany, and their five children in 1843. Contrary to his own account, “Judge” was Baylor’s given first name, and he had neither legal training nor had he held any judicial position. He settled in the middle of what is now Baylor County, and called the “town,” which consisted of his lonely cabin, “Baylor.” His children, (Gideon, Galwain, Ezekial, Mordecai and Liz) all survived the long trip from Northern Georgia unscathed. At the time of their arrival, the children ranged in age from twelve to seventeen and were a fierce and feisty lot. Gideon was the oldest, and at seventeen was already larger than his father. He had been a promising athlete (in both football and dueling) back in Georgia, and sorely regretted the move to Texas. Despite this wellspring of resentment, it was Gideon who was to be the first student of Baylor University.

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Comments:
You forgot about the slaughtering of the Indians. You should ask Prof. CrimPro about that. It's quite an intriguing story that includes crime, romance, and Anna Nicole Smith.
 
We'll get to that. Be patient... this is only the first installment!
 
Does Jedediah Springfield and his silver tongue figure in this somehow?
 
the oldest university in texas: http://www.southwestern.edu/about/about-history.html
 
I think I know who anonymous 1:25 is...Go Bucs!! :)
 
You have appropriated our history and blog mythology, sir. Of course, this means war. The slavish Oslerian hordes are no match for the robust BearMeat interns. Prepare your white flags and lock up your women.

To arms!
 
Where's today's installment?
 
The creepy thing is, one of the dudes in that picture is the spitting image fo Solan=Christ!!!'s avatar on BaylorFans.

It's fitting, though. The early settlers and students of Baylor had to cut their hair and beards by pounding it to bits with rocks, which was such a hassle and a pain that they just went for long times with long hair and long beards like that.

--token history geek/invalid
 
1:25--

You can't just purchase the oldest university in Texas, take it under your wing, and not even really operate it anymore to actually be the oldest.

BID. Way to steal the idea of an "immortal" sports team from us, too, man.
 
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