January 6, 1874
Robert Baylor, best known as the principal founder of Baylor University in Texas but also a prominent figure in Alabama, died at the age of 80. A native of Kentucky and a successful lawyer there, Baylor moved to Tuscaloosa in 1820 during the period known as the “Alabama Fever.” By 1824, he won election to the newly created state Legislature. After losing his race for re-election in 1827, Baylor the following year won a seat in the U.S. House representing Alabama’s 2nd District. Aligned with opponents of President Andrew Jackson, who was well-liked in Alabama, Baylor suffered politically and ended up serving only one term. After losing a series of elections, Baylor found success as a lawyer in Mobile. In 1839, he moved to Talladega, living with a cousin who was a Baptist minister. He soon was ordained himself. He then moved to Texas and focused on establishing the Baptist-affiliated university that would be named for him. After his death, his body was interred on the campus.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.