The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946

7orerueHcrs of Haylor
DAN FERGUSON
THE HEARTBEAT of every loyal and patriotic Texan, regardless
of church or school affiliation, has been quickened with
pride over the announcement of Baylor University's Centennial
Celebrations during the current year. The historically curious
will be abundantly rewarded by delving into the annals of the
forerunners and founders of this institution. Their experiences
and activities were not confined exclusively to the secular affairs
of one denomination.
"In those days came Joseph Bays, the Baptist, from the
wilderness of Missouri to the wilderness of Texas"; thus begins
the account of the first Texas preacher of this faith as chronicled
in J. M. Carroll's History of Texas Baptists. Bays was born of
Scotch-Irish nonconformist parents in North Carolina, about
ten years after the American Declaration of Independence. Two
powerful influences gave purpose and direction to his colorful
career: a love of adventure and an impulse to preach. Respond-
ing to the westward urge of the wilderness in 1794, his family
moved on to the dark and bloody ground which later became
the state of Kentucky. Here the lad came to know Daniel Boone
and listened for many hours to the old pioneer's tales of adven-
ture. Likewise, he became familiar with the lore of the forest.
By the time he reached maturity, he was a man six feet in
stature, weighing well over two hundred pounds. He was well
versed in all of the accomplishments of a backwoodsman neces-
sary for self-defense and earning a livelihood. He received no
formal schooling, however, save from his mother, who taught
him to read and write. The Bible was the only book which he
learned well; most of it he memorized, so that in later years he
often quoted long passages from memory. When he was sixteen,
he led in public worship services and did some preaching when
not listening to the adventures of Boone. At eighteen, he married
Miss Roseina Wicher, but whether he was living in Kentucky
or had moved to Missouri is not disclosed. While he was still
residing in Kentucky, however, his father died.
Responding to the lure of adventure and following in the
footsteps of the heroic Boone, Bays moved on to Missouri with

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/. Accessed December 19, 2014.