The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 37
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Forerunners of Baylor
his brothers, John, Peter, and Isaac. They left behind their
mother and her triplet brothers, Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego - names forcibly emphasizing the Bible's influence on
the family. In Missouri, Bays soon made the acquaintance of
Moses Austin and encountered adventurers from filibustering
expeditions west of the Sabine during 1818 and 1819, who
revived his spirit of wanderlust. In time he became identified
with Austin's colonization scheme and joined with thirty-two
other families who headed into the trackless wilderness for
the new country of Texas, in 1820, even before Moses Austin
set out for Mexico to obtain his colonization contract. How
many of the Bays clan accompanied Joseph Bays to Texas is
As the years advanced, Bays's love of adventure began to
wane, and the urge to preach gained the ascendency. Apparently,
the metamorphosis was completed by the time he reached the
border of Texas; he put the rifle on the rack and used the Bible
more frequently. In Sabine Parish, Louisiana, just east of
Pendleton's Ferry, the long journey of the thirty-three families
came to a halt on June 30, 1820. The stop was occasioned by
the need to await word from Moses Austin. For some years
thereafter most of Bays's activities were confined to this im-
mediate vicinity. Here he is reported to have done much
preaching. Apparently he did not manifest the same impatience
to move on as did some of his fellow-travelers. Subsequently,
he was invited by one Joseph Hinds to come west of the Sabine
River and preach in the Hinds large two-story home about
eighteen miles from San Augustine Mission. These services,
repeated for several months, were the first Baptist services
on Texas soil, of which there is a record. Bays's biographer
credits him with such powerful and effective preaching that one
Billie Cook, a Universalist preacher, was converted and baptized,
although it is not clear whether this was on Texas or Louisiana
soil. Some opposition arose among the Texas settlers to Bays's
preaching in the Hinds home; so he confined his activities to
Camp Sabine, east of the river. In December, 1820, Moses
Austin, in returning from San Antonio, was stricken with
pneumonia in the home of Hugh McGuffin. Bays, because of
his friendship for Austin and also because of his skill in the
primitive methods of treating sickness, was called in to nurse
the sick man and stayed with him until his health was restored.
Shortly thereafter, however, Moses Austin died in Missouri.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/46/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.