The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 41
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Forerunners of Baylor
In comparison with his contemporaries, Pilgrim was out-
standing as an educator. This can be fully appreciated only
by a brief survey of the then existing conditions and educational
facilities. The Constitution of Coahuila and Texas adopted in
1827 made general provision for education. The actual establish-
ment and maintenance of schools, however, was left to the local
ayuntamientos, and every empresario was required to make pro-
vision for his own school. Following an ancient practice, as new
towns were laid out, one block was set aside for public buildings
and another for schools. This was observed in such towns as
Gonzales, Bastrop, Victoria, and Nacogdoches, and many others,
but for years these blocks were not used for the purpose
originally intended. Some schools that were built were subse-
quently abandoned because of unsettled conditions or decreased
population. Of the four municipalities in the department of
Bexar, San Antonio alone maintained a school from 1828 to
1834, while in the department of Nacogdoches with eight
municipalities there were only three schools. In the department
of Brazos, with its capital in San Felipe, were located most of
the Anglo-American settlers in its five municipalities. In these
settlements there arose private enterprises known as "old field"
or "corn field" schools. These were organized and taught by
men who had been lawyers and ministers in the old states, and
usually they were conducted rather haphazardly. Some of the
well-to-do settlers sent their children back to the states for
schooling. Among the early teachers were T. J. Garner, Henry
Smith, D. B. Edward, Gail Borden, and others well known in
Texas history. Students of educational developments in Texas
are agreed that Pilgrim's labors gave a tone and quality that
served as an inspiration to those who followed him. Among his
students were such men as Guy M. Bryan, Stephen F. Austin, Jr.,
Joel W. Robinson, J. H. Bell, and A. P. McCormick.
To churchmen generally, and to Baptists in particular, Pilgrim
is known as the Father of Sunday schools in Texas, and his
work in this connection is best described in his own words:,
Contemplating in imagination what Texas, from its natural advantages,
must soon become, I felt the necessity of moral and religious as well as
intellectual culture, and resolved to make an effort to found a Sunday
school. Notice was given through the school, that on the following Sunday
an address would be delivered on the subject, and I was gratified to see
at the time appointed a large and respectable audience assembled.
An address was delivered. The audience seemed to feel interested, and
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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/m1/50/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.