The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 47
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Forerunners of Baylor
preaching. If such was offered, he presented it to under-
paid ministers. For a time he taught school, and it is known that
he served as a private in the armed forces organized for repell-
ing the Mexican invasion and Indian outbreaks and was under
General Edward Burleson in the Battle of Plum Creek.
That Baylor did not regard himself as a professional minis-
ter is apparent in his willingness to serve in public office to which
he was elected by the Congress of the Republic in 1841. The Con-
stitution of 1836 prohibited ministers and priests from holding
office. This same provision he sought to have incorporated in
the Constitution of 1845 when he was a member of the Con-
stitutional Convention. In that convention, he served on three
important committees and urged such provisions as the estab-
lishment of a public school system, the exemption of homesteads
from forced sale, and the annual election of public officials for
one-year terms by direct vote of the people.
Baylor was best known for his career as a jurist, which began
in 1841, when he was elected by the Congress of the Republic
as circuit judge of the Third Judicial District composed of
Washington, Fayette, Milam, and Robertson counties. By vir-
tue of such judgeship he was by law an ex officio member of the
Texas Supreme Court, a position he held until Texas became a
state. Thereafter, Governor Henderson appointed him judge of
the Third District, to which place he was re-elected until retire-
ment, completing twenty-three years on the bench. Fortunately
for later generations, his opinions written while on the Supreme
Court are preserved for us in the Texas Reports, Dallam's De-
cisions. The twelve opinions written by him reflect his well-
grounded knowledge of common and constitutional law, even
though he confessed to embarrassment over lack of references
and precedents. He displayed great power of analysis and sound
logic in clear, unmistakable language.
Baylor would hold court by day, preach by night, and make
full use of the week ends by riding long distances to meet ec-
clesiastical and judicial engagements. On one occasion, while
holding court in Washington-on-the-Brazos, he baptized thirty-
six converts by moonlight in the Brazos. In Waco, he not only
held the first session of court but also preached one of the first
sermons. Among his first official duties at that place was to
admit to the practice of law young Richard Coke, who later be-
came well known in Texas politics. Baylor's sermons were de-
void of formalisms and were noted for warmth and eloquence.
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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/m1/56/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.