This week in Baylor history: R.E.B. Baylor’s wandering gravesite

After Judge R.E.B. Baylor, Baylor University’s co-founder and namesake, died in late December 1873, his remains were buried in a simple grave located on the original Baylor campus in Independence, Texas. When Baylor relocated from Independence to Waco 13 years later in 1886, Judge Baylor’s grave remained on what was then a deserted campus.

The old Baylor campus was put to various other uses as the years went by, but Judge Baylor’s gravesite slowly became somewhat neglected. Finally, on May 8, 1917, Baylor’s remains were unearthed and reinterred in Belton on the campus of Baylor Female College. Today, that school is known as the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

You’d think that the story of Judge Baylor’s remains would end with the reinterring in 1917, but it didn’t. In 1964, when a fire at UMHB destroyed the building adjacent to Judge Baylor’s grave, much of the burned building collapsed onto the gravesite. So, in December 1965, the judge’s remains were moved once again –– this time to a special memorial in the middle of campus.

Meanwhile, if you travel to Independence today and visit Windmill Hill, the site of the original male campus of Baylor University, you can still see the humble setting where Judge Baylor’s original gravesite was, and read more about him on a Texas Historical Marker placed nearby. Here’s more information about Baylor in Independence.


2 Responses

  1. Larry Collins at |

    Why were Judge Baylor’s remain moved to Belton instead of to the main campus of his name-saje in Waco? Did someone at MHB just get there first??

  2. Bill Gean at |

    Judge Baylor planned and established two schools. One for men, and one for women. This was the way that he intended for them to operate. Mary Hardin-Baylor is the school he founded, while the university (now known as Baylor) merged with Waco College when it moved from Independence to Waco. At the time when his remains were moved to MHB, it is reported that MHB trustees discussed the move with Judge Baylor’s family and received proper authority for the move.


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