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John R. Baylor
photographed in the early 1860s
Member of the
C.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 5th congressional district

In office
May 2, 1864 – May 26, 1865
Preceded by M. D. Graham
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Governor of Arizona Territory

In office
August 1, 1861 – March 17, 1862
Preceded by Dr. L. S. Owings (provisional)
Succeeded by Dr. L. S. Owings (in exile)
Personal details
Born John Robert Baylor
(1822-07-27)July 27, 1822
Paris, Kentucky
Died February 6, 1894(1894-02-06) (aged 71)
Uvalde County, Texas
Resting place Church of the Ascension,
Uvalde County, Texas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861–1865
Rank Confederate States of America Colonel.png Colonel
Commands 2d Texas Cavalry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War

John R. Baylor (born John Robert Baylor; July 27, 1822 – February 6, 1894) was an American politician and a senior officer of the Confederate States Army. He was removed as the Governor of Arizona Territory by then Confederate States President Jefferson Davis, who disapproved of his genocidal plans for the Apaches.

Early life[]

John R. Baylor was born in Paris, Kentucky, the son of a United States Army surgeon, and lived on various military posts during his youth. He moved to Texas at the age of 18, where he became a prominent citizen, state legislator, Indian agent, and publisher of a local newspaper called, The White Man.

American Civil War[]

In 1861, after the outbreak of the American Civil War, Baylor organized the 2d Texas Cavalry Regiment (also known as the 2d Texas Mounted Rifles) to drive U.S. forces from the southwest on behalf of the newly formed Confederate States government, and led his cavalrymen into New Mexico Territory.[1]

Governor of Arizona Territory (1861–1862)[]

Following his victory at the First Battle of Mesilla (July 25, 1861), and the surrender of U.S. forces in the area, Baylor proclaimed himself as the Governor of Arizona Territory, a region encompassing the southern half of contemporary New Mexico and Arizona. He never actually had ever stepped foot in Arizona, but this was of little concern to Baylor or the Confederates. On January 18, 1862, the fledgling territory was formally organized by the Confederate States.[2]

Soon, a disagreement over critical articles in the Mesilla Times led to a fight between Baylor and the editor, Robert P. Kelly, whom he murdered. A member of Baylor's Cabinet, Attorney General Marcus H. MacWillie, officially pardoned him and was later rewarded when Baylor orchestrated MacWillie's election to the 1st Confederate States Congress. At one point, Baylor ordered his cavalry regiment to commit genocide against the Apache, issuing the following order to his men:

[U]se all means to persuade the Apaches or any tribe to come in for the purpose of making peace, and when you get them together kill all the grown Indians and take the children prisoners and sell them to defray the expense of killing the adult Indians. Buy whiskey and such other goods as may be necessary for the Indians and I will order vouchers given to cover the amount expended. Leave nothing undone to insure success, and have a sufficient number of men around to allow no Indian to escape.[3]

There is no indication this order was followed. Nevertheless, when news of it reached Davis, he relieved Baylor as governor and revoked his commission as colonel.

C.S. House of Representatives (1863–1865)[]

Baylor later was elected to the 2nd Confederate States Congress. He regained his commission as Colonel and was raising a new force to recapture the Arizona Territory when the American Civil War ended.

Later life[]

After the American Civil War, Baylor lived in San Antonio, Texas. In 1873, he unsuccessfully campaigned for the Democratic party's nomination for Governor of Texas, losing to Richard Coke. In 1876, during the height of the Black Hills War, Baylor offered his services to the U.S. Army against the Lakota Sioux. In 1878, he established a sizable ranch in Uvalde County and prospered. However, he continued to be involved in violent confrontations and reputedly killed a man in a feud over livestock in the 1880s. This killing happened in Uvalde County and involved a man called Gilchrist. Baylor was charged with first degree murder but acquitted on the grounds of self-defense in May 1881.[4] He died at his ranch there on February 6, 1894, aged 71, and was buried in the Church of the Ascension cemetery.



  • Allardice, Bruce S., Confederate Colonels, University of Missouri Press, 2008.
  • Allardice, Bruce S., More Generals in Gray, Louisiana State University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8071-3148-2.
  • Katheder, Thomas, The Baylors of Newmarket: The Decline and Fall of a Virginia Planter Family. New York and Bloomington, Ind., 2009.
  • Thompson, Jerry Don, Colonel John Robert Baylor: Texas Indian Fighter and Confederate Soldier. Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1971.

Further reading[]

External links[]

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