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Our Founding in 1859

In honor of the 160th anniversary of The Baylor Line Foundation’s founding in 1859, we wanted to give the BLF family a picture of what both Baylor and Waco was like at the time of our founding!


  • Baylor University, at 14 years old, was still located at its original location in Independence, Texas.
  • Rufus C. Burleson, Baylor’s second president, was in his eighth year in the role.
  • In 1859, Burleson was named president for the second year in a row of Texas’ Baptist State Convention, continuing Baylor’s close relationship with the denomination.
  • At the convention, Baylor was declared a strictly denominational institution.
  • That year the leaders of Baylor made plans to add a theology department to the school. Headed by two pastors, the department would teach classes including Systematic and Pastoral Theology, Homiletics, Biblical Interpretation and Church History.
  • The law school had 16 men graduate in 1859.
  • Baylor University was valued at $65,000, had 14 faculty members, and 275 students.


  • Waco had a significant Native American population, including members of the Guichitas, Iscanis, and Tawakonis tribes.
  • A separate Tawakoni group called the Wacos had a village of 60 houses located in what is now downtown Waco.
  • Two years prior to 1859, Waco Village was officially declared the Town of Waco by the Texas State Legislature.
  • By 1859, Waco had its own courthouse, a newspaper called the Waco Era, a stagecoach traveling between Austin and Waco, several churches, and free public schools. 
  • The Town of Waco had 949 citizens.



The Baylor Line started in 1859 as a way for alumni to stay connected to the Baylor Family. 160 years later, our mission still stands. Would you consider making a $160 gift to ensure that we can continue to keep alumni connected to the Baylor Family? Donate Today.




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