Garland Bayliss

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Garland Erastus Bayliss​

(Southern historian and professor at Texas A&M University)​

Garland Bayliss of TX.jpg

Born August 27, 1924​
McGehee, Desha County,]]]]
Arkansas, USA​
Died May 25, 2015 (aged 90)
Bryan, Brazos County,

Resting place:
Steep Hollow Cemetery in Bryan​

Spouse Mary Evelyn Futrell Bayliss (married 1950-2015, his death)​

Three sons:
David Elliot Bayliss
​ Mark Edward Bayliss
​ James Fred Bayliss​
Fred Edwin and Florence Eugenia Dixon Bayliss​
Alma mater:
McGehee High School (Arkansas) University of Arkansas at Monticello
University of Texas at Austin

Religion United Methodist

Garland Erastus Bayliss (August 27, 1924 – May 25, 2015) was an historian and director emeritus of academic services at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, whose affiliation with the institution extended from 1957 to 1992.[1]


Bayliss was the youngest of five sons born to Fred Edwin Bayliss, Sr. (1872-1937), and the former Florence Eugenia Dixon (1882-1967) in the small city of McGehee (pronounced MAC GEE) in Desha County in southeastern Arkansas. In his early childhood, he was known by his middle name, Erastus.[1] His father, a conductor for the former Missouri Pacific Railroad (1872-1982), died a few months after Garland turned thirteen.[2]

Bayliss attended public schools in McGehee. In his early childhood years, he was known by his middle name, but he soon dropped the use of "Erastus." He graduated in 1942 from McGehee High School and briefly attended the regional University of Arkansas at Monticello in neighboring Drew County.[1]

Military service

On November 3, 1942, Bayliss entered the United States Navy and became an ensign[3] through the completion of the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School, which opened in 1940 at Columbia University in New York City. After initial service at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the borough of Brooklyn, he was assigned during World War II for two years until 1945 on the USS General J. H. McRae naval transport ship in the Pacific theater of operations.[1][3]

Two of Bayliss' brothers also served in the war, James Eldred Bayliss (1916–1989),[4] an Army staff sergeant in Iran, and Mercer Embree "Flea" Bayliss (1919-2004) of Warren, Arkansas, an Army sergeant in the European theater of operations,[3] who received eight Bronze Stars in combat.[5] He was subsequently like his father a railroad conductor.[2] Mercer Bayliss' widow, the former Elizabeth Ann "Sis" Banister (1922-2015), a telephone operator, died in 2015 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, less than three months before the passing of her brother-in-law, Garland Bayliss.[6] Two other Bayliss brothers, Fred, Jr. (1909-1975) and Dixon E. Bayliss (1913-1981), are interred alongside their parents at McGehee Cemetery.[2]

After he left the Navy, Bayliss was until 1972 a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy Reserve.[1][7]

Career in education

​ Back in civilian life, Bayliss completed his undergraduate degree in biology in 1947 at UA-Monticello. He taught school briefly in Dermott in Chicot County, also in southeastern Arkansas. He and his brother, James, relocated to Orange, Texas, in the far southeastern part of the state, to work for DuPont chemical company. There he met his wife, the former Mary Evelyn Futrell (1927-2021), a native of Timpson, Texas, who was then a medical technologist at Orange Hospital.[8]

The couple married on May 5, 1950, and Bayliss enrolled at the University of Texas in the capital city of Austin, where he obtained his Master of Arts degree in history. He and Mary relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, where he taught at The Citadale: The Military College of South Carolina. He joined the TAMU faculty in 1957, where he remained for thirty-five years as professor of constitutional and Reconstruction studies. While at TAMU, he received the Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Texas.[9] His dissertation is entitled Public Affairs in Arkansas, 1874-1896, which includes a study of the Agricultural Wheel, an agrarian reform movement and such issues as the poll tax.[10]

In the fall of 1964, Bayliss published "Post-Reconstruction Repudiation: Evil Blot or Financial Necessity?" in The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, a study of the public debt that was accumulated during the era of Reconstruction and its subsequent repudiation by the Democrat Redeemer state government.[11]

In the fall of 1975, Bayliss published "The Arkansas State Penitentiary Under Democratic Control, 1874–1896," also in The Arkansas Historical Quarterly.[12]

In 1978, Bayliss received the TAMU Distinguished Achievement Award in the area of student relations.[13] Though he retired from TAMU in 1986 as professor emeritus, he continued to teach part-time until 1992. He was the director of the General Studies Program and Academic Services from 1978 to 1986. He was the founder of the Texas A&M Mentors program.[1]

He served on numerous graduate student committees during his long tenure at TAMU. Historian Dan Flores acknowledges Bayliss's service in the forward to his 2001 book, The Natural West: Environmental History in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.[14]

Personal life

Bayliss was a booster of all types of TAMU sports and was from 1987 to 1988 the president of the Bryan chapter of Rotary International. He was a Sunday school teacher at the First United Methodist Church of Bryan, at which he was the chairman of the building committee for the Christian Life Center. Bayliss was involved too in the Brazos Valley Arts Council and the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra in College Station.[1] He was a director of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History in Bryan, for which his talent as a low-key fundraiser proved particularly helpful over the years.[1]

Bayliss died in a hospice in Bryan on Memorial Day 2015, at the age of ninety. In addition to his wife, his survivors included three sons, David Elliot Bayliss of Panama, Mark Edward Bayliss (born September 5, 1957) and his wife, Diana Lee Bayliss (born July 1, 1959) of College Station, and James Fred Bayliss, an attorney, and his wife, Julie Michele Bayliss (both born c. 1965) of College Station.[1] After services at the First United Methodist Church, he was interred at Steep Hollow Cemetery in Bryan.[15] Mrs. Bayliss died six years later and ten calendar days (May 15) before her husband (May 25). Her obituary does not indicate specifically whether she is interred at Steep Hollow.[8]

See also

​​ Bayliss discusses his World War II record with Tom Turbiville in the series "Brazos Valley Vets," June 201, accessed May 31, 2020:​


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Garland Erastus Bayliss. ''Bryan-College Station Eagle'' (May 28, 2015). Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mercer Embree "Flea" Bayliss. Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Desha County Military Men – 1945 – McGehee,", April 23, 2012; material no longer on-line.
  4. James Eldred Bayliss. Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  5. McGehee Veterans Memorial, accessed June 26, 2010, no longer on line.
  6. Elizabeth Ann "Sis" Banister Bayliss. Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  7. List of deceased Navy officers. Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mary Evelyn Bayliss. Bryan-College Station Eagle (May 23, 2021). Retrieved on May 31, 2021.
  9. University of Texas Department of History: List of Doctoral Students: 1972. Retrieved on June 26, 2015; material no longer on-line.
  10. Agricultural Wheel. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  11. John Michael Giggie (2008). After Redemption: Jim Crow and the Transformation of African American Religion in the Delta, 1875-1915,. New York City: Oxford University Press, 243–259. Retrieved on May 31, 2020. 
  12. Penal Systems: The Arkansas State Penitentiary Under Democratic Control, 1874–1896 195–213. The Arkansas Historical Quarterly (Autumn 1975). Retrieved on May 31, 2020.
  13. All Winners of The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards. (October 2012). Retrieved on June 26, 2015; material no longer on-line.
  14. Dan Flores (2001). The Natural West: Environmental History in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. Retrieved on May 31, 2020. 
  15. Garland Erastus Bayliss. Retrieved on May 31, 2020.