Historical Marker: Rev. Noah T. Byars    


Noah T. Byars (1808-1888) played an integral role in the establishment of the Baptist denomination in Texas. Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, he arrived in Texas in the early 1830s and set up a blacksmith/gunsmith shop at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where delegates met and adopted the Declaration of Independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. Immediately following the declaration, Byars was appointed armorer of the Texas army. Following victory at San Jacinto, he served as sergeant-at-arms of the Texas Senate and justice of the peace in Travis County. A charter member of the Baptist church established at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1838, Byars was ordained to preach on October 16, 1841. The Baptist State Convention appointed Byars as its first missionary in 1848. Credited with founding more than 60 churches and four Baptist associations, Byars devoted the last 40 years of his life to establishing congregations on the Texas frontier. He helped organize the First Baptist Church of Brownwood in 1876. After moving permanently to Brownwood in 1882, Noah Byars began writing letters to other Baptist ministers urging the creation of a Baptist college in central Texas. That idea was brought to fulfillment under the leadership of Dr. John D. Robnett, pastor of Brownwood's First Baptist Church, with the opening of Howard Payne College in 1889, one year after Byars' death. He is buried in Brownwood's Greenleaf Cemetery. (2001)

Location: Howard Payne University campus, Austin Ave. at Center Ave.