|Garland Erastus Bayliss|
August 27, 1924|
McGehee, Arkansas, US
May 25, 2015 (aged 90)|
|Resting place||Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Bryan, Texas|
|Mary Evelyn Futrell Bayliss (married 1950-2015, his death)|
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.
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 in Desha County in southeastern Arkansas. In his early childhood, he was known by his middle name, Erastus. His father, a conductor for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, died a few months after Garland turned thirteen.
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 University of Arkansas at Monticello in neighboring Drew County.
On November 3, 1942, Bayliss entered the United States Navy and became an ensign 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 (AP-149) naval transport ship in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
Two of Bayliss' brothers also served in the war, James Eldred Bayliss (1916-1989), 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, who received eight Bronze Stars in combat.
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 in far southeastern Texas, to work for DuPont chemical company. There he met his wife, the former Mary Evelyn Futrell (born October 1927), then a medical technologist at the Orange Hospital. 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 Citadel. 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. His dissertation is entitled Public Affairs in Arkansas, 1874-1896, which includes a study of the Agricultural Wheel agrarian reform movement and such issues as the poll tax.
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.
In the fall of 1975, Bayliss published "The Arkansas State Penitentiary Under Democratic Control, 1874-1896," also in The Arkansas Historical Quarterly.
In 1978, Bayliss received the TAMU Distinguished Achievement Award in the area of student relations. 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.
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.
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, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra of College Station, and 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.
Bayliss died in a hospice in Bryan on Memorial Day 2015, at the age of ninety. In addition to his wife, he is survived by 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. After services at the First United Methodist Church, he was interred at Sleep Hollow Cemetery in Bryan.