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Daniel Baker College

Brownwood, Texas



The Portal to Texas History has placed digitized copies of Daniel Baker College yearbooks—both the Hill Billie and the Trail—online.  


Daniel Baker College began as a Presbyterian school in 1888, named for Daniel Baker, founder of the first Presby in Texas.  The Main Building was completed in 1890, when classes began with 111 students.  According to the Dallas Morning News, enrollment was low through the school’s history, with a high of 300-400 students, and a low of only 67 students at the end of World War I.   According to the 1913-14 bulletin, Daniel Baker offered a preparatory department for students from areas without an adequate high school.  The only collegiate degree offered was the Bachelor of Arts.


The 1929 Hill Billie shows a student body of over 200 students.  The largest organization was the new Education Club with over 150 members.  Except for the Pasteur Club, most organizations were composed of female students—the Coggin Girls Society, the Pi Alpha Literary Society and the YWCA.  Daniel Baker College also sponsored a band and a debate club.


In 1929 the Presbyterian Church withdrew support, and the school became independent.  After World War II, Southwestern College of Georgetown, TX acquired Daniel Baker as part of a scheme for creating a university of small colleges.  However, in 1949 this scheme failed.  In 1950 Daniel Baker was purchased by the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.  But the school’s enrollment and financial problems continued, and it was closed in 1953.

Bricks and Mortar

The Main Building, Coggin Hall, housed the administration and classrooms. In the early years of the twentieth century Daniel Baker College added a women’s dorm (1911), a chapel (1921) and a gymnasium (1928) to the main building. Four more buildings had been added by 1950.  When the college closed, the campus was purchased by cross-street rival Howard Payne College, a Baptist school.  Coggin Hall was renovated in 1962-69 and is now the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom.  The chapel was razed in 2000.




Coggin Hall in 1913.  The Trail, ( : accessed March 13, 2015), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Howard Payne University Library, Brownwood, Texas.


      Team name: Hill Billies

      Colors: Blue and White


Daniel Baker fielded teams from at least 1903.  The 1928 Hill Billies were champions of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, going 4-0 in the league and 5-3-2 overall.  They defeated McMurry, Sam Houston, San Marcos and Abilene Christian in the league.  They had a non-league win over Austin, ties with Simmons and Texas Tech, and loses to Texas Christian, Centenary, and St. Edward’s.


The low point in Daniel Baker football history was 1920.  Not only did that team go winless, but also scoreless.  Eight opponents outscored them 479-0. 


In the early years the Hill Billies regularly played schools that today are Division I, and in the process absorbed some terrible defeats.  Texas A&M defeated Daniel Baker 110-0 in 1920; Texas won 92-0 in 1915, SMU won 70-0 in 1920; and Texas Christian won 61-0 in 1929.  At different times the Billies also lined up with Rice, Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, West Texas State, and Texas-El Paso.  


In the 1950 season Daniel Baker played seven road games, traveling 6,000 miles.  The Billies opened the season at New Mexico Military Academy and closed it at Louisiana College.  Their only home game was against a team from Brooke Medical Center.  Despite the schedule,  they were able to compile a 3-5 record.  The school dropped football after that season.  

1913 women's basketball team.  Note the laces on the ball. (The Trail ( : accessed March 13, 2015), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Howard Payne University Library, Brownwood, Texas)

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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