William S. H. Baylor was born in Augusta County, Virginia. He was the son of Jacob Baylor (1801-1874), a magistrate and farmer in Augusta Co., and his wife, Eveline Evans Hanger (1809-1865). He graduated from Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in 1850, and attended the Law School of the University of Virginia in session 27 (1850-1851) and session 29 (1852-1853), studying law under the Hon. John S. Brockenbrough in the intervening year. He was admitted to the bar in 1853, and in 1857 was elected Commonweath’s attorney for Staunton, Virginia. He served in this office until his death. In 1861, Baylor married Mary Hawes Johnson (1838-1914). The couple had no children.
During the build-up to the Civil War, Baylor was elected captain of the West Augusta Guards, which was later reorganized with other local volunteer companies as the 5th Regiment of Augusta Volunteers. Baylor was elected Colonel of this Regiment, which was later a part of the Stonewall Brigade. Baylor served with distinction in the battles at Winchester and the seven days’ battles at Richmond. On 30 Aug. 1862, during the Second Battle of Manassas, Baylor led the final, successful charge of the Stonewall Brigade, and was shot while waving the battle flag and urging the troops onward. He was buried at Hebron Cemetery in Staunton.
- “William S. H. Baylor,” in Johnson, John Lipscomb, The University Memorial. Richmond, 1871, p. 222-226.
- Tombstones of Baylor family, Hebron Cemetery, Staunton, VA, in Findagrave.com (accessed 8/4/12).