Jesse Randal "Pap" Baxter
December 8, 1887 - January 21, 1960
Born in 1887 in Lebanon, Al., J.R. (Pap) Baxter became one of the most influential people in Gospel music.
As a student of T.B. Mosley and A.J. Showalter, Baxter learned the rudiments of harmony and gospel music. He began teaching while still a student.
He then studied hymn writing with James Rowe, Charles H. Gabriel and others, and used his talents to write literally thousands of "song poems".
In 1918 he married Clarice Howard, who became known as Ma Baxter, a literary teacher also from DeKalb County. They worked together, devoting their time and talent to gospel music.
Shortly after his marriage, Baxter began managing the A.J. Showalter office in Texarkana, Tx.
In 1926, he joined with his friend V.O. Stamps to form the Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co., Inc., running the firms Chattanooga, Tn., office.
The company has become the largest gospel song business in the world. In addition to publishing hymnals, the firms sponsored traveling quartets and radio programs.
With the death of Stamps in 1940, Baxter moved to the firm's main office in Dallas, Tx., and took over the operation of the company and controlled its operation until his death in 1960.
This native of sand mountain enjoys legendary status in Gospel music circles. He was a prolific song composer and was co-founder of the renowned Stamps-Baxter Music Co. For many years, several quartets bore his name, and he published thousands of songs and marketed hundreds of thousands of songbooks and trained scores of singers and directors.