Office of Religious Life

Home » News » Bishop McTyeire’s Original Headstone Installed in OUCRL

Bishop McTyeire’s Original Headstone Installed in OUCRL

Posted by on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in News.

Rev. Holland N. McTyeire, D.D. Born July 28, 1824, Died Feb. 15, 1889. Forty-four years a preacher; twelve years an editor; sixteen years President of the Board of Trust of Vanderbilt University; twenty-three years a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.


Bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire’s original headstone has been installed on the landing of the main stairwell in the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life. Bishop McTyeire is buried in a small cemetery lot behind Vanderbilt Divinity School, in the heart of campus, along with his wife, Amelia Townsend, Bishops McKendree, Soule, and Summers, and Landon Garland, the first Chancellor of the University. The current marker includes headstones for all six interred there. Bishop McTyeire had McKendree’s and Soule’s remains moved to the center of campus during his life after their original grave sites fell into disrepair and chose to be buried alongside them.

McTyeire’s original headstone was replaced with the current marker sometime after Townsend’s and Garland’s deaths and the original moved to the basement of West End United Methodist Church. It remained there until current pastor Michael Williams reached out to University Chaplain Mark Forrester last fall, asking if the Chaplain’s Office could find a way to share this piece of Vanderbilt and Methodist history.

Bishop McTyeire, with the invaluable help of Chancellor Garland and the financial backing of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was the driving force behind the creation of Vanderbilt University. McTyeire saw a need for a strong institution of higher learning in the South, especially for Methodists who wished to become ministers. McTyeire stayed with his wife’s cousin, Frank Armstrong Crawford, the second wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt, at their home in New York while recovering from an illness. During this time, with the help of Amelia and Frank, Bishop McTyeire persuaded Vanderbilt to provide the initial gift to charter the University. Bishop McTyeire served as the President of the Board of Trust from the University’s inception in 1873 until his death in 1889. He continued to serve as a preacher and Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.