ABOVE LEFT Amelia Townsend McTyeire was a Mobile aboriginal whose husband, Holland McTyeire, a previous minister at St. Francis Street Methodist Church, was a mastermind that the arrangement for the Nashville university. 

ABOVE RIGHT Frank Armstrong Crawford Vanderbilt convinced her aging millionaire husband to add $1 million toward facility of the university and also an endowment. In return, the college was renamed in his honor.

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According to school historians, the “founding mothers” that Vanderbilt college were two aboriginal Mobilians who were both members of ours city’s St. Francis Street Methodist Church.


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Vanderbilt university traces its background to the 1872 charter that a Nashville institution designed to train young men for the Methodist ministry. It to be to be named central University. The only difficulty was the the south was in the throes of Reconstruction, and funding because that such a task was nonexistent.

The guy behind the setup was a Methodist bishop called Holland McTyeire who had once served as the minister that St. Francis Street Methodist Church. When serving the church, the married Mobilian Amelia Townsend.

Not long after arranging the school’s charter, McTyeire had actually health issues and traveled through his wife to brand-new York City because that an operation. He and also Amelia were invited to stay with her favourite cousin, frank Crawford Vanderbilt.

A Girl named Frank

Frank Crawford had likewise been born in Mobile. Her father, Robert, had actually promised his best friend, frank Armstrong, the his next born boy would be called after him. A promise to be a promise, and Robert and also Martha Crawford’s daughter was referred to as Frank. End the years, historians have tried come “correct” the to Frances or Francine, but her surname was Frank.

Frank had likewise been a devout Methodist and also member of Mobile’s St. Francis Street Methodist Church. After the end of the civil War, she and also her widowed mother had traveled to new York. If there, they stopped in to see a distant cousin who happened to be the richest guy in the world, Cornelius Vanderbilt.

In the summer that 1868, Vanderbilt’s wife died. He started squiring the two ladies around new York and also invited them come live in his home. A year later, the civilization learned that Vanderbilt had married in Ontario, Canada. The general public was stunned to discover that that was not Mrs. Crawford who had actually married the 75-year-old millionaire; rather it was her 30-year-old daughter.

A Lasting Monument

The Commodore (as Cornelius Vanderbilt insisted upon gift called) had actually a fixation on George Washington and had named his boy — that would ultimately construct “Biltmore Estate” in north Carolina — ~ the nation’s very first president. He planned to finance a incredible monument in brand-new York’s main Park honoring Washington at a price of $1 million.

Frank and Amelia had actually obviously disputed Bishop McTyeire’s dream the a college in Nashville, and the brand-new Mrs. Vanderbilt encouraged her husband the investing in education would go much further. “Suppose friend take the money and also found a university?” she request him. The Commodore was quickly convinced, and in 1873 gave $500, 000 to fund its establishment and another half a million towards its endowment.

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Central university was change the name Vanderbilt, i m sorry the school’s benefactor found “very satisfactory.” The cornerstone the the main building was set in 1874, and Vanderbilt University opened its doors in October that 1875.