Edgar Wilson "Bill" Nye, Fletcher
The memorial is one of a series of large granite mountain boulders, all about the same size but of different shape, that once comprised the
“Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.” Each marker contained a bronze plaque with date of birth and death and a statement about the person’s significance to southern culture or in some cases their relationship to Calvary Episcopal Church.
This marker and another memorial to Bill Nye are installed on the same day in the church yard. They were the first placed in what eventually became the “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.” The other 18 “Abbey” memorials were removed from a different part of the church property in October 2020 upon reflection by the church on their ties to the Confederacy.
Images: Far-off view | View of the memorials at "Westminster Abbey of the South" before they were removed in October 2020 | View of the lawn where granite boulders stood
EDGAR WILSON NYE / -BILL NYE- / 1850-1896 / AMERICAN HUMORIST / I WILL TURN THEIR MOURNING INTO JOY, / AND WILL COMFORT THEM AND MAKE THEM / REJOICE FROM THEIR SORROW. JEREMIAH 31:13. / ERECTED 1925
Calvary Episcopal Church
August 25, 1925
35.442520 , -82.503560 View in Geobrowse
"Westminster Abbey of South," Spartanburg Herald Journal (Spartanburg, SC) September 24, 1939, Link
Calvary Episcopal Church. "Reconsidering 'The Outdoor Abbey of the South'," in Monuments at Clavary, www.calvaryfletcher.org, (accessed February 24, 2023) Link
Ellisont, Jon. "Confederates at Calvary," Mountain Express (Asheville, NC), September 16, 2019, mountainx.com, (accessed February 24, 2023) Link
Hicklin, J.B. “Elaborate Abbey to Immortalize South’s Leaders,” Forest City Courier (Forest City, NC), September 24, 1931, (accessed May 27, 2016) Link
Jenkins, Mark. “Historical Sketch of Calvary Episcopal Church,” (Calvary Parish, Fletcher, 1959) Link
Nye, Bill. Bill Nye’s History of the United States, (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Co, 1894), Archive.org, (accessed June 17, 2016) Link
“Calvary Church, Fletcher, N.C. Between Asheville and Hendersonville,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
“Edgar Wilson ‘Bill’ Nye,” Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com, (accessed June 7, 2016) Link
“Fletcher Markers,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed May 25, 2016) Link
“North Carolina In Tribute To Its Humorist,” The Monroe News-Star (Monroe, LA), August 24, 1925
“The Bill Nye Memorial,” The Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC), March 4, 1925
“The Last Tribute to Bill Nye,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, MO), August 30, 1925
Calvary Episcopal Church
A three day celebration culminated in the Bill Nye memorials being dedicated on the 75th anniversary of his birth with many of his children and grandchildren participating in the ceremony. The day’s events also saw the dedication of a Nye Memorial window in the sanctuary and the pew he occupied on Sundays marked with a plaque.
Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye was a journalist and one of the main American humorists of the last half of the 19 th century. His newspaper articles were widely read and compiled into numerous published volumes. One of his most well know books is Bill Nye’s History of the United States.
Calvary Episcopal Church is located at 2840 Hendersonville Road at its intersection with Old Airport Road in Fletcher. The memorial stands in the church cemetery . Another memorial to Bill Nye is on the front lawn of the church and the Calvary Church marker stands near the sanctuary.
The marker stands in the church cemetery under a large tree near the grave of Bill Nye.
The memorials on the church grounds were moved twice before. Originally they were dispersed throughout the churchyard before being placed in a landscaped plot along the western edge of the church property. It is likely they had to be relocated when the road was widened to four lanes.