Edgar Wilson "Bill" Nye, Fletcher
The memorial is one of a series that comprise the “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.”
The plaque for this memorial is attached to a shaft made of irregular sized, roughhewn blocks of granite standing eight feet tall. Other markers in the series have plaques attached to a single large granite boulder; all about
the same size but of different shape.
Each plaque contains 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.”
Images: Far-off view | View of memorials at "Westminster Abbey of the South"
IN LOVING MEMORY / OF /EDGAR WILSON NYE / “BILL NYE” / AMERICAN HUMORIST AND FRIEND / BORN IN SHIRLEY, MAINE AUGUST 25, 1850 / DIED AT “BUCK SHOALS” NEAR THIS SPOT FEBRUARY 22, 1896 / ADMITTED TO THE BAR 1876 / HE BELONGED TO THE MASONIC FRATERNITY / A MEMBER OF CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, FLETCHER N.C. FOR MANY YEARS / HIS BODY IS INTERRED IN YONDER CHURCH YARD / ERECTED 1925
Calvary Episcopal Church
August 24, 1925
35.442600 , -82.503600 View in Geobrowse
"Westminster Abbey of South," Spartanburg Herald Journal (Spartanburg, SC) September 24, 1939, 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
“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
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. Eighteen “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South” markers stand in two rows in a lawn area to the right of the church facing Old Airport Road. The Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway is located near the street facing Hendersonville Road, a second memorial to Bill Nye is in the church cemetery, near the grave of Bill Nye. The Calvary Church marker stands near the sanctuary.
The marker is prominently located in the center of the front lawn.
This memorial and the seventeen others now standing along Old Airport Road were originally located in a landscaped plot along Hendersonville Road (Highway 25) directly in front of the cemetery. It is likely they had to be relocated when the road was widened to four lanes.