February 16: Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, 1898

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Charles Todd Quintard

About this Commemoration

Charles Todd Quintard was the second bishop of the Diocese of Tennessee and the first Vice Chancellor of The University of the South at Sewanee.

Quintard was born in 1824 in Stamford, Connecticut. In 1847 he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of New York University and worked at New York’s Bellevue Hospital. After a brief episode of practicing medicine in Athens, Georgia, Quintard became the professor of anatomy and physiology at Memphis Medical College and an editor of the Memphis Medical Reporter. In 1848, Quintard married Katherine Isabella Hand, a native of Roswell, Georgia, and together they were the parents of three children.

It was while he was in Memphis that Quintard came to know Bishop James Hervey Otey, the first bishop of Tennessee. Under Otey’s personal tutelage, Quintard prepared for holy orders. He was ordained to the diaconate on New Year’s Day 1855 and to the priesthood on the Feast of the Epiphany, 1856. He served as rector of the Church of the Advent, Nashville, until his election as the second bishop of Tennessee in October 1865. He served as bishop until his death in 1898.

During the Civil War, Quintard played dual roles in the Confederate Army as both chaplain and surgeon. Following the war, he was instrumental in bringing together the previously divided factions and extending the reach of the Episcopal Church, particularly among African Americans.

Bishop Quintard was a strong advocate of education at every level and played a major role in the establishment of schools. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the rebuilding of the University of the South at Sewanee after its destruction during the Civil War. He made several successful trips to England to raise the funds to secure the future of the University. From February 1867 to July 1872, Quintard served as the reconstituted University’s first Vice Chancellor. Quintard believed that a great Episcopal university was essential, not just to the church in Tennessee and the southeast, but to the whole church, and thus devoted much of his ministry to Sewanee.


I    Mighty God, whose Name is blest in the example of thy bishop Charles Todd Quintard, who opposed the segregation of African Americans in separate congregations and condemned the exclusion of the poor: We pray that thy Church may be a refuge for all, for the honor of thy Name; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

II    Mighty God, we bless your Name for the example of your bishop Charles Todd Quintard, who opposed the segregation of African Americans in separate congregations and condemned the exclusion of the poor; and we pray that your Church may be a refuge for all, for the honor of your Name; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 34:14–19

Romans 14:10–13

Luke 14:15–24

Psalm 94:2–15

Preface of Baptism

Text from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

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We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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35 thoughts on “February 16: Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, 1898

  1. I am sure that not everyone will feel that Bishop Quintard is an essential celebration, but there is a large constitunacy who will, and the celebration, particularly at Sewanee and in Tennessee will be significant, and we all need to be reminded of hisa work.The Lesson form Sirach and the Epistle are excellent. The significance of the Gospel does not seem apparent, but I am not familiar enough with the details of Quintard’s life to say it is wrong. Someone must know more.

  2. OK, I can see that Bishop Quintard would be important to Sewanee, but there is not one hint in the bio as to why anyone else should care. That may just be the lack of information in the bio. The collect tells us that he opposed segregation but the bio gives no details. Did he prevent segregated congregations from forming in his diocese? How did this position play out in his work in founding Sewanee? Without any information on his achievements besides founding the seminary, I don’t see any point in adding him to the calendar.

  3. Some of the commemorations are winners, like Cyril and Methodius, and some definitely are not. With all due respect, Quintard’s commemoration is a non-starter and should definitely not be included in any future list or liturgical book, because he fought in the slave-holders’ (“Confederate”) army. My family comes from Chattanooga; my mother lived on Missionary Ridge for years, and, after the Union Army routed the slave-holders in the battle of Missionary Ridge, one of my ancestors took his cart down the mountain and sold cabbages to Lincoln’s army, and we have all been proud of him ever since.

    What’s next? A liturgical commemoration of Jefferson Davis?

    • With ancestors who fought on both sides of the War, I am highly offended that there are those who seem to tie slave-ownership to either side. In my own family, my Confederate ancestors held no slaves, but some of those on the Union side did. And, looking beyond just this family, have you noticed that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed those persons in slavery in the states not in the Union at the time? It was not until the 13th Amendment that the slaves in the Union states were freed. The Confederacy was certainly not the “slave-holders army”, and the Union was not innocent on that charge.

      It breaks my heart that the sacrifice of so many people (on both sides) is lost simply because it’s easier to demonize the losers.

      [Editor’s note: comments must be accompanied by first and last name; please ensure that this is the case in future posts.]

      • And it wasn’t as though he served in a combat capacity like Bp. Polk; he was a surgeon and a chaplain. Or are you saying that those fighing in what history has deemed to be on the ‘wrong’ side should have been denied medical & spiritual care? How very Christain of you!

  4. Given the amount of space devoted to Bishop Quintard’s advocacy of education in his bio, why is there no mention of this in his Collect? Why “refuge” ? So that….?

  5. Collect: This collect does not pray very well. Again, is the term ‘African Americans’ the term that we want to utilize? And what is the phrase ‘who opposed the segregation of African Americans in separate congregations and condemned the exclusion of the poor’ all about? Given the University’s reluctance to integrate the Seminary well into the 1950’s – and the University’s all white undergraduate student body until my class matriculated in 1966, this seems at odds with the facts.

    Bio. 1st paragraph: Yes, it is The University of the South, capital T. [That is very important to Sewanee grads, believe me. Thank you for getting it right.] ‘At Sewanee’ is not part of the name of the university. There are no other universities of ‘The South’ in North America. Those who know the university refer to it as ‘Sewanee’ but that is not its title. I suggest it could read: The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.
    2nd paragraph: New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, please.
    5th paragraph: Oops. It is The University of the South, capital T, again. Same comment regarding ‘at Sewanee’ as above.

  6. I tend to agree with the other comments re: more info would be helpful regarding Quintard’s role as a bishop in mission work to African Americans after the Civil War and bringing together “previously divided fractions.” A quotation and link to something he wrote on the subject would be helpful.

    Not sure why we should give as the whole Church Charles Todd Quintard a “day” just from his bio here.

  7. I think there are enough questions about the suitability of this person for commenoration that he should be dropped – unless somebody can write convincingly about his positive and lasting contributions. I too am made somewhat quesy by the inclusion of someone who aided and abetted the slave-holders’ army. If Sewanee didn’t integrate its undergraduate population until 1966, his opposition to segregation doesn’t seem to have been very effective, does it?

    • I think that he is important enough for a local or regional commemoration, but there are plenty of people who did more in all those areas of endevor who don’t have a general commemoration.

  8. Please tell me Quintard’s efforts at “bringin together previously divided factions” and “extending the reach of the Episcopal Church, particularly among African Americans” isn’t polite code for his participation in the drafting of the “Sewanee Canon,” drafted at his college in 1883. As Bishop of Tennessee, he would have been the host and a leading participant in the deliberations. The “Sewanee Canon” is the one Alexander Crummell (September 10) opposed, and it would have precluded the consecrations of Edward Demby and Henry Delany (April 14).

  9. It seems to me that all this worry over what color Bishop Quintard’s uniform was misses the point. The good bishop followed the great commission as well as healed the sick and he did that amongst the people that he very definitely disagreed with. So, for me, the fact that he tended wounded confederates is a pretty monumental Christ-like act. It seems to be the very definition of “loving your enemy”. Also, bravo to him for rebuilding Sewanee! That institution has been one of the central educators not only of Episcopal clergy, but also of generations of undergraduates as well. His inclusion here is merited and should continue.

  10. Craig’s use of “non-starter” put a word to my undefined reaction of letting this one pass without my making any comment, even though I thought the collect failed on every criterion, including content not related to bio. This would be a controversial addition, regardless of collect, readings, or bio!

    The bile because he was chaplain and surgeon in the Confederate Army surprises me. We had northern states with slaves, at various times, including my own state of NY. There was more to the Civil War than slavery, and without ANY claim to being a history buff (let alone expert), it’s “public domain” that emancipation came relatively late in Lincoln’s agenda. EVIL resides in institutions, over time, shared by people who don’t even realize they’re supporting it. This man was far from evil! It sounds to me that he took his religion, his ordination, and his ministry to heart and did the best he knew how. I frankly don’t care if he’s listed or not — although it irks me no end that he gets a day to himself while unquestionably major figures end up sharing their day with rinky dink add-ons — but I don’t think we’re ready to exclude all the OT and NT figures who assumed slavery was as natural as dirt as part of the cultural “givens” of life. We’re not told he fought FOR slavery — “states rights” against centralized federal authority is still an everyday debate. Economic privilege was as much an unspoken ulterior motive in the north as in the south. I’m reacting more to the “bile” level in the comments than to the commemoration.

    Be that as it may, our context of discourse should properly be the Christian vision of faithful living, and our baptismal covenant. Did he exemplify or abandon these?

  11. Anyone interested in knowing Sewanee’s role in the late 19th century needs to read Charles Reagan Wilson’s “Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause.” If memory serves me correctly, the student body was still drilling in confederate gray in the 1890s. Granted it’s a complex issue, and Quintard’s service in the CSA as a surgeon and his later career look mild in comparison to General Leonidas Polk, the “Battling Bishop,” but it may be that Quintard should be left out of our commemorations.

  12. I attended the School of Theology at Sewanee as a student from the Land of Lincoln. Several of my ancestors fought for the Union. One of them took part in the Sewanee campaign and bivouacked up on the mountain before the Battle of Chickamauga. So you might deduct that I don’t have a dog in the southern pride fight, but I do know about Bp. Quintard. The entry doesn’t say anything about what I consider one of the most interesting parts of Bp. Quintard’s life.

    I had the privilege of working in the university archives one summer. I spent hours pouring over the diaries of Bp. Quintard. His diaries included not only personal entries but also newspaper clippings, telegrams and letters he received. His most interesting diary was from 1878. All the other volumes had the year listed on the cover. This one simply said, in large letters “YELLOW FEVER.”

    Yellow fever struck Memphis in late summer and early autumn, with effects not unlike those of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. So many people fled the disease or died that Memphis lost its charter as a city. Reading Bp. Quintard’s diary from the time was fascinating, and a real testimony to someone whom I now consider one of the greatest bishops in the history of our church. Included in the diary was a handwritten letter from Sr. Constance, as in “Constance and her Companions, the Martyrs of Memphis” (commemorated on Sept. 9)

    Reading that diary was devastating and heartbreaking. I do have to admit, I had one single, solitary chuckle during my reading. Bp. Quintard was in New York City for General Convention when the epidemic broke out. One of his entries read “applied to Brooks Brothers for clothing for the orphaned children of Memphis.” How Episcopalian! Amazingly, after all the stress and heartache, he continued to serve very ably as a bishop for another 20 years.

  13. I could perhaps be persuaded to excuse the service to the Confederacy if there were more meat to the claim that he opposed segregation. Did he write? Make speeches? Support the founding of integrated congregations? Re the “Sewanee Canon,” – can someone say something more detailed? Were Demby and Delany Black? This is likely something I either once knew or should know. If he opposed their consecration on racial lines, then out with him.

    • Bishops Demby and Delany are proposed for HWHM on April 14th.
      Their bio begins: “… two of the first African-American bishops in the Episcopal Church ..”
      +Demby was elected Bishop Suffragan for Colored Work (sic) in the Diocese of Arkansas and the Province of the Southwest.
      +Delany was elected Bishop Suffragan for Colored Work *sic) in the Diocese of North Carolina.

  14. A standard of political correctness expected for the Episcopal Church Liturgical Commission?! Heaven forfend! I guess it just depends on whose axe is being gored.

  15. I forgot to point out that there are other persons honored in HWHM and LFF who were in some way involved with slavery or the confederacy or other things that some find barriers to being honored. I can think of at least two, but I’m sure there are more

    Philander Chase, a New Englander, was the first bishop of Ohio and Illinois respectively. He was also the first Protestant clergyman to have a church in Louisiana. After trying unsuccessfully to engage a servant in New Orleans, he was encouraged to purchase a slave. The slave kept trying to run away, and finally succeeded. Later, when he was caught and returned to Chase, Chase didn’t want him back because of the trouble of trying to keep him from escaping, so he had him freed.

    Years later, when he was trying to establish a seminary in Ohio (which eventually became Kenyon College), he went to England to raise funds. He was opposed by John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York and founder of General Seminary. Hobart was also in England, and managed to keep Chase from gaining introduction to any potential donors.

    Chase was finally successful when someone discovered that he freed his slave. Because of that, he was introduced to an abolitionist MP who in turn introduced him to potential donors. Of course, no one knew that the reason he freed his slave was out of frustration

  16. From the info presented in the bio, I would vote against a commemoration for Bp Quintard. If he served in the Confederate Army simply as a mission to the soldiers, without embracing the “cause,” I would support further recognition. If not, praise God for the good works he did accomplish, and pray God forgiveness for sins against our african American brothers and sisters.

  17. I don’t think adherence to the Confederacy should be an automatic disqualification, but I’d like to see some soul-searching in the run up to the war and a life devoted to reconciliation and equality afterwards. I’m still baffled by the omission of bishops William Meade and John Johns, and I think Robert E. Lee and Sally Louisa Tompkins deserve a look, too. Because he was not an Episcopalian (as a Methodist who married a Roman Catholic, he should have been), I won’t nominate John S. Mosby, but he is the model of the well-reconstructed rebel and remains on my short list of Republicans I’d be willing to vote for.
    The southern bishops and academics – notably Quintard and, I suspect, Du Bose — who drafted the Sewanee Canon are another story. They help craft and perpetuate the myth of the “Lost Cause” and its necessary corollary, the inequality of the races. (Both are perfect examples of William Gass’ definition of “causes”: “lies with fan clubs.”) The canon would have created a single “missionary district” for all black parishes, regardless of their physical location, supervised by a single white suffragan bishop. The scheme would have created a black church with the church, separate but equal only in the rather limited sense that all black Episcopalians would have the exactly the same vote in the House of Bishops as any white diocese with only a single bishop. At General Convention, the canon was approved by the bishops but defeated by the lay delegates.

    • That basically is what the Methodists did with their ‘Central Conference’. All mostly or entirely black congregations, wherever they were, were put in the ‘Central Conference’. (Leaving aside the congregations that were AME, AMEZ, or CME.)

  18. Steve, thanks for clarification of the canon. TBTG for the lay delegates. And thanks for the definition of ‘lost cause!’

  19. As someone who celebrated a Eucharist yesterday and attempted to preach on this commemoration, I have to say that the bio + collect, which are usually sufficient along with the scriptures for constructing a reasonably accurate portrait of the person being commemorated, were totally inadequate in this case. As others have pointed out, there was no detail given for the claim that +CTQ welcomed/included African-Americans, and no contextualization of his attitude toward the major social crimes of his time and place. I have to agree that absent further evidence of what the RCC calls “heroic virtue” (for example, the yellow fever story!), I’m not sure that this commemoration deserves to be in the calendar.

  20. Mary Ann–was the fact that Philander Chase had had a slave what kept Hobart from getting donors to his seminary (Kenyon College) at first? I’d heard Hobart was afraid of the competition with other seminaries, but not that Chase had had a slave. I’d love to know the whole story. (Note: Kenyon College’s motto, maganimeter crucem sustine –“valiantly uphold the cross” is one translation– was chosen, I understand, because it was on the coat of arms of a large donor–Lord Kenyon, I think. And it’s the motto of the Daughters of the King, because the first chaplain of the Daughters of the King was related to the family that had that motto on its coat of arms). From Wikipedia about Kenyon: “Kenyon College is a private liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio, founded in 1824 by Bishop Philander Chase of The Episcopal Church, in parallel with the Bexley Hall seminary. It is the oldest private college in Ohio.” Also: “After becoming the first Bishop of Ohio in 1818, Philander Chase found a severe lack of trained clergy on the Ohio frontier. He planned to create a seminary to rectify this problem, but could find little support. Undeterred, he sailed to England and solicited donations from Lord Kenyon, Lord Gambier, and the writer and philanthropist Hannah More, and the College was incorporated in December, 1824.”

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to be confusing. I’m sure Hobart’s issue was competition. Somehow he managed to keep Chase from potential English donors until the slave story began to circulate. Since one of the donors mentioned was Hannah Moore, that would make sense. I read a very long biography of Chase in seminary and that was one of the stories that stood out. I can’t remember the title, but I doubt there are very many out there!

  21. I suggest a subtitle that related to the reasons for his inclusion, such as “Reconciler, and Rebuilder of Sewanee.” We know he was a bishop of Tennessee

    Delete the repetitive first paragraph: the text gives that information. (Here again we have a bio evidently written by the “headline writer”, who summarizes, instead of starting with the subjects time and place of birth.)

  22. I’ve been building out Quintard’s article on Wikipedia over the past couple of days and came across this debate via Google. My two cents: He was consecrated as bishop at or immediately after the General Convention of 1865, which saw the first two Southern bishops returning to the fold, followed soonafter by the rest. Quintard was held up as a symbol of ECUSA reunification and reconciliation. That was sweet, but part of the greater national reconciliation was enabled by the revisionist concept that “slavery had little to do with it” and that this was simply a contest of arms between two honorable, white opponents who are friends again. (Name a state with no slaves that seceded and I’ll drop the “revisionist” label.)
    He worked hard for providing institutional and spiritual support to African American orphans, especially in Memphis.
    Born and reared in the NYC area, Quintard was initially pro-Union, and preached against secession when Lincoln was elected. Not sure how/why he changed his mind, but he became a Confederate chaplain after being “elected” by Nashville-area soldiers who knew him (who wouldn’t want a former medical school anatomy professor wielding the Saw in your regiment?).

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