NAIL, OLIN WEBSTER (1890–1971). Olin Webster Nail, Methodist minister and church historian, was born on June 12, 1890, in China Spring, Texas, the son of Daniel Marion and Martha Jane (Cox) Nail. He was educated at Baylor Academy and Southwestern Preparatory School and attended Southwestern University in 1913. He received an A.A. degree from Meridian College in 1915 and earned an A.B. degree in 1922 and a B.D. degree in 1924 from Southern Methodist University. Nail was a graduate student at the University of Chicago and Chicago Theological Seminary in 1930 and received the doctor of theology degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1937. He taught at the Southern Methodist University Pastor's School in 1937 and later served on the board of managers of that school.

He was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1907 and was ordained a deacon in 1913 and an elder in 1917. He was a member of the West Texas Conference beginning in 1924 and preached in many small Texas towns between 1925 and 1937. Nail also preached in San Antonio and Austin; he served Austin churches for more than fifteen years. He was president of the West Texas Conference Historical Society for a number of years beginning in 1933 and was on the Methodist committee for the Centennial in 1936. Nail served as secretary of the Southwest Texas Conference for twelve years and was editor of the West Texas Conference annual journal. He edited Texas Methodist Centennial Yearbook (1934) and History of Texas Methodism, 1900–1960 (1961); he prepared The First Hundred Years of the Southwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church, 1858–1958 for the Southwest Texas Conference.

Nail married Mary Alice Crowson on September 30, 1915. They had two children. Nail died in Garland on May 22, 1971, and was buried in China Spring.


Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Austin American, May 26, 1971.

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Handbook of Texas Online, "NAIL, OLIN WEBSTER," accessed May 24, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 22, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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