While our physical offices are closed until at least April 13 due Austin's COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


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.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "NAIL, OLIN WEBSTER," accessed April 04, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fna04.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 22, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...