Tree planted in memory of William A. Forbes


Legacies Classification
Memorial Object
Memorial Type
Flora (Trees or Gardens)
Memorial Context
Memorialized Subject
William A Forbes
Tree planted in memory of William A. Forbes
Background and Context
The William A. Forbes Oak was dedicated to its namesake on the campus of Rhodes College in 1925. It stood alongside other oak trees grown from seeds brought from Clarksville, Tennessee to Memphis when the college relocated there.

William A Forbes was Professor at the Masonic University of Tennessee and Steward College (later Southwestern Presbyterian University, later Southwestern at Memphis, later Rhodes College) from 1848 until 1861. He was professor of Pure and Mixed Mathematics and also served as the college president from 1850 to 1853.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Forbes enlisted in the Confederate Army, rising to the rank of Colonel before being killed in the Second Battle of Manassas (aka the Second Battle of Bull Run) in August 1862.

Oaks commemorating Forbes and other college leaders were planted in the shape of an "S" on the southern edge of the Rhodes College campus to designate "Southwestern." These trees were removed in 1991 when Buckman Hall was built, although one oak remains from the original “S.”
Physical Description
The tree was one of a series of oaks on the southern edge of the Rhodes College campus, planted in the shape of an "S" to represent "Southwestern."
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Prof G.F Nicholassen and Walker M. Taylor
Date created, installed or dedicated
27 November 1925
Date Modified
Funded by
Rhodes College (at the time Southwestern at Memphis)
Location: Institution, City, State
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