Charles Minnigerode

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Frederick Ernest Minnigerode (born Karl Friedrich Ernst Minnigerode, August 6, 1814 in Arnsberg - October 13, 1894 in Alexandria, Virginia) was a German-born American professor and clergyman who is credited with introducing the Christmas tree to Williamsburg.[1][2]

He was professor of Latin and Greek at the College of William and Mary from 1842 to 1848. A Lutheran, Minnigerode became an Episcopalian. In 1845, he submitted himself as a candidate for the priesthood. The following year at Bruton Parish Church, Bishop John Johns ordained him to the transitional diaconate; and then to the priesthood in 1847.[citation needed]

In the summer of 1846 the President of William and Mary, Thomas R. Dew, died. The board of visitors attempted to reorganize the college, causing a great deal of faculty discontent. As a result most of the faculty, including the newly appointed president, resigned. The board then decided to start from scratch, and in 1848 asked for the rest of the faculty's resignations.[citation needed]

After resigning from William and Mary, Minnigerode accepted the pastorate of Merchants Hope Episcopal Church and Martin's Brandon Episcopal Church in Prince George County where he remained until 1853, when he went to the Freemason Episcopal Church in Norfolk, the largest congregation in the Diocese of Virginia. In 1856, he was appointed rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia where he served until 1889.[2]

During his wartime ministry at St. Paul's (which was called "the Cathedral of the Confederacy") Minnigerode baptized Jefferson Davis and officiated the funeral of J.E.B. Stuart.[2]


  1. ^ Gill, Harold B jr (2005). "Christmas Trees, the Confederacy, and Colonial Williamsburg". Colonial Williamsburg. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Woodworth, Steven E. "Charles Minnigerode (1814–1894)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 19 January 2019.