The Brothers of the Christian Schools had tried to establish Catholic education in Memphis in 1864 but were unsuccessful because epidemics of yellow fever had killed much of its clergy in Galveston and New Orleans. In 1871, the Chicago fire made it possible for a college to be established in Memphis because the fire destroyed the Brother's Academy in Chicago. The Memphis order now had enough men to establish the Christian Brothers College in Memphis because the fire relieved some brothers from duty in Chicago. Brother Maurelian from Pass Christian, Mississippi served as the first president of the college. The college was founded on Adams Avenue on November 19, 1871. The Catholic religion was not a predominant religion in Tennessee in 1871. Methodists and Baptists formed the majority religions in Tennessee. Following the Civil War, there was a rapid development of higher education institutions in Tennessee, most of which originated from Methodist or Baptist tradition.