As we saw in last week’s article about Elder Rev. Adam Corn, he was a Baptist preacher and a church planter. He helped to organize several churches within the Union and Towns Counties areas. One was the Macedonia Baptist Church southeast of Hiawassee. Into the membership of that church, the Elder Rev. Corn baptized his two older sons, John and Alfred in the year 1841. Both of these men became outstanding leaders in church, associational and missions work, and both became ordained ministers and denominational leaders. The story is told that one of the favorite pastimes of these brothers when they were young was to find a stump to use as a pulpit and to “preach away” to anyone who would take the time to listen, perhaps their younger siblings or neighbor children. But even with this early practice as pulpiteers, it was not until John was twenty-eight and Alfred was twenty-four that they were baptized by their father in the Hiawassee River and accepted into the membership of Macedonia Baptist Church.
We will trace first some of the work of Alfred E. Corn, the second child of Adam and Hannah Corn. He was born January 19, 1817 before the Corn family left Buncombe County, NC to begin their travels to other points where they settled. He married Nancy T. Cook on January 16, 1842. I thought I might find their marriage record in Union County, Georgia marriages, since the Corn family moved from North Carolina to Georgia about 1839. I found that Rev. Alfred Corn performed marriage ceremonies for several in Union, but his marriage record to Nancy was not listed in Union. Rev. Alfred and Nancy Cook Corn had children Arminta Jane (1843-1932) who married Mangum Bryson; John Adam (1845-1864) who died in the Civil War but had married Ivy Ann Loudermilk on May 13, 1862. John Adam and Ivy Ann had a son, John Alfred, born in 1863. After his father’s death, his grandfather reared him. This young man became a prosperous property owner and served as both a state legislator and a Senator from the Towns County area. Rev. Alfred Corn’s first wife Nancy died in 1884 and he married, second, to Amanda Matthewson on May 22, 1885.
Alfred Corn was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Antioch Baptist Church of Union County on October 19, 1850. Little did those who sat in on his presbytery realize what a stalwart leader he would become in denominational work. He served for a number of years as an appointee of the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board (known then as the Baptist Board of Domestic Missions) to the Indians in North Carolina. He had to preach through an interpreter to be understood by the Cherokee. He was pastor of the Old Union Baptist Church at Young Harris for about 20 years. He was recognized as an outstanding leader in the Hiawassee Baptist Association and the Georgia Baptist Convention. He and Alphaeus Swanson led in organizing the West Union Baptist Church in Hiawassee Association.
He kept journals which tell of hardships during the Civil War. In one, he told how glad he was to see his son, John Adam, home for a brief leave from the Civil War. But later he lamented that, because of his son’s death, his family could never be together again as they once were on this earth. In 1864 his journal shows that he could not get to some of his church appointments because of unrest and “invasion of Yankee troops” that pillaged and robbed. Those same “snipers” stole his faithful steed that had taken him thousands of miles on his journeys to preach and do his missionary service.
He was also noted as an itinerant preacher and was invited to preach at summer camp meetings such as that at Fightingtown, a summer gathering held on a former Cherokee Indian Council Ground in Epworth, Fannin County, Georgia. He was one of the early invited guests after the camp meetings were reinstatedfollowing the Civil War.Known for his level-headedness and attention to duty, he left his mark in several North Georgia and North Carolina counties as he labored to build stronger churches. He and his first wife Nancy Cook Corn were buried in the Old Union Baptist Church Cemetery, Young Harris, Georgia. She died December 26, 1884 and Alfred died July 16, 1905.
c2012 by Ethelene Dyer Jones. Published March 22, 2012 online with permission of the author at the GaGenWebProject. All rights reserved.