BURNT CORN, ALABAMA

BURNT CORN HISTORY

Burnt Corn, Alabama settlement started sometimes after the Revoltionary War. Burnt Corn is located at two old trails known then as "Three Notch Trail" and "Old Wolf Path." On April 7, 1798, the United States had formed the Mississippi Territory which included what is now the states of Alabama and Mississippi. The Creek Indians Nation also covered the same territory. The Creek Indian Nation controlled access in and out of the nation which required passes to travel into the Creek nation land. There were some traders allowed in and some even intermarried in the Creek Tribe and was allowed to stay and build homes. The traders made trading posts at their homestead for the Indians and travelers that was passing on their way westward. They were Burnt Corn, Conecuh and Monroe counties first residents. The area was known as Burnt Corn Springs.

When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, they needed a land route between New Orleans and Washington. In 1805, the U.S. Government got the Creek Nation to give permission for a "horse path" through the Creek Nation. This "horse path" followed two well known Indian trails, the "Chiaha Alibamo Trail" (near present day, Montgomery, Alabama) and the famous "Old Wolf Trail" that led to Pensacola. Burnt Corn is situated on the "Old Wolf Trail." and was known for many natural springs making the area a good stopping place for travers and settlers.

The Old Horse Path developed into the "Federal Road". The Federal Road is attributed to the growth and development of Monroe and Conecuh counties. The Federal Road passed directly through the heart of Burnt Corn, it is main street for Burnt Corn. In 1805, the United States Congress established a post road from Georgia to New Orleans. In 1818, the Post Roads Act was in full effect establising Post Roads from Fort Mitchell, by Fort Bainbrigdge, Fort Jackson, Burnt Corn Springs, Fort Claibinre, and the Town of Jackson to St Stephens. The post riders followed the Chiaha Alibamo and Old Wolf Path trails and passed through Burnt Corn Creek. As the road improved and more white settlers were looking for land and encroached in Creek Territories helped contributed to the Creek Indian Wars. Burnt Corn play an important part in the Creek Wars. It is said that the "Battle of Burnt Corn" was the beginning of the Creek Wars. This battle was considered a victory for the Creek Indians which was also known as "Red Sticks."

It is also believed that other famous people in history passed through Burnt Corn.
Andrew Jackson moved his troops through Burnt Corn in 1814 to aid against the British. Troops was moved through Burnt Corn during the Mexican War enroute to New Orleans to board ships to Mexico.
Confederate Troops followed this road through Burnt Corn on the way to the battlefields of Virginia. It is reported the Francis Scott Key traveled the Federal Road through Burnt Corn in a government wagon while on his mission to Alabama. William Bertram, the naturalist, traveled the road collecting specimens. Lorenza Dow, the Methodist circuit rider, supposedly visited Burn Corn on his way to St Stephan in 1804. Aaron Burr passed through Burnt Corn in 1807, while under arrest for treason. James Stuart records his journey in a journal which states that his coach turned over eight times coming from Georgia.

Long before the defeat of the Creek Nation, Burnt Corn had become the site of earliest settlement in Monroe County. Native American and White settlers were living in hormany and intermarring along the crossroads of the Great Pensacola Trading Path (Old Wolf Path) and the Federal Road which is main street Burnt Corn as it sits even today.

Coker's Tavern, owned and operated by Nathan Coker shows up on early Alabama maps of the vinicity of Burnt Corn. Also, Garrett Longmire shows up as well as having a tavern in north Burnt Corn. The Creek Nation and the U.S. Government agreement of 1805 to establish a "horse path" also give the U. S. Governmnet the right to establish "...houses of entertainment at suitable places for the accommodation of travelers..." These tavern owners acquired patents from the government to lands along the Federal Roads in 1819 for such purposes.

After the Creek Wars in 1814, and the Treaty of Fort Jackson, Native Americans begin losing their land. More settlers moved in the area of Burnt Corn and in 1815, Governor Holmes of the Mississipp Territory created Monroe County (which embraced two thirds of the State of Alabama). In a desperate attempt to save their land the Indians formed raiding parties and attacked lone settlers. As a result, Colonel Richard Warren constucted a fort he called "Fort Warren" (sometimes referred to as Fort Burnt Corn) approxmately 6 miles north of Burnt Corn near Pine Orchard.

After 1816, Burnt Corn saw a rapid growth and development, thousand of arces of land were sold to settlers from South Corolina, Virginia, and Georgia. James Grace, reputably the first "white settler" come to Burnt Corn in 1816. Captain Hayes purchased a thousand arces of land around Burnt Corn. Dr. John Watkins moved into Burnt Corn during the same time period. Dr. Watkins was the only doctor in the area from Montgomery to New Orleans. Other families such as Jeremiah Austill and his wife Martha moved into the area. John Green started the first school in Burnt Corn called the "Students Retreat" in 1820. Postal Service began in 1817. The first public road was build and cut from what now known as Beatrice through Burnt Corn to Belleville. The Bepthany Baptist Church was organized officially in 1821 and constructed their first building. Major Walker opened a store in Burnt Corn in 1822.

Along with these new people into the territory, came African American Slaves . They tilled the land and planted and harvested the crops, took care of children, cooked, sewed, built homes and barns. Today descendents still live in Burnt Corn, bearing the names of Coker, Grace, Rankins, Lett, Watson, and Salter.

North of the stores in Burnt Corn was Mr. Robinson's blacksmith shop with a gristmill across the street.

By the turn of the century, Burnt Corn was in a "boom period". The Kyser-Betts Gin Mill was operating none stop during cotton season. The Mosely Hariston Store was sitting at the site of the present day Lowery Store. Many homes were being built on main street Burnt Corn. James and Cora Betts Kyser built their victorian home next to the Burnt Corn Methodist Church they also built. The Masonic Lodge #849 had been orginized in 1890 and met upstairs in the store known today as the JFB Lowery Store. The Burnt Corn Methodist Church also met there until the construction was finished in 1908. A.O. Brantley also opened a store on main street in Burnt Corn during that era.