Burnt Corn Facts
How old is Burnt Corn?
- No one really knows, but historian claimed that Whites, Blacks and Indians were living in harmony in Burnt Corn for almost a century before the fall of 1811. That when the Creek Indians begin to be discontented with their white neighbors. Whites were encroaching and homesteading on tribal land. Plus, the Spanish was also agitating the situation because they wanted control of that region that was claimed by the U.S. If true, Burnt Corn was founded sometime in the early 1700’s. We know that Pensacola is the oldest settlement in America and the Spanish Conquistador, Don Tristan DeLuna, founded it around 1559. We also know that the Creek Indians from the Burnt Corn area had been going back and forth to Pensacola trading with the Spanish. The Old Wolf Trail was the route used to go to Pensacola and it originates in Burnt Corn. The Burnt Corn Creek also runs into Florida.
Older than the United States
- That would make Burnt Corn older than the United States as an independent country. It wasn’t until July 4, 1776 that the United States gained it’s independent from England.
Older than the Mississippi Territory
- Burnt Corn was in existence when the Mississippi Territory that was formed on April 7, 1798
Older than the State of Alabama
- Burnt Corn is older than the State of Alabama which it resides which was formed in 1819
Older than Monroe or Conecuh Counties
- Older than Monroe and Conecuh Counties were formed in 1815 and 1818. Burnt Corn sits on the county line of Monroe and Conecuh.
- According to the available historical records Burnt Corn is approximately three to four hundred years old or older.
How did Burnt Corn get its Name?
- There are several legends about how Burnt Corn got its name, but no one really knows for sure. The followings are said to be the theories on how it was possible named
o (1) The Creek Indians burned the white settlers corncribs trying to drive them on off tribal land.
o (2) The White Settlers is said have burned the Creek Indians corn fields to claim the Creek Indians land
o (3) It is reported that a group of Indians traveling on a path were forced to leave an ailing companion there. They provided him with a supply of corn. When he recovered, he had no way to carry the leftover corn so it stayed on the ground and eventually burned in his campfire. Other travelers came along the trail and noted that they camped at a spring where the "corn had been burnt." The name Burnt Corn has remained there ever since.
o (4) A party of Indians on their way to Pensacola, stopped at James Cornell’s' trading house, burned his corncribs, took his new wife, and brought her to Pensacola where she was traded for an Indian blanket, The creek where Cornell’s settled took the name "Burnt Corn" because of the destruction of Cornell’s' barn and his supply of corn.
Number #3 seems to be the most likely answer to how Burnt Corn got its name.
Battle of Burnt Corn
- This famous battle was very important in that it was the battle that set off the Creek Indians War of 1813/1814. White settlers were suspicious of Creek Indians motives when they traveled to Pensacola to trade. Rumors were that the Spanish in Pensacola were supplying the Creek Indians with guns and gunpowder to drive out the white settlers in Burnt Corn area that had encroached on their land. On one particular trip to Pensacola on July 27, 1813, the white settlers along with the United States Calvary commanded by Col. James Caller ambushed and attacked the Indians on Burnt Corn Creek. The Indians scatted leaving all their belongings. While the whites were raiding the Indians base camp for goods or booty the Creek Indians quickly re-grouped and lead a counter attack on the settlers and Calvary and defeated them. This was an embarrassing defeat for the U.S. Calvary. This battle touches off the war of Creek Indians Wars of 1813/1814.
Famous Landmarks in Burnt Corn
- Burnt Corn is known for some famous landmarks
o Old Wolf Path
§ The "Old Wolf Path" is an old Indian trail and a horse path that passed through Burnt Corn and led to Pensacola, Florida. The "Old Wolf Path" was often used by the Creek Indians to travel to Pensacola to trade with the Spanish who controlled Florida during that period. The Creek Indians were surprised and attacked on the path by the U.S. military at Burnt Corn Spring on July 27, 1813. That unsuccessful attack became known as the "Battle of Burnt Corn" which led to the Creek Indians War of 1813 and 1814.
o Three Notch Trail
§ "Three Chopped Way" was established between Natchez, Mississippi and Burnt Corn, Alabama in 1807. This was the main road across the old Southwest immigrants, travelers, and settlers used moving to the western United States. It was the "only" road settlers had to use to go into the Southwest. It was the first east-west connection that tied together the two primary north-south roads, the Natchez Trace and the Federal Highway. When they built the extension in 1807 from Burnt Corn to St. Stephens, Indians and surveyors used a system of blazes chopped into tree trucks to direct traffic, thus the name "Three Chopped Way." The Three Chopped Way" was important because it opened migration through the first land sales in the public domain areas of the Mississippi Territory. Burn Corn is located at the junction of the Old Wolf Path and "Three Chopped Way.
o Old Stage Road
§ The “Old Stage Road” was once an Indian horse path which the Creek Indian Nation gave the United States Government permission to use to allow passage through for settlers on their way westward. The path later used for wagon trains and stagecoaches. Burnt Corn was a stop over for Stage Coaches. The Isaac Betts house located on the Old Federal Road was one of the Stage’s stopping point.
o The Federal Road
§ Back in 1806 when the Nation was still young and rapidly growing westward, a horse path for postal riders was opened through the Creek Nation stretching from middle Georgia to coastal Alabama. From its start as a narrow horse path used to carry the mails, the Old Federal Road underwent great development and became a major military road connecting early American forts in the Creek Lands and the Mississippi Territory. Acting as the interstate highway of its day, when “Alabama Fever” raged through the Carolinas and Georgia, the Old Federal Road carried thousands of pioneers to the development of the Old Southwest. As such, the Federal Road directly contributed to the dramatic increase in Alabama’s population between 1810 and 1820 – with Alabama’s population growing far faster than that of either Mississippi or Louisiana during this time.
o Dr. Watkins House
§ The Burnt Corn plantation was the residence of Dr. John Watkins and is thought to be built in 1812. The plaque by the front door reads: The Watkins House...Built in 1812 by Dr. John Watkins, the only physician in this part of the Mississippi territory at that period. Gen. Jackson passed here in 1814 to fight at the Battle of New Orleans and is reported that he stayed at the Watkins house.
o Isaac Betts House
§ The Isaac Betts house was a stagecoach stop during early 1800s. This house remained intact until a fire destroyed it in 2001.
o Burnt Corn General Store
§ This is the Burnt Corn General Store that is the icon for the Burnt Corn community. This store is now owned by the JFB Lowery Estate and was operated by Sam Lowery until his death in 1996. This store served as the U.S. Post Office until the Postal Service closed the post office in 1997. Post Service started in Burnt Corn in 1817. The upper part of this building also served as the Burnt Corn Masonic Lodge, which was charted on December 3, 1890 and remained active until 1934 when the charter was forfeited. That space also served as the meeting place for the Burnt Corn Methodist Church in 1908 until the church building was constructed in 1913. Sam Lowery's father Jake Lowery acquired this store many years ago when he purchased a lot property in Burnt Corn. The J.F.B. Lowery estate is said to own between 13,000 to 20,000 acres of land in Burnt Corn. Most property was acquired during and after the depression.
o Burnt Post Office
§ Postal service started in Burnt Corn in 1817 and ended in 1997. Congress officially approved the postal route in Burnt Corn in 1818. The Burnt Corn post office was located in the Lowery Store in 1936. The Burnt Corn post office was one of oldest post offices in the United States.
o Burnt Corn Creek
§ Burnt Corn Creek is the place believes to be the origin of what now known as Burnt Corn. The Creek or spring ran from Burnt Corn to Florida.
o Bethany Baptist Church
§ The White One
· The Burnt Corn Baptist Church is the original Historic Bethany Baptist Church (referred to as Burnt Corn Baptist here to distinguish between the current African American Bethany Baptist Church). The Historic Bethany Baptist Church was organized in 1821. Minutes from 1821 to 1827 still exist. Burnt Corn Baptist (The Historic Bethany Baptist Church) is at its third location where it sits today. The first location was built circa 1821.
§ The Black One – “Bethanne”
· The Black Bethany Baptist Church was organized in 1840 and they purchased the original Bethany Baptist Church from the white congregation circa 1862. Prior to 1840, Blacks and Whites worshipped together in the same church. The Original Church built circa 1840 and remained standing and usable until the existing church replaced it in 1975. Rev. J. O. Malone is the current pastor.
Kyser-Betts Cotton Gin
§ This cotton gin was constructed in the 1890's. A two-story diesel engine was the power source for the gin. The huge engine was started by a blowtorch to heat the head. The gin had to be braked by hand. The gin engine was transported on a specially built platform pulled by a team of oxen. The old cotton gin was the fuel of the booming Burnt Corn economic.