Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Following the Hennington's to Burnt Corn, Alabama

Down Federal Road in Burnt Corn, Alabama
Among the many enjoyable things about researching your family, is to travel to the area they once lived. While it may not look as it did in their time, you can hopefully get a feel for the area. If it has remained  a rural countryside, chances are, not that much may have changed.

A few weeks ago while traveling to Mississippi, we stopped in Burnt Corn, Alabama in Monroe County. That county was once home to Harper Lee (To Kill a Mocking Bird) and Truman Capote (In Cold Blood). They were childhood friends and lived in nearby Monroeville during the 1930's.

Our trek to Burnt Corn, was to investigate this very small rural area in southwest Alabama. During the 1800's  the town was thriving and the land was prime for cotton growers, including some from my own Hennington family.  Rev. William Hennington was also a circuit preacher in Monroe and Wilcox counties. His mother and two brothers  (both Methodist preachers) moved on to Copiah County, Mississippi.

Old casket factory and general store 
Burnt Corn today is listed as a ghost town, although there are some residents nearby and scattered along the rolling hills on the way to Monroeville and Evergreen, Alabama. The main road that runs through the center of the town, was once the Federal Road. Originally the town began as a trading post settlement at an intersection of Indian trails on the 'Old Wolf Path.' This horse path, became the Federal Road, and was used as a migration trail for western migration of settlers.

Burnt Corn Post Office
Deserted buildings along the Federal Road are the old barber shop, general store (doubling as the post office) a casket factory, Brantley's Store (with the Coca Cola sign still clearly visable), and additional out buildings. We were the only ones in Burnt Corn that day - which made it really feel like a ghost town.

For an extra glimpse of Burnt Corn, follow this You Tube video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptx9Pp4ggIA&feature=youtu.be
(photos by Larry Van Horn)