unc logo

Collection Number: 01461

Collection Title: John Hamilton Cornish Papers, 1833-1966

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 4.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2000 items)
Abstract John Hamilton Cornish (1815-1878) was an Episcopal minister of Aiken, S.C. Cornish left his home in Michigan Territory in 1833 to attend Washington College, Hartford, Conn., from which he graduated in 1839. He then studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York City but did not complete his education. He became a tutor on an Edisto Island, S.C., plantation and later ran an academy there. He was ordained in 1843 and thereafter served in many Sea Island and Low Country churches before becoming rector of Saint Thaddeus in Aiken in 1846. He married Martha Jenkins of Edisto Island and had several children, including Rhoda Cornish, Mattie Cornish, Mary Cornish, Sadie Cornish, Ernest Cornish, and Joseph Cornish, who also attended the General Theological Seminary. The collection consists of John Hamilton Cornish's diary, 1833-1877, and family papers. The diary describes his education, his experiences teaching and preaching in the South Carolina Low Country, plantation life, and the treatment of slaves. The extensive family and church correspondence augments the diary and includes letters from John's brother, Andrew Cornish, who was a minister at Pendleton, S.C., and letters from the various Cornish children at schools and colleges in the North and South. The courtship of Joseph Cornish and Mary Tuttle, which ended abruptly and without an engagement, is documented in a three-year exchange of letters. Also included are scattered sermons and writings; record books of church observances and memoranda; a register of African American members of an Episcopal church on the North Santee River, 1843; Cornish's manuscript history of ritual music at the Episcopal Church on Sullivan's Island, 1846; and a history of Saint Thaddeus Church, Aiken, S.C., 1842-1966.
Creator Cornish, John Hamilton, 1815-1878.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the John Hamilton Cornish Papers #1461, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 2007) available.
  • Reel 1: Folders 1-17
  • Reel 2: Folders 18-33
  • Reel 3: Folders 34-48
  • Reel 4: Folders 49-63
  • Reel 5: Folders 64-76
  • Reel 6: Folders 77-84
  • Reel 7: Folders 84-93
  • Reel 8: Folders 94-114; Photographs (P-1461/1-3)
  • Reel 9: Transcripts: Volumes 1-3
  • Reel 10: Transcripts: Volumes 4-7
  • Reel 11: Transcripts: Volumes 8-10
Alternate Form of Material
Typed transcriptions are available for selected volumes.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Joseph Jenkins Cornish of New Orleans, La., in 1948. Additions received from Mrs. George Cullen Battle in May 1956; from Elizabeth Budlong Johnston of Charlotte, N.C., in July 1965; and from Mrs. Edward T. Bartram of Aiken, S.C., in January 1967. A single item was purchased from Americana Mail Auction of Allentown, Pa., in June 1978.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Hamilton Cornish (1815-1878) was an Episcopal minister of Aiken, S.C. Cornish left his home in Michigan Territory in 1833 to attend Washington College, Hartford, Conn., from which he graduated in 1839. He then studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York City but did not complete his education. He became a tutor on an Edisto Island, S.C., plantation and later ran an academy there. He was ordained in 1843 and thereafter served in many Sea Island and Low Country churches before becoming rector of Saint Thaddeus Church in Aiken in 1846. He married Martha Jenkins of Edisto Island and had several children, including Rhoda, Mattie, Mary, Sadie, Ernest, and Joseph, who also attended the General Theological Seminary.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of John Hamilton Cornish's diary, 1833-1877, and Cornish family papers, 1833-1966. The diary describes Cornish's education, experiences teaching and preaching in the South Carolina Low Country, plantation life, and the treatment of slaves. The extensive family and church correspondence augments the diary. Letters from the 1830s and early 1840s are from John at Washington College in Hartford, Conn., and later at General Theological Seminary in New York; from his brother, Andrew Cornish, who also studied at General Theological Seminary; and from another brother, Jonas Cornish. Letters from the mid 1840s and 1850s document the Cornish brothers at work as Episcopal preachers in South Carolina, John at Saint Thaddeus Church in Aiken, S.C., and Andrew at Pendleton, S.C.

The volume of letters drops off in the 1860s, and these chiefly came from the various Cornish children at schools and colleges in the North and South, although some church business is included. Letters from the early 1870s, mostly from daughters Rhoda Cornish, Mattie Cornish, and Mary Cornish, indicate that John Cornish traveled extensively up and down the east coast at this time. There are also a number of 1870s letters pertaining to church business, especially from merchants selling church equipment. Beginning in 1871, there are letters from Joseph Cornish, first at prep school in Charleston, S.C., then at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and finally at the General Theological Seminary in New York. In addition, there are letters from his sister, Sadie Cornish, who attended Saint Mary's School in Raleigh, N.C., and from his brother, Ernest Cornish, who also studied at University of the South. From 1883 to 1886 Joseph Cornish corresponded faithfully with Mary Tuttle, the daughter of Bishop Tuttle, though the two were never engaged. The courtship exchange ended abruptly in 1886 with no explanation. Letters through the 1890s are chiefly among family members, Joseph, Ernest, Mattie, and Rhoda.

From 1900 on the family of correspondents expands and becomes quite complex. There are letters, often unsigned, to "Dear Cousin," and "Dear Daughter," who evidently are members of the family of Mrs. Joseph J. Cornish.

Also included are scattered sermons and writings, some from John Cornish's time at Washington College; record books of church observances and memoranda; a register of African American members of the Church of the Messiah, an Episcopal church on the North Santee River, 1843; John Cornish's manuscript history of ritual music at the Episcopal Church on Sullivan's Island, S.C., 1846; and a history of Saint Thaddeus Church, Aiken, S.C., 1842-1966.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1833-1966.

About 2000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

The original deposit of papers and manuscript volumes are found in folders 1 and 72 through 113. The addition of 1956 is filed in folder 71b. The addition of 1965 comprises folders 2 through 71a. The addition of 1967 is filed in folder 114. The addition of 1978 is filed in folder 7.

Folder 1

1833-1878, 1900 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 1

Folder 2

1833-1836 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 2

Folder 3

1837 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 3

Folder 4

1838 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 4

Folder 5

1839 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 5

Folder 6

1840 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 6

Folder 7

1841-1842 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 7

Folder 8

1843 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 8

Folder 9

1844 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 9

Folder 10

1845 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 10

Folder 11

1846 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 11

Folder 12

1847 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 12

Folder 13

1848-1849 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 13

Folder 14

1850 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 14

Folder 15

1851-1852 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 15

Folder 16

1853 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 16

Folder 17

1854 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 17

Folder 18

1855 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 18

Folder 19

1856 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 19

Folder 20

1857 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 20

Folder 21

1858 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 21

Folder 22

1859: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 22

Folder 23

1859: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 23

Folder 24

1860 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 24

Folder 25

1861-1864 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 25

Folder 26

1865-1866 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 26

Folder 27

1867: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 27

Folder 28

1867: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 28

Folder 29

1868: January-April #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 29

Folder 30

1868: May-September #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 30

Folder 31

1868: October-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 31

Folder 32

1869 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 32

Folder 33

1870 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 33

Folder 34

1870: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 34

Folder 35

1871: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 35

Folder 36

1871: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 36

Folder 37

1872: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 37

Folder 38

1872: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 38

Folder 39

1873: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 39

Folder 40

1873: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 40

Folder 41

1874: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 41

Folder 42

1874: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 42

Folder 43

1875: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 43

Folder 44

1875: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 44

Folder 45

1876: January-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 45

Folder 46

1876: July-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 46

Folder 47

1877 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 47

Folder 48

1878 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 48

Folder 49

1879 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 49

Folder 50

1880 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 50

Folder 51

1881 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 51

Folder 52

1882-1883 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 52

Folder 53

1884: January-March #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 53

Folder 54

1884: April-May #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 54

Folder 55

1884: June-July #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 55

Folder 56

1884: August-September #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 56

Folder 57

1884: October-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 57

Folder 58

1885: January-March #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 58

Folder 59

1885: April-June #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 59

Folder 60

1885: July-August #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 60

Folder 61

1885: September #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 61

Folder 62

1885: October-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 62

Folder 63

1886: January-February #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 63

Folder 64

1886: March-April #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 64

Folder 65

1886: May-December #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 65

Folder 66

1887-1889 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 66

Folder 67

1890-1892 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 67

Folder 68

1895-1898 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 68

Folder 69

1900-1926 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 69

Folder 70a

Undated and miscellaneous #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 70a

Folder 70b

Fragments #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 70b

Folder 71a

Postcards, 1876-1909 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 71a

Folder 71b

Clipping, 1956 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 71b

Folder 72

Volume 1: 9 September 1833-31 December 1835 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 72

Folder 73

Volume 2: 1 January 1836-August 1837 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 73

Folder 74

Volume 3: August 1837-November 1838 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 74

Folder 75

Volume 4: August-September 1838 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 75

Folder 76a-e

Volume 5: November 1838-October 1845 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 76a-e

Folder 77

Volume 6: 29 September 1845-9 February 1848 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 77

Folder 78

Volume 7: 9 February 1848-21 June 1850 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 78

Folder 79

Volume 8: 6 October 1852-30 August 1853 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 79

Folder 80

Volume 9: 1 September 1853-31 December 1854 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 80

Folder 81

Volume 10: 1 January 1855-6 March 1856 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 81

Folder 82

Volume 11: 6 March 1856-31 December 1856 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 82

Folder 83

Volume 12: 1 January 1857-31 January 1857 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 83

Folder 84

Volume 13: 1 January 1858-31 January 1858 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 84

Folder 85

Volume 14: 1 January 1859-2 January 1860 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 85

Folder 86

Volume 15: 1860 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 86

Folder 87

Volume 16: 1 January 1861-11 January 1862 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 87

Folder 88

Volume 17: 12 January 1862-February 1864 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 88

Folder 89

Volume 18: 19 February 1864-4 March 1865 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 89

Folder 90

Volume 19: 6 March 1865-24 August 1866 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 90

Folder 91

Volume 20: 25 August 1866-30 March 1868 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 91

Folder 92

Volume 21: 30 March 1868-19 January 1869 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 92

Folder 93

Volume 22: January 1869-May 1870 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 93

Folder 94a-b

Volume 23: 20 May 1870-22 December 1870 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 94a-b

Folder 95

Volume 24: 23 December 1870-10 February 1871 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 95

Folder 96

Volume 25: 10 February 1871-23 April 1871 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 96

Folder 97

Volume 26: 24 April 1871-4 July 1871 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 97

Folder 98

Volume 27: 5 July 1871-31 August 1871 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 98

Folder 99

Volume 28: 1 September 1871-31 December 1871 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 99

Folder 100

Volume 29: 1 January 1872-31 May 1872 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 100

Folder 101

Volume 30: 1 June 1872-5 September 1872 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 101

Folder 102

Volume 31: 6 September 1872-31 December 1872 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 102

Folder 103a-b

Volume 32: 1 May 1874-28 December 1875 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 103a-b

Folder 104

Volume 33: 1 January 1876-30 April 1876 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 104

Folder 105

Volume 34: 1 May 1876-31 December 1876 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 105

Folder 106

Volume 35: 1 January 1877-30 April 1877 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 106

Folder 107

Volume 36: "Register of Coloured People Connected with the Church of the Messiah, North Santee, Revd. John H. Cornish, January 1st A.D. 1843" #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 107

Folder 108

Volume 37: Rector's diary, 1859 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 108

Folder 109

Volume 38: Rector's diary, 1860 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 109

Folder 110

Volume 39: 17 August 1873-26 November 1874 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 110

Folder 111

Volume 40: Rector's diary, 1 January 1875-May 1876 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 111

Folder 112

Volume 41: Rector's diary, 1 May 1876-May 1877 #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 112

Folder 113

Volume 42: "A Brief History of the Ritual Music of the English Church, by John H. Cornish, A.M., Rector of Grace Church, Sullivans Island, S.C. Extracts from the Christian Remembrancer No. LIII, Vol. XII, London, July A.D. 1846" #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 113

Folder 114

Volume 43: "The History of the Church of Saint Thaddeus: Biography of a Church; Prelude to the Future, September 1842-July 1966" (1966), by R. Conover Bartram, Aiken, S.C. #01461, Series: "Papers, 1833-1966." Folder 114

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff, 1962-1979

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, August 2005

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

Back to Top