Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Corn (town)

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


Corn, a German-Russian Mennonite community, is located on State Highway 54A thirteen miles northeast of Cordell in Washita County. Originally named Korn, the town officially anglicized its name to Corn on October 21, 1918, due to anti-German sentiment arising from World War I. Favorable reports from a Mennonite missionary to Arapaho living along the Washita River near Shelly attracted the first settlers. In 1892 a vanguard group of eighteen Mennonite homesteaders set into motion a wave of migration that resulted in the establishment of Oklahoma's largest Mennonite settlement. By the end of 1893 the Mennonites numbered at least ninety-one family heads, with many more yet to come. Most of these Low German–speaking immigrants had originally settled in central Kansas. On April 27, 1896, the Korn post office was established in Charles and Mary King's home, two and one-fourth miles north of present Corn. Subsequently the post office was moved three miles north of the original site to James Kendall's Store. When Kendall's planned townsite failed to develop, he relinquished the post office to George B. Flaming, who in 1903 moved it to his merchandise store in present Corn.

Korn emerged as a thriving trade center, once boasting a cotton gin, a wheat elevator, and a flour mill. The Washita Mennonite Brethren Church, organized in 1893, built its first sanctuary at the present Corn site in 1894. As a result of geographic and population expansion, seven additional Mennonite churches were organized within a ten-mile radius of Korn. Three of those early Mennonite churches were still active in 2003. In 1902 the Mennonite Brethren established Korn Bible Academy, which has continuously educated students into the twenty-first century. The Washita County Enterprise, first printed in Colony, moved to Corn in December 1920. In 2000 this newspaper still published a weekly edition. In 1933 a public high school graduated its first class.

In 1948 the Corn Mennonite Brethren Church developed a Home for the Aged, now known as the Corn Heritage Village. At the end of the twentieth century the facility accommodated 104 residents, providing a range of services from assisted living to full nursing care. In 1949 parishioners organized the Corn Calvary Baptist Church. The town was incorporated in August 1954. The first census report in 1960 indicated 317 residents. By 1980 the population had grown to 542 and stood at 591 in 2000. The 2010 census counted 503 inhabitants.

Don Heinrichs

Last updated October 6, 2021


Agatha Funk, "A History of the Corn Community Pioneer Days (unpublished manuscript)," Vertical File, Corn Museum, Corn, Oklahoma.

Don Heinrichs, "Chips off the Old Block," Washita County Enterprise (Corn, Oklahoma), 1997–2004.

Jacob P. Kroeker, "A Personal History of the Corn Community, 1894–1975," Vertical File, Corn Museum, Corn, Oklahoma.

100 Years Corn Mennonite Brethren Church (Corn, Okla.: Mennonite Brethren Church, 1993).

Lloyd Chester Penner, "The Mennonites on the Washita River: Culmination of Four Centuries of Migrations" (Ed.D. diss., Oklahoma State University, 1976).

Vernon R. Wiebe, Come Let Us Stand United (North Newton, Kans.: Mennonite Press, Inc., 1977).

Vernon R. Wiebe, Corn is Born: An Incomplete History of a Dutch-German Settlement in Western Oklahoma (N.p.: Vernon Wiebe, 1993).

Browse By Topic

Urban Development




The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Don Heinrichs, “Corn (town),” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=CO060.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.