Friday, October 11, 2013

This Week in Texas Methodist History  October 13

Rev. Sidney Everett Kornegay Writes Last Letter from France, October 17, 1918

One of the saddest memoirs in the Texas Conference Journal is that of the Rev. Sidney Everett Kornegay, killed in action in France less than two weeks before the Armistice.

Sidney Kornegay was born in Malone, Hill County, in 1894.  He gave his life to Christ in 1907, and at a revival in 1911 was convinced he was called to preach.  He began ministerial studies at Polytechnic College in Fort Worth in the fall of 1911 and the next April was licensed to preach by the Fort Worth District Conference.  Polytechnic became a woman’s college so he transferred as one of the first students at SMU and graduated in June 1917.  The previous summer he served a student appointment in Oklahoma and was ordained a local deacon by Bishop McCoy at the Central Texas Annual Conference of 1916. 

Immediately after his graduation Kornegay was appointed to the Frankston/LaRue churches in the Texas Conference.  When the 1917 Texas Annual Conference met in the fall, his parishioners asked for his return to Frankston and LaRue, but Kornegay wanted to join the war effort so he secured an appointment to Camp Bowie, just west of Fort Worth, with the YMCA.   He then learned that he would not be able to accompany the recruits from Camp Bowie to the fighting in France because he did not meet the YMCA age requirement for overseas work. 

He resigned his position and enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps, Co. 95 of the 6th Regiment.  After training at Quantico and Paris Island, Kornegay finally went to France.  The 6th Regiment was involved in some the heaviest combat of late 1918 including Soissons, Blanc Mont, and finally the Meuse-Argonne Offensive which began Nov. 1. 

On October 17, Kornegay wrote his last letter home to his mother.  On November 1, the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, he died from a machine gun bullet. A promising ministerial career was thus ended.   

Before enlisting in the Marines, Kornegay visited with the Rev. J. M Bond, who had preached the revival in Malone at which Kornegay was called to the ministry.  Bond related that the young preacher told him that it was his greatest ambition to lead his comrades to Christ and he meant to do personal work for the Master among the soldiers. 

The letter to his mother and other correspondence has been digitized by the Library of Congress and is available at

(The Texas Conference Necrology lists Kornegay's burial site to be in France.  He was buried twice in France, but his body was later brought home and reburied in the family plot in Hubbard.)


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