Cathcart's Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881
Reverend John Corner was born in Boston, Aug. 1, 1704. He was the eldest son of John and Mary Corner. While on a voyage to England to visit his relatives his father died leaving his child, then less than two years of age, to the care of his widowed mother and his grandfather, who bore the same name with himself. When he reached the age of fourteen he was placed as an apprentice with a glover to learn that trade. His heart, however, was not in his work. He longed to obtain an edu?cation. Through the intercession of Dr. Increase Mather arrangements were made to release him from his apprenticeship when he was in the seven?teenth year of his age. He commenced at once a course of preparatory study, and entered Harvard College, and subsequently became a student in Yale College. While a member of Harvard Col?lege he became a Christian, and united with the Congregational church of which Rev. Nathaniel Appleton was the pastor. He afterwards became a Baptist, and was baptized by his uncle, Rev. Elisha Callender, Jan. 31, 1725, and united with the First Baptist church in Boston. Soon after he connected himself with the church in Boston he began to preach, first as a supply of the venerable church in Swanzey, Mass., where he remained a short time, and then went, to Newport, R. I., where be was ordained as a colleague with Rev. Wil?liam Peckham, of the First Baptist church, in 1726. lie remained with this church not far from three years, and then resigned in consequence of his attempt to have the practice of laying on of hands uniformly observed by the church in the ad?mission of new members The next two years Mr. Corner acted as a supply of the Second Baptist church in Newport, and then became the pastor of a church in the southern part of old Rehoboth, Mass., near to Swanzey. This church maintained his peculiar views on the subject of the laying on of hands. His connection with this church con?tinued about two years, and was terminated by his death, which occurred May 23, 1734, in his thirtieth year.
Rev. Dr. Henry Jackson says of Mr. Corner,
"He was a gentleman of education, piety, and great success in his profession. During his brief life he collected a large body of facts, intending at some future period to write the history of the American Baptist churches. His manuscripts he never printed, nor did he, as I learn, ever prepare them for publication. He was even unable to re?vise them, and they were, of course, left in their original condition. Nevertheless, he made an able and most valuable contribution to Rhode Island history. His papers were probably written about 1729?31.? From all the accounts which we have of Mr. Comer he gave promise of great usefulness. Mr. Corner was the most remarkable young man in the Baptist history of New England, and his early death was a calamity to the churches in that section of our country, suffering at the time so severely from Puritan persecutions, and needing so much his unusual talents and splendid acquire?ments for the marvelous prosperity, the bright day of which was so soon to break upon our struggling and hopeful communities.
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