Cowetans take part in Alabama marker ceremony

From STAFF REPORTS Representatives of heritage organizations from Coweta County traveled to rural Alabama recently for a service dedicating the tombstone of a Confederate captain and honoring his great-grandson. A Marker Dedication Service was held at Pond Bethel Baptist Church in the Lodi community near Bakerhill in Barbour County. The service formally dedicated the grave marker for Capt. Dennis Harrison Zorn and his wife, Nancy. Their graves were not marked until a few months ago, although they died within five months of each other in 1899.
Dennis Zorn was the captain of Company D, 15th Regiment and Company D, 63rd Regiment, Alabama Infantry, during the Civil War. He later returned to Barbour County and then built a town, Zornville, in Henry County. He owned the only licensed liquor distillery in Alabama and built the town -- which no longer exists -- around that industry. Members of the Frankie Lyle Chapter 2074, United Daughters of the Confederacy attended the Oct. 18 service and presented Major Walter W. Skinner of Moreland, Dennis and Nancy Zorn's great-grandson, with the UDC's National Defense Medal. Mrs. Linda Ramey, president, and Mrs. Dianne Webb, secretary, both Coweta residents, presented the medal, which is awarded to wartime U. S. military veterans who are lineal descendants of a Confederate soldier. Skinner, a retired licensed psychologist, served on active duty at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas during the Persian Gulf War. Members of the UDC chapter presented a memorial wreath at the cemetery during the marker dedication. Members of two Sons of Confederate Veterans camps -- Coweta Guards Camp 715 of Newnan and James Longstreet Camp 1289 of Palmetto -- gave a military salute at Zorn's grave. Dr. Walt Zorn, the son of D. H. Zorn's last surviving grandson, presented the message during the service. Walt Zorn is on the seminary faculty at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary in Illinois. Walt Zorn recalled bringing his father, W. H. "Bud" Zorn, to Pond Bethel on their last trip together in June 2007. "It is fitting that we who remain as part of the Zom family and many friends meet and dedicate the stone markers for the memory of Capt. Zom and Nancy," he said. He recounted the basic facts of Dennis Zorn's life and his military service which included service with Gen. Stonewall Jackson. In 1862, Dennis Zorn"was hit in the lower left arm by a minie ball and soon lost his left arm to the bone saw of a Confederate surgeon in a field hospital in Richmond," Walt Zorn related. "This was known as the battle of Gaines Mill or Cold Harbor 1862." "The fighting spirit" of D. H. Zorn was not extinguished and he formed a new company, known as Captain Zom's Regiment of Alabama Reserves," his descendant said. At Zornville, D. H. Zorn had a wide range of businesses. "He built a large Southern home on the Franklin to Columbia Road. He invested in bee hives, cheese processing and a cotton gin," Walt Zorn said. He had "heart dropsy" in his last years and bought his casket before his death. Walt Zorn talked about the importance of stones -- standing stones, legal stones, boundary stones and memorial stones -- in biblical times. He noted similarities between those ancient rocks and the marker inscribed with information about Dennis and Nancy Zorn. Zorn said the lives of Christians should stand as markers people can follow. "Let us all leave here today determined to be 'standing stones' to the world and the community in which we live," he concluded. H. Neil Lewis, caretaker of the church, shared some of its history. Dr. Anson West, "a circuit rider from the Methodist conference," started the church, Lewis said. The building was constructed in 1856. The congregation disbanded about 10 years ago. "I hope to live long enough to see us have church here again," Lewis said. Mrs. Claudia Zorn shared the family's history. She noted that Dennis and Nancy Zorn "were cousins before they were life partners," as is true for Mrs. Zorn and her husband, Joseph. She is descended from a branch of the family that moved to Texas after the Civil War. Claudia Zorn has done extensive research of the family's roots, but she said she likes to have stories to add to the names and dates "so that we don't just have a bunch of dry facts." She said the Zorns originate in the Alsace region of France and Italy. Originally the word "Zorn" was associated with a place -- "a high meadow of flowers and a peaceful place," the historian said. Nicholas Zorn I, who left Germany in March 1734, was the progenitor of the family that includes D.H. Zorn. Dr. Carmen Skaggs of Columbus, formerly of Luthersville, sang "His Eye Is On The Sparrow," accompanied by Ann Dunn, pianist from First Baptist Church of Gay. Prayers were delivered by two Zorn descendants who are pastors, Winston Zorn of Donalsonville and Winston Skinner, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church near Alvaton. Skinner is a Newnan resident and assistant news editor of The Times-Herald. A floral arrangement, given by Claudia Zorn, was dedicated to the memory of J. Steven Elliott, a Zorn descendant who worked for many years to get the graves of Dennis and Nancy Zorn marked but died before the project was completed. Elliott "was able to match his love for family with his passion for history," she said.

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