|Little Home Histories, Part 81 -- Anecdotes Written by William G. Steer: Corn Husking.|
by Steer, William G.
Sixty or seventy years ago, the manner of gathering the corn was very different from that of the present day. Many farmers, instead of putting it in shock, cut the top of the stalk just above the ear and used it for fodder. They snapped the ears off and hauled them to the barn to husk. When the crops were large and they had large barns, it was placed in long ricks across the floor and the neighbors were invited in to help husk it at night. After husking, a good supper was served quite late at night.
The huskers rested on their knees as close together as they could work and there was always a rivalry to see who could first husk through the pile. It was the task for the older men to rake back the husks as they accumulated.
Around 1860, J.T. Scholfield made a business of hauling the husks to his barn and they were shredded, to be used in making mattresses -- baling and shipping them to Wheeling, W. Va. The power for the shredder was a treadmill large enough for two horses to walk on. A large wagon bed seven feet high and large enough to hold a ton of husks was drawn by a four-horse team to deliver the husks. This had to be done in the winter when the roads were very muddy.
My first ride on a wagon like this was in 1864, when I was eight years old, and we went from the Henry Doudna home on Sandy Ridge to the Aaron home, then the home of Jonathan T. Scholfield.
In the winter of 1880, I was in partnership with Perley Pickett and we carried on the same business. It was the practice in those days for the neighbors to take the Boarding School scholars on a sled ride each winter. It fell to my lot to take twenty-four of the scholars in my load. This wagon bed was too high for them to see out and when the door was closed they were practically in prison.
On our return trip, two miles west of Barnesville, Ohio, the scholars crowed too much to one side and the bed -- being on bob sleds -- upset and rolled the scholars into an adjoining field and pitched me into a fence corner in the snow. No one was hurt.
Sarah Pickett Walton is, as far as I know, the only one living of those twenty-four scholars, after a lapse of sixty-one years.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
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