The Corn Shuckin'

Corn Shuckin' at the Gus Childs Farm on Three Mile Creek about 1906

When the year's harvesting was done, and the frost was beginning to cover the pumpkins, the word would go out that a corn shuckin' would be held at someone's place on a certain night.  

"This was a signal for a big time.  Now just sitting down to a big pile of corn and shucking it out is work.  That is, if a feller had to do it alone.  But when it meant seeing your best girl, that was different.  That's when work went out and play came in.  Nobody knows who first thought up a corn-huskin' on a boy-girl basis, but he was a smart man.  He was wise enough to know that if he wanted a crowd big enough to do the job he would have to have some other attraction than merely a group of countrymen sitting around a pile of corn and working away until midnight.  So, the corn shuckin' became a social event."

When the night arrived for the corn-shuckin', the young folks marched right out to the big pile of corn, generally piled up near the barn, so it could easily be gotten into the corn crib.  A boy and a girl would pair off and then everybody would group themselves in a circle around the mountain of corn.  Sitting there, they would start shucking to beat the band.  As the shucks began flying, conversation would rise and fall.  Sometimes a girl's laugh would lift above the murmuring, as she teased the boy by her side, or tried to disentangle her hand from his among the mottled unshucked ears.  Usually somebody brought along a fiddle.  The fiddle would cry and the shuckin' couples would sing...somebody thought up the idea of the red ear of corn as a hilarious contrivance for promoting an opportunity for a kiss...When a young fellow found a red ear of corn he got to kiss the girl of his choice publicly."  -John Parris-

What a corn-shuckin' came down to was a heap more courting and frolicking got done than work.