Husking Bee During the Homesteading Era

A husking bee was quite an event in
the homesteading days. In the fall the farmer went out to the cornfield with a
corn knife and a shocking horse, which was a 10-foot pole with two legs on one
end, about 3 feet tall. He would lean the corn fodder on each side of this
horse until the amount was large enough for a shock, then he would throw a rope
around it to pull tight and tie it with twine.

Later he would gather a wagonload
of shocks and haul the corn into the barn. Then friends and neighbors would be
invited to a husking bee. At the husking bee any man finding a red ear of corn
was eligible to kiss his girl. The huskers would have cake or cookies, cold
buttermilk and coffee, and anyone who played an instrument was invited to
perform. The guests would dance and sing; the husking bee was a real party!

Robert Bishop
Nora Springs, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call
went out from the editors of the then
Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true
pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their
children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers,
all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made
to create a book, and in 1956, the first
Folks title – My Folks Came in a
Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine
other books have since been published in the
My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to
make those stories available to our growing online community.