Monday, August 19, 2019

Corn Shucking in 1886 Louisiana


 This is a fun newspaper article about a gathering of people to shuck corn. I am amazed at the 15,000 bushels of corn! I love the description of the food consumed by all those gathered. However, I wish I could pinpoint just which of my Alford family is J. B. Alford. At first, I thought it was Jesse Brumfield Alford but he was born in 1855; old enough to be a farmer in 1886 but not old enough to have eight children. 




Corn-Shucking
A Fun Picture of the Great Rural Plantation

On Wednesday, by invitation, we attended a big corn-shucking at J. B. Alford’s. When we arrived at Mr. Alford’s we found about fifty or sixty of the neighbors and their “hands” surrounding immense piles of corn, and the shucks and ears were flying in every direction. We took a turn at the pile, and our hands and wrists are sore yet from the unusual exercise. 

Gathered around the pile were farmers, negroes, a justice of the peace, a lawyer, a merchant, an editor and a physician. Mr. Alford made about 15,000 bushels of corn, besides a full crop of cotton, etc. Very few farmers are as successful as he. His farm is self-sustaining and he always has corn to sell.

Mrs. Alford [Sarah W. Simmons Alford] and her accomplished daughters had a grand feast provided for the shuckers at noon, and while the tables didn’t groan under the weight of the edibles, as the stereotype writers would say, it was a fact that they were crowded with everything in the way of good victuals to be cooked in the best style, and our generous host and hostess did everything in their power to make everybody eat hearty and enjoy themselves, in which laudable undertaking they succeeded. 

There was old ham, the sort that makes red gravy, and fresh pork and turnips and cabbage and potatoes and chickens and chick peas and oysters and sardines and cheese and pies and pound cake and pickles and preserves, world without end. 

When we left at 3 p.m. constant accessions were being made to the shucking brigade, commanded by Major Shelton, and the work went bravely on. It was thought the corn would all be shucked by 12 at night.

Mr. Alford’s family is remarkable. He has eight children, we believe, and not a single member of the family have ever used tobacco in any form and they are all healthy and fine-looking, from the father and mother down to the youngest child.

Source: Corn-Shucking. (Shreveport, LA: The Times, 11 March 1886) 3; digital image, newspapers.com: accessed July 2019.

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