Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County


From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County

CORN HUSKINGS

The modus operandi with corn was for all hands to go into the field, and jerk off and throw in heaps till dinner. In the afternoon it was hauled in, and either thrown in heaps or more commonly one long pile. When the crop was all thus gathered, preparations were made for a night's husking. The neighbors for miles around were invited in. Two captains were chosen, who each selected an equal number of assistants. The pile was then divided equally, by placing a pole on the center. If there were two heaps, one captain had first choice of hands, and the other of heaps. When all were ready, "Black Betty" was handed around to get up the proper spirit, and work began in good earnest, the object being to see who could husk out on his side of the dividing line first. After many whiffs at old " Black Betty," as the whisky bottle was familiarly called, the victorious party placed the bottle in the hands of the captain, and two stout men would seize him, one by each leg, and amid the shouts of "Hoist the captain!" lift him up and carry him over to the other party, and with swinging of hats and yells of victory, parade him along the lines of the vanquished buskers. Then old Betty was passed from mouth to mouth until all felt gloriously happy.

"The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,
And ay the rum was growing better
The souter tauld his queerest stories,
The woodman's laugh was ready chorus;
Care, mad to see men so happy,
E'en drowned himself among the nappy.
Kings may be blest, but they were glorious.
O'er all the ills o' life victorious."