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What is a Husking Bee?

Updated on April 27, 2012

A "Husking Bee" in the state of Kansas played a big part in my grandparent's courtship over a hundred years ago.

They were married in Holton Kansas in 1905.

I wanted to know more about what a husking bee was/is, and thought you might like to know what I found. I wasn't able to find very much, just some general information. If you have information about Husking Bees, please feel free to leave a comment in the guestbook at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

The Family in 1935 - All because two people fell in love after a Husking Bee

The family in 1935
The family in 1935

Well, I think he was already sweet on her, because he arranged for his brothers to sneak him the ear of red corn!

Pictured with all their children, the older man on the left and the older lady on the right were my grandparents, who were married in 1905.

The youngest girl in the picture is my mother.

What was a Husking Bee?

A husking bee was a social event created to make a really laborious task like shucking corn less of a drag. People would provide their own entertainment, music, and delicious food to make it into a fun event.

Husking Bee Games

One type of game that would be played at a husking bee was to have a huge pile of ears of corn in the middle of the barn. One red ear of corn would be hidden somewhere in the pile. All the single men would shuck the outer part of the corn ears off as fast as they could, because the first guy to find the red ear of corn would be awarded a kiss from the girl of his choice at the husking bee!

(This was the game my grandfather wanted to win so he could kiss my grandmother. His 2 older brothers were already married, so they were to slip the red ear over to my grandfather in case they found it first instead of him!)

But probably the most basic, and perhaps the first husking game was as simple as putting the corn into 2 piles, separating people into two teams, and the team that shucked their pile first was the winner. Anything to make a tedious task more fun.

Your comments are welcome!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      After the husks were peeled back, the worker would snap the husks and corn stem loose from the cob. This was tossed aside and saved to be used as kindling for wood cook range, soft water heater, etc. The papery husks caught fire quickly and the woody stems burned long enough to catch small chunks of wood on fire.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      A Kansas Husking Bee game has to be the most unusual way to meet your mate I've ever heard! Fun to learn about it. Enjoyed 'meeting' your grandparents and family in that interesting photo.