The husking bee: an 1800s social event

harford history

November 09, 2008

In 19th-century Harford County, a common occurrence for this time of year was a husking bee. The corn cutting, shocking and husking was a backbreaking task for farmers, taking six or more weeks each fall. One way farmers lightened the workload was to invite their neighbors to a husking bee. The men gathered in the barn, while the women prepared a fall feast. The men would have contests to see who could husk a basket of corn first. The younger men, if they were lucky to find a red ear of corn, could kiss a girl before dinner. Among friends, gossip and cider, everyone had an enjoyable evening.

Source: "Our Harford Heritage: A History of Harford County, Maryland," by C. Milton Wright. 1967.

Compiled by the staff of the Harford County Public Library.

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