Universal York

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1939–Yeager and Fitz battle for York County title


What competition attracted 3,000 people on October 18, 1939? According to a lengthy account in the Gazette and Daily the next day: “A large tent was erected on the farm and refreshments were sold to the crowd by the auxiliary of the York County Farmers organization. The grounds somewhat resembled a county fair with displays of seed corn and farming implements.”

It might have seemed like a fair, but it was the annual York County Corn Husking Contest. The article reads, in part:

“Stanley Yeager, Mt. Wolf, husked almost 21 ½ bushels of corn in 80 minutes yesterday afternoon to retain his title as corn husking champion of York County. The sixth annual contest was held on the farm of Rudolph A. Snyder, one mile north of North York on the old Harrisburg road. Yeager last year won the York County championship by husking 33.05 bushels in the 80 minute period, and this year his record was 21.48. Yeager last year also won the state championship held at Lancaster and participated in the national contest. He has won the York County contest three times.”

The account says the runner-up was Nelson Fitz of York R.D.3. Both Yeager and Fitz would be competing in the state championship “to be held next Thursday along the old Airport road in this county.”

The huskers used standing, not shocked corn, and deductions were made for corn left behind. The total bushels husked were less in 1939 than the year before, because dry conditions resulted in smaller ears and fewer on each stalk, thus taking longer to fill each bushel.

Forty-five persons, all named in the article, had participated in a morning elimination contest, husking 130 to 186 ears each in five minutes. The majority, but not all, of the participants seem to come from the central part of the county; the potato growers I wrote about previously were mostly, again with exceptions, from the southeastern townships. I don’t know if there is any significance in that. My family and others in Chanceford Township grew a lot of both. You still see a lot of corn in the county, but now potatoes seem to have been largely replaced by fields of soybeans.