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Heirloom Vegetables: Gourdseed Corn

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Forum: Heirloom VegetablesReplies: 4, Views: 267
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Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

August 27, 2003
6:54 PM

Post #629339


I remebered that you wrote " I started a thread a couple of years ago looking for corn that my ancestors grew. I just tried to go too far back in time. I was curious about the years around the Revolution, and we didn't have much to go on."

I was at an heirloom seed site today and saw a reference to 'Carolina Gourdseed', which is "Purported to be one of the oldest corn varieties grown in the US today.

Further didgging led me to a refernce to 'Virginia Gourdseed'.

"...early in the 1800s two predominant races of corn - Virginia Gourdseed and Northeastern Flints - grown in the Eastern Seaboard states were crossed, demonstrating the superiority of hybrids. The cross was repeated many times as settlers migrated west, and from these lines the Corn Belt Dents emerged."

Does it look like we're getting closer?


Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)

August 28, 2003
12:33 AM

Post #629654

The people that I'm interested in came from Western PA,and directly from Ireland before that.

They settled in PA in the 1750's and then went down the Ohio River with Gen George Rogers Clark,settled Corn Island at what is now Louisville,KY in 1778.

They floated up the Monongahela River from Red Stone,which is now Brownsville,to Fort Pitt,where they took on supplies.

The original farm was in Somerset Co.The son left with his family and headed west.There were 16 families who traveled with Gen Clark and his regiment.They first put in at Corn Island,cut all the trees and planted gardens.

Corn Island has now washed away because it had no trees,but the name still stands...and it is pretty obvious as to what they considered an important,as they named the island after it.

Any information would be great,as I don't have much more to go on than this. It's just a true story and I'd love to find a connection.
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

August 28, 2003
2:49 PM

Post #630201

Darn, I can't seem to push this back any farther than the mid 1800s when the predominant corns being grown would have been Virginia Gourdseeds and Northeastern Flints. The dents hadn't come along until...

"In 1847 Robert Reid accidentally created a hybrid after he replaced the bare patches in his field of Gordon Hopkins Gourdseed corn with Little Yellow Flint. The result was Reid's Yellow Dent, a variety proclaimed "the world's most beautiful corn...",MaryClare.doc

About the only link I can find that may be of some help is a site for Locust Grove where "George Rogers Clark spent the last nine years of his life... from 1809 until his death in 1818." It's now an historic site dedicated "to preserve and interpret the 55-acre site, with its circa 1790 house and outbuildings, the collection and the gardens, as an example of early nineteenth-century frontier America and to share the stories of the many people who contributed to the history of Locust Grove, emphasizing the life of General George Rogers Clark, Revolutionary War hero and founder of Louisville." Maybe they can find you some history on what was grown there.

Hope this helps. I sure did learn a lot from it!


Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)

August 28, 2003
5:43 PM

Post #630343

Gen. Clark wasn't as wonderful as history generally portrays him,and I am no fan of his,but the fact that my ancestor traveled with him,makes me want to study the era and customs.

I bookmarked the site,and will study in depth when I get a chance.

Thanks Agrinerd, you are an asset to DG and I enjoy your input.
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

August 28, 2003
8:25 PM

Post #630498

You're welcome! I just love digging, is all. Give me a shovel or a search engine and I'm happy.

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