Farms in the American Midwest are being hit hard this summer, but in 1899, the farmers in Nodaway County, and especially the Skidmore area, had a lot to brag about. (It’s all right to talk if you have something to talk about.) From the August 11, 1899 Skidmore Standard:
Big corn items are to be found now in nearly all country newspapers and the STANDARD is not one of the exceptions because Nodaway county grows the largest corn in the world – yes world, and Monroe township produces the best corn in the county. It is alright to talk if you have something to talk about. Other papers tell of big corn that wouldn’t be considered mammoth at all here. If some of it were transplanted in a field of Monroe township corn, the sun light could never reach it but once every twenty-four hours and that would be at high noon. There is only one drawback to Nodaway county’s corn crop and that is the stalks are growing so tall that giants can’t reach the ears. How am I going to get my corn gathered, is the problem confronting every farmer at present and about the only solution is to make every row a “down row.”
Lest some of our neighbors who live in a less favored region of God’s country, conceive the idea that this is all the product of wind and the editor’s imagination, we will give some measurements of two stalks of corn that were brought to town this week.
Tuesday morning, Reuben Barrett brought in a stalk that measured sixteen feet and one inch. Mr. Barrett said that in breaking off the stalk about ten inches of it, not including the roots, were left in the field so the stalk was, in reality, about seventeen feet tall. There were three sets of brace roots, the upper ones being two feet from the ground. Mr. Barrett said the whole field of corn was equally as good as this specimen.
Wednesday morning, A. C. Wood, “Farmer Green” as he is called, brought to town a stalk of his big corn that he was telling about last week. Unfortunately, he was a trifle careless about keeping in the middle of the road as he turned the corner a half mile east of town and the top end of the gigantic stalk caught on Job Goslee’s fence and was broken off just above the top ear. The lowest ear is so high that the tallest man in town would have to be on an airy pair of stilts to reach it and another ear of suitable size for a prize fighter’s club is located still higher up on the stalk. Mr. Wood says the stalk measured a little over 18 feet in length, and he has others just as tall. All who don’t believe this stand on your heads!