Unfortunate Spring Weather, May 12, 1907

All of Sherd Goff’s Audubon County crops had been planted the spring of 1907.

But the Audubon newspaper an the unfortunate story: “We have had all kinds of weather the past week. Sunday [May 12] was very warm but exceedingly unpleasant because of the wind that blew the dust in all directions. One man put it the wind blew corn rows crooked. In fact, it was one of the worst we have ever seen of the kind. Monday was cooler and Tuesday was cold and Wednesday cooler still, with a little snow. . . The whole country is suffering more or less from the unusual cold and drought we are having this spring.”

Decades later, Sherd’s oldest daughter Leora remembered that the wind blew all day and most of one night, and the dust in the air was terrible. A lot of seed was exposed and some blew away. It was a little late in the season to replant field corn, so Pa decided to plant popcorn since it has a shorter growing season.

That popcorn crop did so well that he continued raising it, along with field corn, oats, and hay. For several years, he contracted with a popcorn company each spring, in Chicago or Odebolt, to grow so many acres, the company furnishing the seed. 

Sherd Goff’s crib of popcorn

They did so well from marketing his popcorn crops to buy a farm in neighboring Guthrie County four years later. He was even called the Popcorn King of Guthrie County.


Leora’s Early Years: Guthrie County Roots

13 comments

    • Yes! Well, until I developed diverticulitis (and experienced the worst of my maybe dozen surgeries), and now I can only breathe in that heavenly aroma. Alas

  1. Before I was aware of my Great Grandfather, Sheridan, the Popcorn King of Guthrie County, at about 10 years of age started growing 8 rows of white popcorn. I shelled it by hand into a big pan, let the wind clean it, pouring from pan to pan. Into quart jars and sold door-to-door in Dexter, Iowa. 25 cents a jar! Almost as good as collecting pop bottles from road ditches, 2 cents each. Bob Scar

    • I didn’t know that! Sherd bought a commercial popcorn machine when they lived in the Victorian house in Guthrie Center. It met its demise just south of where you grew up, at a Penn Center picnic when it caught fire and burned up!

  2. What a wonderful story! I have always admired farmers for their hard work and dedication. My mother was raised on a farm. I so loved listening to her stories, and I have written many of them down. As your first commenter noted, this is a perfect example of making lemonade when life gives you lemons! 🙂

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