As a farmer’s wife, I’m familiar with modern day corn planters and how they work. But corn planting back in 1868 (the year the novel I’m writing takes place) was quite different than today. So here’s a bit of fun info I discovered while researching for my next novel.


Prior to the invention of planters, corn was initially planted by hand (about an acre a day). Can you imagine planting acres and acres of corn with a hoe and sack of seed in hand? That’s likely why the average farm cultivated between 25 and 40 acres back then. The average farmer today plants around 445 acres, while some larger farms run into the thousands of acres!

By the early nineteenth century, a Corn Jabber was invented. The device worked a bit like a post hole digger, with metal slots that jab into the ground. Except this device had a seed bin attached and dropped a kernel of corn into the ground with each downward thrust. This helped speed planting from about one acre a day to two.


It wasn’t until the invention of the corn planter that farmers really upped their daily labor efforts. The Blair Corn Planter was invented by a free African American man named Henry Blair in 1834. The planter looked a bit like a wheel barrel with rakes at its back and a seed bin on top.
Pulled by a horse, the planter had a sharp metal shovel in front to wedge a trench in the soil for the seed to drop in. Afterward the rakes in back covered over the seed. The mechanism increased production from two acres to nearly ten. This ingenious device proved a ground-breaking invention, the concept of which is still used in today’s planter technology.


What amazing progress through the years that has allowed farming to thrive. But we all know putting seed in the ground doesn’t guarantee a crop. Farmers are dependent on the Lord’s goodness and grace in sending the needed sunshine and rain to cause the seed to sprout and grow.
It’s been said farmers are the biggest gamblers, but I think most farmers would disagree. Farming isn’t a gamble, it’s reliance on the Creator that gets them through. It takes a great deal of faith and patience to produce a crop. And what a blessing it is to witness the Lord’s faithfulness year after year.



Stories of faith and resilience on the Midwest prairie & the Civil War Era

Inspirational Historical Romance

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