Greetings folks! Blake wanna find out about the actual history of the Aunt Mary's sweet corn, being from Ohio and around the Great Lakes, in the 1800s. I wanna find out which Native Americans and early settlers used that historic brand of corn. I've heard from a Cherokee guy from Missouri that the corn has been used somehow in Prophetstown, Indiana where Lafayette is today. Is it true that the corn has a connection to Prophetstown or anywhere in the Midwest? I wanna hear your own stories or historic background of the corn, then let me know the rest! Thanks!
Hate to be discouraging but doubt you will be able to find an origin of Aunt Mary's or whether or not it had native American origins.
I am familiar with Aunt Mary's in fact may be the best sweet corn there is in my own opinion. I discovered it a few years back and it was described as originating in Ohio or thereabouts and that it was a primary variety when commercial canning started in late 1800s and before yellow varieties became available.
I also strongly suspect it is the corn my grandfather grew when I was a kid and used for animal feed and grinding for flour as well as sweet corn. That was several decades ago so can't say for sure that he did not have two white corns but I don't think so. As I recall the corn we ate was the same that later on we picked to grind for the chickens or take to the mill to be ground for flour. Aunt Mary's has very large flinty looking kernels when fully dry with just a little bit of the wrinkled appearance of a sweet corn. So with my rather limited experience and distant memory, I would say if any corn could be used in a multi-purpose way Aunt Mary's might be it.
Where I live in southern Indiana it grows very well and is actually a foundation in my landrace development of my own flint corn. I really like the vigorous growth, large kernels and fewer number of rows of kernels, generally not more than 12. Not to mention the fantastic flavor as a sweet corn. I don't have space to preserve an inbred heirloom variety of corn in a pure state but if I did Aunt Mary's would be my choice.
I do think that native peoples did grow sweet corn or at least that is what I found in researching the topic a few years ago. As I recall it was generally done in the north east and varieties such as Anasazi, Black Mexican and Hookers actually originated there and were given those names by early commercial seed growers.
Then could it have ties to many early Midwest settlers back then? I'm also focusing on them as well. I'm trying to restore back the agricultural history of the Calumet region of Chicago and Indiana off the shores of southern Lake Michigan at my community farm in Chicago. You know anything about the Calumet area at all?
Goodness I don't know but I certainly think it's possible. I know in the early 1960s my grandad loved that corn and think that he had grown up with it himself. He was in his 70s at that time so that puts it back a bit. I'm not familiar with the Calumet area.
I didn't realize Prophetstown was that far north, I was thinking it was in southwest Indian near Vincennes. Anyway, I think people got around back then much more than one might think. A great thing like what we call Aunt Mary's sweet corn could certainly have found it's way around with them.
You know about any corn from the Miami peoples who were and are the among the main tribes in Indiana as well as the Potawatomi? I'm looking for more corn from the Miami and Potawatomi up north from where you at. Know anybody who has these strains?