Rufus Hussey... The Beanshooter Man

Rufus Hussey was raised south of Seagrove, NC on a two-horse farm with ten brothers and sisters. Having lost his father at an early age, and with the only gun being carried by the oldest brother, Rufus and the other boys grew-up shooting beanshooters. He was making his own by the age of ten and soon developed a keen-eye for hitting his target.

In 1972 Rufus decided to start making beanshooters to sell or give away in order to promote what he felt was becoming a lost art. He gave each its own serial number which he recorded on the butt-end of the handle. Rufus passed away in Feb. of 1994. The last beanshooter he had completed carried the number 15,864. Now that's a lot of walking the woods searching for Dogwood forks.

In his later years Rufus became quite famous shooting his beanshooter to the amazement of country and city-folk alike. He appeared on many TV shows where he demonstrated his skill. One TV host asked... "Rufus, I understand you can knock a quarter out of the air with that thing! Is that right?" Rufus responded... "I can hit a penny.... but when it gets that cheap, it's time to quit!"

Rufus hit the big-time when he was invited to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. After a bit of small-talk, Johnny asked, " I understand you're going to demonstrate your skill... is that right?" Rufus replied, "Sure! I'd rather shoot the beanshooter than shoot the bull." Soon Rufus was shooting a corncob from Johnny's hand.

A few months later brought a call from Charles Kuralt. He wanted to come down to the farm and interview Rufus for one of his On The Road segments. Rufus put on a real show shooting targets of all types. The segment ended with him breaking a corncob from Charle's hand.

I'll finish with this poem inspired by Rufus Hussey... The Beanshooter Man.


He had big, strong hands that... were acquainted with work,
With the help of two horses... they raised a live'n from dirt.

Being one of eleven... back when pleasures were few,
He soon learn'd live'n meant... we'll simply make do.

Now he had lots of wit... as did all of them boys,
They created their fun... and made all their own toys.

When it came time to see... what nature would yield,
They took their beanshooters... and walked thru the field.

Find a fat-sit'n rabbit... or a slow-run'n quail,
Then with sure, steady aim... they'd let the rock sail.

Yes, many was the time... if the table got graced,
Required a quick, keen eye... and a stone well-placed.

Those days are long gone... when things were hand-made,
Women's sack dresses and... fresh-squeezed lemonade.

But Rufus remembered... and thought others should,
How those seemed the best times... for true brotherhood.

His plan was real simple... like when he was a boy,
Start make'n the beanshooters... that brought him such joy.

First shoot'n at age six... and a-make'n 'em by ten,
His kin knew he was good... with a beanshooter then.

And if you ever paused... with corncob in ya hand,
You'd soon have it shot... by "The Beanshooter Man".

Now he gained lots of fame... demonstrate'n his skill,
But smiles on folk's faces... was his biggest thrill.

I once heard him say... and this I don't doubt,
"When it comes to beanshooters... just don't be without.

They're more than for fun... though, a good toy they make,
You may find a time... you need to dispatch a snake."

So make sure you carry... in back pocket or sock,
Ya trusty beanshooter... and at least one good rock.

Tom Allen

Securing a Fork
Preparing the Beanshooter Rubber
Making the Pouch
Assembling the Beanshooter

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