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,
Being one of eleven... back when pleasures were few,
Now he had lots of wit... as did all of them boys,
When it came time to see... what nature would yield,
Find a fat-sit'n rabbit... or a slow-run'n quail,
Yes, many was the time... if the table got graced,
Those days are long gone... when things were hand-made,
But Rufus remembered... and thought others should,
His plan was real simple... like when he was a boy,
First shoot'n at age six... and a-make'n 'em by ten,
And if you ever paused... with corncob in ya hand,
Now he gained lots of fame... demonstrate'n his skill,
I once heard him say... and this I don't doubt,
They're more than for fun... though, a good toy they make,
So make sure you carry... in back pocket or sock,
Preparing the Beanshooter Rubber
Making the Pouch
Assembling the Beanshooter