This photo shows one-half of a corn sheller, with both exterior and interior views, along with the 1870 patent drawings from J. M. Gray's "Corn Husker" (Google Patents, No. 110,565). The specimen is cast iron, and the outside of the implement (top) bears the name: "GRAY*BROS / PAT 1870 / Louisville." The patent documents state that it is an "Improvement in Hand Corn-Huskers and Shellers." The complete device consisted of two hinged plates with teeth on their inside curved surfaces. A dried ear of corn was placed between the jaws, which were held together by a leather strap that could be adjusted to fit anyone's hand. The ear of corn was then twisted between the teeth, first to remove the husks and then to knock the kernels off the cob so they could then be collected for cooking or storage.
Based on the extensive wear of the teeth, this hand corn sheller saw a lot of use. Along with the findings of charred corn kernels, this evidence leaves little doubt that corn was an important plant on the Williams farm. Corn would have been used to feed livestock and as a staple food for the family. In addition, seed corn would have been dried and stored for planting the next years' crop. It is not known how much corn they might have planted and harvested each year, but we can surmise that a significant portion of Williams' fields might have been devoted to growing corn.