Governor’s Frog Jump
Egg Strike in Springfield
The unique art of egg striking was brought to America by the early pioneers from Ireland and central Europe. Early stories from these areas indicated they participated in a game or contest called “Egg Piping” or Egg Striking as it is known in this country. It is usually accomplished by striking the ends of two boiled eggs against each other until it breaks. The person whose egg is broken forfeits his egg. A flip of the coin determined which contestant would hold his egg down and which would strike it.
Many Orangeburg County families participated in the custom which began about two weeks before Easter and was usually climaxed on the Sunday before Easter. For many years, Springfield held the distinction of the Egg Striking Capital of South Carolina. Some Citizens said the custom was brought to the area by the ?? family and others said it was the ?? family, but regardless of who had the distinction the young and the old came to town with their hardest egg.
There was always the ringers who would try to use a duck, guinea or a turkey egg but they were apt to get a strike on the head. Some jokesters would fix wooden eggs, glass eggs, and other false eggs as pranks but none of these fooled the old pros. In fact, before striking, each contestant would examine the other’s egg.
Prior to Easter, the young and old of the Springfield Community were busy determining their hard eggs. All this was preliminary to the real fever that began to run high on the Saturday before Easter when they came to town with their pockets filled with the hardest eggs that they could find. Everyone was a potential champion. They watched, they tested and they struck, until one egg or one striker had broken all the eggs and defeated all the competition. The old champions included the family names of Fanning, Morgan, Coopers, Gleaton, Williams, Smiths and others. In the forties, the late William Gleaton came to Springfield with his choice egg and when he departed the back seat of his car was filled with eggs and he had defeated everyone. It was estimated that he broke eight to ten dozen eggs in one afternoon and was declared the champion for the day. But as he left town, some of the old timers were heard to say “Just wait ’till next year.”
It goes without saying that over the years just ordinary chickens could not be expected to produce eggs of such championship caliber. As a result, the Springfield people have placed great emphasis on their chicken raising. Therefore, it is only proper that the visitors here today be given but a small glimpse of a few of the more outstanding chickens that have come from the little rural community during the past century or so.
Today, the rules are basically the same. Visible gimmicks are banned; however, farmers have been known to feed their hens “magic potions” to produce hard eggs. You will see folks prowling around the hen houses, tapping eggs with their eye teeth. They will tell you that a hollow sound means a “weak” and a heavy, thick echo means “strong”.