Autumn on the Joker Ridge near Hur
"Our village stands on the edge of memory, soon to be forgotten by
most. Those of us
with roots in its clay hold cautiously to the place like some cling to
pearls. There are powerful memories of a time when people were full of
even the smallest of things, life was hard but simple and most every
"Our families thrust themselves deep into these steep mountains and
to learn the toil of the soil, breathing sustenance and survival.
there is the
spiritual connection with the earth and creation - a seldom
interrupted peace, safe
"Full of spirit, character and flaw, rising up and falling down, their
lives are a special
gift to us. While old timers may treasure these stories, we really
want to pass them on
to newcomers who have chosen to live in Calhoun County, those yet to
be born and
the curious seekers who visit us on the Internet. Maybe we will touch
the spirit of one
of you as we launch into the new millennium, a shadowy image in a
distant world." - Bob Weaver, Editor (1996)
A QUESTIONABLE PUBLICATION FROM WEST
EDITOR - Bob Weaver
ASSOCIATE EDITORS - Dianne Weaver and Norma Knotts Shaffer
TECHNICAL CONSULTANTS - Rich Kurnik and Tim Connolly
7697 Pine Creek Rd. - Mt. Zion WV 26151
A QUESTIONABLE PUBLICATION
Editor Bob Weaver returned to his ancestral Village of Hur in 1995 and
Hur Herald's printed version in 1996 "for the amusement of my
printing and handing out 2000 copies. Because of expense, The Herald was placed on the
1, 1999 and now has over 2,500,000 million visitors a year, and is one of the most read Internet newspapers in West Virginia.
Weaver is a
prolific writer ("Most of the time I hack it out, but once in a while I write."), avid
historian, collector, naturalist and photographer.
In the archives of The Herald you will read about Hunkerin' Ed Cooper,
who was never
known to sit in a chair, or be fascinated by a heavenly visit by "The
Ghost of Reason
Kerby," who comes out on half-moon nights in Salvation Hollow to clear
questions put to him by little Billy Braveheart, Hur's most innocent
citizen who seeks
to understand things.
You could feel the pang of democracy at work when Hur's governing
Council for Social Improvement and Upward Mobility, rules on public
The Herald has local news, sometimes the reporting of controversial subjects, and a
focus on the
people and history of the area.
Weaver has said he hopes readers across America will develop a perception of what life is about in the hills of Central West Virginia, past and present.
He has worked
variously on articles, books and stories with their origin in
Calhoun County, including the "Tales of Bear Fork."
says the Herald's large readership comes as a surprise.
The original Herald was described as "A cheap, often unedited and
misspelled epistle with shaky financial backing and poorly defined
It has been
slightly refined, but not much.
The Herald has received lots of media attention in newspapers and
magazines for its
grassroots reporting and connection to a place and its people.
"Finding time to fit has been a challenge, putting it together about every day since 1999." he
"Reporting news about our county has not always made friends, but at the same time, I really believe it has been a worthwhile effort."
Weaver, who at one time worked as a radio broadcaster and reporter, helped put Spencer's radio station on-the-air in the early 1960s.
He spent 18 years as a volunteer fireman and taught some of WV's first EMT courses, having been 'on the ground' providing ambulance service in Roane County in what he describes as the 'dark ages,' responding to thousands of calls.
"It was in the 60s I learned the face of poverty," he said.
He was a member of the West Virginia National Guard.
Weaver was a three-term member of the Calhoun Commission. He is a member of the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Coal River Mountain Watch, National Audubon Society, and numerous other social justice groups.
He is a former funeral director and hospital administrator, and founder of two treatment centers
for alcoholism and drug addiction. He is past president of the West Virginia
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.
Weaver said his greatest achievement has been a personal recovery from alcoholism since 1979, which was his motivation to shift his life work toward helping alcoholics and the drug addicted.
He and his wife Dianne have been involved for several years with Challenge WV, a grassroots group dedicated to keeping education in community schools and preserving rural community life.
He is the son of the late Gifford and Myrtle McCoy Weaver of Hur, his mother an employee of Kellwood, Spencer's now defunct sweater factory, and his father a retired employee of the old State Road Commission.
He is married to Ellen Dianne Starcher Weaver, one of the hundred's of Calhoun Starcher's. He has three children, Eric Weaver of Alaska, Tracey Weaver Keaton of Spencer and Jon Weaver of Hur.
"I proudly claim relationship to at least half of Calhoun's families of origin," he said.
'NARY A STOPLIGHT IN SUNNY CAL
Calhoun (population now about 7,000) is
the beaten path in
the hills of central West Virginia, with nary a stop light, traffic jams, or fast
Calhoun, with a population about 7,300, is home of the erstwhile Village
of Hur, population about 25. It is
typical of dozens of
villages which have faded in the backwoods county. While most would not consider Calhoun hills to be mountains (Mule Knob the highest at 1510'), they are extremely steep,
craggy, rugged and
Calhoun citizens reside in a great forest, the county being among the most forested in WV.
The hills are, in many ways a curse and a blessing, isolating the citizens
greater world and protecting residents from some of the problems that haunt
Calhoun has been a county since 1856, with its economy during the
first hundred years being primarily agricultural with an infusion of oil and
It has less than 300 square miles. The children have been forced to
leave for gainful
employment for nearly fifty years, although some Calhouners have been
create their own economy.
They are strong survivors who cling to values that many consider
backward, a sense
of being connected to the earth, family and church.
Grantsville, the county
seat and only
municipality, has a population of 500, but many people in the
county shop in
Spencer, now home to Wal-Mart.
Calhoun is 45 miles from Parkersburg and about 75 miles from
shopping and business centers.
Roads around and out of the county still follow those paths of least resistance, some call them "cow paths."
The hills and a lack of a modern highway have slowed progress, created a slow moving lifestyle and
development and infrastructure.
A "modern road" that would offer access to and from the county has been on the drawing board for about 40 years, and is no closer to being built now that it was in the 60s.
Despite programs and plans
to develop infrastructure in rural America since the 60's by the
Appalachian Regional Commission and other "Big Brother" programs, the
government's foreign aid has gone to other deserving, more urban
areas of America, or abroad or to fund wars.
Government continues to spend millions on job training in WV,
for jobs that do not exist.
The county has one of the lowest incomes of the state's 55 counties and is on the list of the one hundred poorest counties in America, but as a resident once said "We are not fazed by recessions and depressions," but with the current national economic collapse, that may no longer be true.
is a safe and
beautiful place to
live with hospitable people.
Since the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, it is
beginning to look much better for people in the bigger world.
We are very grateful to our Hur Herald readers around America and here at
home, although we deny responsibility for the decline of western civilization.
The Herald seeks to report the happenings of the county, both good and bad, and to honor those stalwart citizens who have given us our place on the earth.
We do not acccept responsibility for the anger expressed by individuals for the publishing of names from magistrate and court reports, using an old statement by long-gone Roane County publisher Henry Woodyard - "We didn't do it, we just report it."
We are always delighted to hear your comments.
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