|By Bob Weaver 2001|
Goldie Funk Husk, wife of Ellis, was laid to rest at the Wright
Cemetery near Cremo
yesterday. At 87, we believe she was the last of the Husk's who once
remote Husk Ridge between Hur and Richardson during much of the last
The Husks, part of about fifty families who once dwelt there were a
fiercely independent and strong survivors. They tilled upon hillsides
that most would
consider unsuitable for farming, plowing rows for lack of flat land.
It was rocky, too.
By hand they moved a million stones from the soil to grow food,
creating rock walls
which exist yet today.
Mary Husk Bryner once told me of a crop failure so desperate in the
early 1900's, she
and her family tied selected weeds to dry in the barn from which weed
made and snow birds were captured a day at a time to feed the
Today the seven-mile ridge is uninhabited, peacefully reminding us of
like Goldie. In her memory, we reprint the road trip we made over her
October, 1999 and have made a hundred times since:
AUTUMN OUT THE HUSK (11/10/99) And Down At Cremo
It is a wonderful thing to step from the door and behold the beauty of
a Calhoun autumn, and within a few minutes
drive, enjoy the countryside and it's people.
Our wonderful Calhoun writer and sometimes poet, Jeanne Wilson wrote:
"Overhead blue so close, had it not been
for the hills, I would have had to hold it up, and trees drenched in
color. It was too much for eyes so I drank it down
in great gulping swallows where it lodged in some uncharted area of my
Right in the Weaver's yard in east Hur, the great oaks and green pines
blend, with a view of Rattlesnake Knob,
now obscured by the high growing trees. The property divided by Pine
Creek Road, traveled so few times a day,
that we still turn our heads to see who is going by. It is the
business suite of The Hur Herald and the site for
boisterous political battles between Hurites who seek to rise to the
top in the annual Hur elections, and where
Louie Slider and Rick Fitzwater have begged on their knees for votes,
right in the middle of the road.
Louie always doing it better, draped in his American flag, wearing his
Uncle Sam hat, eating apple pie and leaning
against his old Chevy. He puts them to tears, the voters, singing
hymns and ditties, after which Fitzwater and
Weaver sulk back into their houses with the wisdom of the ages tucked,
never to be appreciated, and certainly not
to be elected.
The Village of Hur is now a spot on the map, mostly marked by a
cemetery and church, reminders of the steady
folks who eked a living against the steep hillsides. The Mt. Olive
United Methodist Church (originally Methodist
Protestant) is a link to the earlier days, marking it's 120th
anniversary this year.
The McCoys, the Sturms, and the Reynolds, stalwart storekeepers and
citizens in the village are gone, and the last
holdout, the fiercely independent and feisty, Scottie McCoy died in
1996, a character to be missed.
The hovering of local folks to hear the gospel songs at the Cremo
Community Church down on Rowels, not far
from the old post office, store and Knights of Pythias lodge building,
which still stands. The village, once called
Donze, was held together by the Duskey family, before it took the name
of a Cremo cigar.
Dozens of lower Rowel folks return each year to the church's
homecoming, organized by Boyd Duskey, a
descendent of well-known Civil War rebel, Daniel Duskey, and Lula
Hughes, widow of Orville, who sends chills up
your spine with her testimony for the Lord, and Bubba Brown, who
organizes wiener roasts and hay rides and the
like throughout the year.
This night there was ample singing with Alva Starcher's daughter,
Brenda, and her husband, Dave Cole, coming all
the way from Ohio, the faithful Leonard Hardway and his sister,
Grantsville Police Chief, Ed Eisley, and Bubba's
group, the Crossroads.
Not far down the creek is the old Cedar Grove Church, long closed, but
opened up once a year for those who like
to worship around the antiquated wood stove, to sing and worship by
the flickering light of oil lamps, the event
made possible by Boyd Duskey.
A Cremo landmark, now gone, is Willard Poling's store, from which he
delivered goods up and down the lower West
Fork by horse and wagon, the counter so busy on Saturday you would
have to line up for your goods. Nearby is the
steepest of primitive roads, now rocked, over Connolly Hill to the
Village of Richardson, the most developed place
of commerce this last century, best known for the Richardson Dam and
Drs. Commodore and Randall Connolly,
father and son physicians, who left the village in 1924.
At Cremo, Rowels Run empties into the lower West Fork of the Little
Kanawha, down creek is Goosenest Hill and
Duskey Falls, known to be the home of Confederate Daniel Duskey, whose
social position was diminished after the
war, his name no longer mentioned in census, voter records or written
history, he being a dastardly Rebel. It was
here that the U.S. government spent millions of dollars, starting
about 1930, studying the building a flood control
dam, never to be built.
This autumn trip had to include Husk, a ridge top running between Hur
and Richardson, about six miles long, once
inhabited by 50 families. They are all gone now, not one permanent
resident. Besides dozens of Husks, Coons,
Tuttles, Goughs, and Carpenters, a German immigrant named Godfrey
Fritz built a house on the ridge about 1875,
and with his wife, Bertha Wallbrown Fritz, carved a living as a
farmer, although he sought work in the Richardson
oil and gas field. Godfrey and his wife struggled "with the English,"
right up to their passing in the 1940's. Fritz's
has one school teaching daughter, Lizzie Reynolds, whose duties
carried her across the hills on saddle horse. Her
son, Eugene, became a teacher, principal and farmer, a prominent
The Fritz house still stands, a pastoral setting beside a pond, with
cattle grazing nearby. The place, however, may
best be remembered because one of the Carpenter girls froze to death
during a blizzard with her husband from
Ohio, after World War II.
Near the Fritz farm is Paulcer's Knob, named after Paulcer McCune, a
Civil War vet from Hur who hid in a cave
after he went AWOL from the rebel army. They came after Paulcer a
couple times, but he eluded them, sticking
close to the cave, making leather shoes for nearly a year. Paulcer is
buried in a small cemetery on the ridge. There
are at least six other family cemeteries on the ridge, wherein repose
the early families.
And we could not forget "Snuff Box Glory," the early school and church
house combination, wherein adults and
children practiced their chewin' and rubbin', on all occasions.
the far end of the ridge is the former site of the Pine Grove School,
which served the now vanished Village of
It was an evening of rapture, not unlike a hundred others. Each one is
different, but much the same. Therein lies
the beauty of the quiet life around Hur.