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 inhabited the remote Husk Ridge between Hur and Richardson during much of the last century.

The Husks, part of about fifty families who once dwelt there were a hardy bunch, 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 soup was made and snow birds were captured a day at a time to feed the family.

Today the seven-mile ridge is uninhabited, peacefully reminding us of pioneer spirits like Goldie. In her memory, we reprint the road trip we made over her ground in 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 anatomy..."

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 resident Hur.

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. At the far end of the ridge is the former site of the Pine Grove School, which served the now vanished Village of Richardson.

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.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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