FAMILY RETURNS TO PAULCER MCCUNES CAVE - Remote Hollow, Thick Brush, Calhoun Backwoods


Family returns to visit backwoods cave (L-R) Jimmie Mackey,
Erin Rader, Peter Rader and Tristin Rader near Paulcer's Knob

Cave was home to McCune, hiding from those
who sought to capture him, during Civil War

By Bob Weaver 2006

Descendants of Paulcer McCune returned to the hills of Calhoun to visit Paulcer's Cave, deep in a narrow, wooded hollow off Rowel's Run at the foot of Paucler's Knob, one of the county's highest knolls on "the Husk."

Erin Rader and her sons Peter and Tristin, and her father, 78-year-old Jimmie Mackey, came from Lorrain OH to re-connect with their roots, after earlier visits in the 60s and 70s.

Paulcer was the grandson of one of Calhoun's most historical figures, Peter McCune, who fought in the Revolutionary War and rubbed elbows with Daniel Boone, then coming to Calhoun to live out his days in 1815.

Paulcer, a Confederate soldier, went AWOL and returned to the Village of Hur with Rebel soldiers chasing him. He fled from his house in Buckhorn Hollow, over the Husk Ridge to hide himself in a secluded cave for nearly a year, avoiding capture.

Paulcer's brothers were in the same 19th Virginia cavalry. John H. was killed during the war, but Daniel and Timothy returned to Calhoun.

Lon Husk place at bottom of Paulcer's Knob, a short distance
from cave. Husk's two-story outhouse, still standing

While in hiding, he did leatherwork, mostly making shoes.

"Grandpa told us that Paulcer's children would come near the cave to get the shoes their father made and repaired to take home to distribute and sell as a way of assisting the family financially during the war," said Rader.

Rader says her grandfather reported that Paulcer accidentally shot a civilian, something to do with a horse, and ran so as not to be shot before he had the chance to clear his name. He was either jailed before he ran or caught right away and was incarcerated in the town of Elizabeth.

"Grandpa laughed when telling how Paulcer dug his way out of the Elizabeth jail with a tin cup and spoon. He was proud of that, it seemed," said Rader. The Herald's account of McCune's AWOL story gave no explanation for his hastened return to Hur.

Paulcer likely received a pardon, but it is unclear if he had been individually vindicated or if it was the blanket pardon that Lincoln gave all rebel soldiers.

Rader goes back to Paulcer's son, Gilbert "Leadie" McCune and his son, Melvin Lee McCune, her grandfather, who brought her to the cave in the mid-1960s.

"Grandfather Melvin loved his West Virginia roots, but my grandmother did not. She often told me tales of her youth, but never returned to the state after leaving in the early 1940s. It represented a very hard life and not-so-good memories for her," Rader said.

It takes climbing and creeping through narrow hollow
to get through the thick brush near Paulcer's Cave, the
large overhang has collapsed. Much of Calhoun, like this
area between "the Husk" and Rowel's Run, sees few visitors

The family would come to the Cremo Homecoming with Melvin in the 1970s. "He knew everyone and it meant so much to him to see and talk to them. We visited the McCune Cemetery high on the hill (Husk Ridge) on several occasions and Grandpa would take flowers and clean off the headstones and footstones. He pointed with tears in his eyes to how the funeral procession proceeded there for services many years ago," Rader said.

Melvin had seven children, six daughters and a son, with wife Nellie McGlothlin, living in Cremo before moving to Ohio. Both are deceased. They have 25 grandchilden in the greater Akron area.