98-year-old Ruby Husk Craddock returned to the remote Calhoun hollow
where she was born, saying "The woods took over," as she looked
at the remote site where her three-room house once stood (right)

By Bob Weaver 2009

Ruby Husk Craddock of Grantsville will be 98 Saturday.

The Hur native had a wish fulfilled this week, returning to the place of her early childhood in a deep, narrow hollow once located on the expansive holdings of Calhoun's Hardman family.

Ruby had not been to the place of her roots for about 50 years.

Keeping a promise, we were privileged to "take her home" in a four-wheel drive vehicle.

"It looked like little I remember, the woods took over," Ruby said, the tiny house long gone with only part of a root cellar still standing.

She recalled life with her family before she married Howard Craddock in 1931, saying "We lived good out of the gardens, and raised beef, chickens and pork, although we didn't have money."

Ruby and her four siblings "picked a lot of berries, canned vegetables and cured meat. I remember hoeing, hoeing, hoeing, and then hoeing some more."

"You could hear the wildcats screaming on the hillside," she said.

The area was once cleared for pasture, like most of
Calhoun County in the early part of the last century,
now the forest has crept back, creating a wilderness

All that's left to mark the Husk's
tiny house is part of a fruit cellar

Her parents, Everly and Belle Adams Husk raised their family in the tiny three-room house, working initially for George Washington Hardman (1843-1929) and later his son, Allie Hardman (1868-1957).

"We never had any of the modern conveniences like running water, gas heat or electric," said Ruby, heating and cooking with wood and using kerosene lights.

They did manage to purchase a telephone and string a grapevine wire through the woods to connect them to the Hur Telephone Company.

Mother Belle spent part of her evening talking to her neighbors from her remote woods home.

Everly labored as a farmhand on the Hardman's wide holdings, which mostly included livestock production, while Belle worked in the Hardman's estate house as a cook and housekeeper.

Everly practiced a mountain tradition, taking his shoes off in the Spring and going barefoot during the warm months.

In later years, Everly and Belle moved to Washington County, Ohio, buying a farm.

"When I was in my teens in the 1920s, I also started working at the Hardman house as a cook. Every other Saturday night I would get time-off to go home for a day," Ruby said, "I remember old George Hardman before his death in 1929."

George, a farmer, stockman, and politician, came to Barnes Run just after the Civil War and built a large manor house, which still stands.

During Ruby's 70 year marriage to Howard Craddock, she said "Times were sometimes hard, but we sold eggs and cream to get some money. We worked hard."

"Howard worked for an oil and gas company some, but when the Great Depression came, he was denied the right to work on WPA because a neighbor told them he made too much money," Ruby continued.

"Back then we bought or raised our own tobacco to smoke," she said, Ruby still puffing on a cigarette at age 98.

Ruby concluded by saying "My goal now is to have those double zeros on my age."

Ruby's grandparents, Absolom and Eliza J.
West Husk, who "have lots of Indian blood"

Ruby's grandparents on mother's side, Ulysses Grant
and Harriet Slider Adams. who resided on Rowels Run,
blood linage back to John Adams and European royalty

Left to right: Oly Husk, Absolom Husk, and
Ruby's dad, John "Barefoot Man" Everly Husk

BORN IN THE DEEP WOODS NEAR HUR - Ruby Husk Craddock Celebrates 94 Years


(Ruby Husk Craddock made it to 100 before passing away)