HERALD'S EARLY DAYS - "A Treasure Trove Of Words And Images"



"A treasure trove of words and images." - Charleston Daily Mail

"A notion that it is very important that we laugh at ourselves." - Parkersburg News

"It is highly sophisticated story-telling and publishing in the best Mark Twain tradition." - Norman Julian, Columnist

"The PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, the national journal...would be missing even juicer stuff if it doesn't pick up on Bob Weaver's pickings." - Morgantown Dominion Post

"A flashback to early America writing..." - Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"In the long gone tradition of early American publishing," - Charleston Gazette

"Honoring original people, ancient souls." - Huntington Herald Dispatch

"Longtime steadfastness and the humane sensibility you brought to your work." - Tony Russell


The Charleston Daily Mail - July 7, 1999

There are no major highways running through Calhoun County. In fact, there is not even a single stoplight.

There's no fast food, either, unless you count the wildlife.

But this sparsely populated, out-of-the-way county now has a solid and colorful presence on the Web, thanks to Bob Weaver, editor of The Hur Herald.

Weaver, a former undertaker and addiction counselor, has loaded the new online version of his free newspaper, which he started four years ago "for fun," with a treasure trove of words and images. There is much, much more than the news here.

Articles and essays by Weaver, culled from previous editions of the paper and often accompanied by historic photos, show an obvious love for the local citizens, the hills, the way of life.

In the introduction to the site, Weaver talks of the way "Calhouners" have had a tough time economically.

"They are strong survivors and in many ways cling to values that some consider backward, but there is a strong sense of being connected to the earth and to each other," he writes.

Weaver, who says he was drawn to journalism in high school, but got sidetracked by his other professions, now is active in a local writer's group. He concentrates on human interest stories, with lots of humor, as is evidenced by such articles as "Hur's Finest: The Outhouse Tour."

In one article Weaver tells of his own band of "Rocket Boys," and how disaster was narrowly averted when he and his friends used a dozen drilled-out shotgun shells instead of store-bought engines to send their rocket soaring out of sight.

Then there's a detailed account of a 1947 UFO sighting, with more accounts of sightings from the 1950s promised. Weaver also confesses his role in a hoax perpetrated during the time of the Braxton County Monster scare: "With acting charisma from old B movies at Cook's Drive-in, I sauntered across the road, dragging my foot -- the monster form illuminated by the flickering flames and the car headlights."

Perhaps understandably for a former undertaker, even the obituaries are finely crafted, revealing much about the departed in small moments, lovingly recounted.

Calhoun County and all West Virginians should be proud of Bob Weaver's efforts. I'm sure he would have made the late Jim Comstock, former editor of the West Virginia Hillbilly, proud.