|By Bob Weaver 2003|
It is seldom they return to be buried on their home ground - out the Husk
This week was my Christmas vigil out the Husk, igniting the same remembrances
that surface year after year. The bluish-tinted woods were covered by a light snow,
the road in better shape than usual.
Most noticeable is they've all left, gone, those with their roots on the Husk, about fifty
families more or less.
A few years after their exodus to Ohio and other places, they would call up Stump
Funeral Home to be brought back and buried in one of the seven or eight
cemeteries on the backwoods ridge, one of Calhoun's less populated stretches
between Hur and Richardson.
Every now and then, a old soul returns to rest near their origins. A few days ago it
was Evelyn Carpenter Husk, whose parents were Commodore and Eula Tanner
Carpenter, who lived out the Coon Ridge, first settled in the 1800s by Harrison
Evelyn's husband Steve spoke tearfully of the old days and hard times, surrounded
by his children who have always lived in another land.
(Steve has since passed since this article was written)
It was on this ridge you could find "Snuff Box Glory," known by most as Tuttle Hill, where teachers and students
rubbed snuff all day long, all having convenient spittoons next to their desks. It is the most recalled school, which also doubled as a house of worship
The burial place of Paulcer McCune, who went AWOL from a Civil War battle to
return to his family down on Buckhorn, but then hid in a cave near the ridge's
highest peak, now named for him.
Near the Hur end of the Husk was another one-room school which burned to the ground in
1939. It was here the famous election day "Buckhorn Riot" broke-out in 1928. The
third school was Pine Grove, hanging on a steep road bank before the drop to
Richardson. It closed about 1950.
Down the side paths you could once spot "alters of worship," lean-twos covered by
brush, or remnants of rustic shingled log cabins, where families came for Christian
revival. There is the short-lived Southern Baptist Church, the only "real" church
house built on the ridge, still standing.
While hunting you can still climb over rock fences, built to protect crops and keep in
pasture animals, no money for barbed wire.
The Fritz house, a home to German immigrants, where on the coldest of days a
couple froze to death in the 40s trying get home from Ohio. Other falling down
houses, monuments to the past, can be found in the narrow hollers, not fit to raise
a garden or graze a cow.
Halfway around the ridge is the finest persimmon tree that ever grew to maturity,
frequented by the local bear that wallow the grass to a nubbin to sample the
Impressively they did survive, those hardy Husk Ridge families, sometimes eating weed soup and eating snow
birds to survive the winter.
It is their memory to which I clutch, their names and struggles not to be forgotten,
in an otherwise unremarkable backwoods place filled with turkey and deer.