Hufford descendant in Civilian Conservation Corps during Great Depression

Keith Sherman Hufford was born August 23, 1914, in Harrison Co., West Virginia, son of Arious VanBuren “Boo” HUFFORD and Emaline BRITTON.  (Arious was of Solomon Preston, of Solomon, of Peter, of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716 Schwaigern.)  The Great Depression hit the people of Harrison County extremely hard.

When he was 18 years old, he went into the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government program intended to deal with the massive unemployment of the young people surviving the economic disasters of those times.

Here are Keith’s words, after five years in the Corps, when he was 23:

In May, 1933, I was one of the many jobless disillusioned young men who trooped wearily and despondently into a CCC reconditioning camp, not knowing, and not particularly caring, about the future.

We, at least an overwhelming majority of us, were of a generation founded on nothing more than national economic instability, want, and hunger; with the inevitable result: Continuance of our education was impossible as well as a development of our natural talents, granting we possessed any, inasmuch as it became our duty to search for jobs–and none were available.

You must suffer the experience of tramping hot, smelly pavements day to day, going from one employment bureau to another, with the perpetual answer dinning in your ears until it becomes a satanic chorus of no!–No!–NO!!, let the hunger gnaw at your vitals until the head spins like a top and all the world becomes nothing but a whirling kaleidoscope of faces, places, streets, buildings, the sun simply a huge black disk, and some “Good Samaritan” has you thrown into the local jail for drunkenness and vagrancy. God forbid, but I repeat you must go through the actual experience before you can really understand the hopeless state of mind most of the prospective members of the CCC were in when we put on our “G.I.” clothing and tramped half-heartedly into the forests and fields to plant and cut trees, build dams, lime kilns, fire breaks and trails, control insect pests, tree diseases, and risk our lives on a current of wind while protecting the forests from the most efficient of destructive forces–Fire.

But our don’t-care-what-happens attitude didn’t last long. A great deal of credit must be given to the boys for their ability to adjust themselves to an entirely new environment, and for the enthusiasm and zest with which they attacked a new project, anxious to get it completed and note the results, and in the meantime, secure in their knowledge the folks “back home” had a small, but helpful income.

The educational system was not in effect during what I choose to call the “infancy” of the CCC. We worked the proper number of hours and after that it was up to us to entertain ourselves in any manner deemed practicable and safe by the Commanding Officer. Before long, we were having inter-camp musical entertainments, boxing bouts, impromptu spelling bees, and quite often, interesting plays and sketches. I recall one such meeting in a camp at the foot of Mr. Lassen, Cal., where we were swamped with 490 visitors in one single night.

As our organization overcame it’s “growing pains,” and more efficient methods were adopted for the benefit of the camps and personnel, a uniform program of education was put into effect. Young men who had of a necessity terminated their educational pursuits were in a position to take them up again, and illiterates were encouraged to learn the three “R’s.” Recognized correspondence schools cooperated with us by making special rates, local high schools and civic bodies offered their support, job training was given by the technical service, and even those of us who had a knowledge of some particular subject were enlisted to teach others who were interested, all we knew. It was loads of fun for everybody. A very close friend of mine, who, by saving every penny he could scrape together for four years, is now in his third year at Ohio State University, and well on his way to success.

As for me, I made my own bunk in various camps over the United States for five years. I was fortunate in obtaining a good job but finally came home. And now, I often become homesick for the noise and clamor of the mess hall were 150 ravenous boys troop in three times a day, the twang of guitars as a soft-voiced enrollee sings a plaintive mountain melody on the steps of the barrack in the soft, summer twilight, the smell of clean steaming bodies and the stinging crack of a turkish towel in the bathhouse after the day’s work is done. All of these things, and many more, I long for, but I must make way for some other young fellow who needs a bracer-upper for his moral and physical self and–his soul.

I still have not attained my goal but I am making my own way and that is sufficient for the present. What is probably more important is the fact that I am not the undernourished, furtive-eyed, scared kid that went into Fort Knox over five years ago. Instead, my eyes are clear and my mind is receptive to whatever the future has in store. In short, the CCC has equipped me with the weapons necessary to cope with the innumerable problems that are bound to obstruct my path through life and that must be surmounted before success can be attained.

Keith Hufford
Former CCC Enrollee
from Harrison County

After Keith wrote the above, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  He became an accountant and worked for Standard Advertising Corporation for 30 years.  Keith died in September 2003, in Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia.

PAGE NOTE: Keith Hufford’s line is not in the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. However, the brother of Keith’s two-greats-grandfather (Peter Hufford) is in the book at page 200.

The Hufford Family in Doddridge County, WV

As I was working to solve the puzzle of Peter Hufford (of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716), it seems that the folks in the area where he lived his last years already knew how he connected to the Huffords whom I work.

John M. DeBrular, Suzanne Hadley, and Marla Jones wrote “The History of the Greenwood Community, 1798-1980.”  Here are their words:

The Hufford Family in Doddridge County, WV

During the twentieth century, one of the well-known families in Greenwood was that of Theodore and Lilly (Ellifritt) Hufford.   [Note from AMB: Theodore was of William, of Peter, of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716.]

Theodore’s parents, William and Mary (Cottrill) Hufford, were married in Harrison County, WV, in 1871. They brought their family to Doddridge County from Lost Creek, in Harrison County. William, born in 1847, was the son of Peter Hufford and Mary Ann (last name unknown). The Huffords were German immigrants who came to America (Pennsylvania) in 1729; the family name in Germany was “Hoffart”; after the family immigrated, the name evolved to “Huffert” and eventually to “Hufford.”

Mary Cottrill was the daughter of Calvin Cottrill and Lucinda (last name unknown), both believed to have been born in Virginia ca. 1820. Mary was born in 1850 in Muskinguum County, Ohio.

It is unclear precisely when or why the William Huffords moved from Harrison County to Doddridge County. The 1880 census recorded the family still living in Harrison County, and son Holly – born in 1877 – apparently was the last child born in that county. Lena (may have been “Tena”) – born in 1884 – apparently was the first child born in Doddridge County. (Notably, Tena was the only girl born to William and Mary; she lived to be just over one year old, dying in 1885.) The sons born to William and Mary were:

  • Theodore (born 1872 in Harrison County)
  • Worthington George (born 1873 in Harrison County)
  • Enoch Bert (born 1875 in Harrison County; died 1903 in Doddridge County)
  • William Hatfield (“Hat”; born 1876 in Harrison County; married Margaret Caroline Dotson; died 1938)
  • Holly W. (born 1877 in Harrison County; died 1914 at Greenwood)
  • Arthur C. (born 1886 in Doddridge County)
  • Clyde (born 1888 in Doddridge County; married Augusta Cottrill)
  • Harley C. (born 1905 in Doddridge County; died 1921 in Doddridge County).

Several of the sons continued to live with their parents until they (the sons) were well into their adult years. Thus, according to the 1900 census, Theodore (age 27), Worthington (age 26), Enoch (age 25), William (age 24), and Hollie (age 22) were still living at home, along with their junior brothers Arthur and Clyde. Even as late as 1910, Worthington and Holly (aged 36 and 33, respectively) were still living with their parents, as were Arthur and Clyde. On both of these occasions, the census recorded the family home as located in the Central District of Doddridge County.

In Harrison County, William Hufford appeared in the 1850 census was a “laborer,” but in Doddridge County, he was a farmer. The first deed recorded to William Hufford was made August 29, 1891. By this deed, Franklin Maxwell and Frances June Maxwell sold to William Hufford a tract of land at the “Cabin Lick fork of Cabin Run, a branch of the North fork of the Hughes River in Doddridge County.” The tract comprised 139 acres; the purchase price was $695.00, which was paid in cash.

William Hufford apparently was careful with his money. In 1918, he was among many West Virginia residents whose credit ratings were recorded in the “Credit Experience Guide.” William Hufford, Greenwood, was rated “P,” meaning “prompt pay” and “C,” meaning cash customer. (The Credit Experience Guide was published by the Merchants Mercantile Agency of Pittsburgh, PA. This copy is among the holdings of the Doddridge County Museum at West Union, WV.)

Mary (Cottrill) Hufford died at Greenwood on February 11, 1915. In 1916, William Hufford married his second wife, Mary Catherine Bee. William died in 1922, and is buried in Duckworth Cemetery, in a plot also containing his first wife and several of their children.

In 1900, Theodore Hufford, aged 28, married Lilly Maud Ellifritt, aged 22, eldest daughter of Winfield Scott and Martha (Edwards) Ellifritt. The Ellifritts were another of the leading families of Greenwood. At one point, believed to be around 1920, Theodore and Lilly kept a hotel at Central Station. An infamous event — a train robbery — occurred at Central Station while the Huffords lived there. It was the first train robbery in the U.S. over $1 million. The story is told that two of the Hufford children played an interesting role: they carried water to the robbers (who were awaiting the train along the track), for which the children were given a quarter.

At another juncture, Theodore had a service station at Wilsonburg, in Harrison County. During the period he operated the filling station, Theodore was a witness at the murder trial of “the Butcher of Quiet Dell,” a local man who was accused and ultimately convicted of luring several women into marriage and then murder. The accused had stopped to gas up at Theodore’s station; hence the need for Theodore’s testimony. Subsequently, Theodore and Lilly lived in Greenwood, where Theodore kept a blacksmith shop, and for 25 years, he worked for Hope Gas Company. As a result of an occupational accident at the gas company, Theodore was crippled, and he walked with a cane during the latter part of his life.

In Greenwood, Theodore and Lilly first lived in the “big house” built by Winfield and Martha Ellifritt. However, around 1946-47, this house burned to the ground, possibly due to an electrical problem. The burning of this house — with all the occupants’ possessions — is still vivid in the minds of those who witnessed it. The fire started at night; a passing trucker saw the flames and came running to give the alarm, but the house was a total loss, despite the best efforts of fire departments from as far away as Pennsboro. After the fire, for a time, the family lived in the small shed where Theodore kept his tools. Meanwhile, a new home was built — the small concrete block bungalow that still stands along Route 50 in “downtown” Greenwood.

Theodore and Lilly Hufford had five children, Harry Glenn (born 1901 in West Union, WV; died 1989 in Ravenswood), Elmer, Edith, Elsie (died in 1902, when less than one month old), and Georgia (born 1903). Georgia died unmarried at age 32, in Harrison County. Her cause of death was listed as “paralysis,” which may have been associated with polio. Elmer married and had two sons, Ron and Jim, the former of whom lives in Harrison County. Elmer was an expert carpenter and worked for the Clarksburg Casket Company. He was known to his friends as “Red Hufford.”

Edith Hufford married Pete Lewis, and from this union, a boy was born. Pete died ca. 1943, and Edith went to work as a B & O telegraph operator to support her family. Her son, Tom, was sent to live with his grandparents, Theodore and Lilly, at Greenwood, and Edith lived there as well until she remarried. Her second husband was French Wilson. Today, Grandson Tom and his wife Mae have on display in their home a fine collection of Theodore’s tools and Lilly’s kitchen implements.

Harry Hufford married Hazel Archer (born 1900 in Jackson County, died 1985) in 1921. The family lived for several years in Fairmont, but the majority of their years were spent in Grafton, where Harry became Chief Dispatcher for the B & O Railroad. A tribute to him was published by railroad colleague and noted author, Brooks Pepper, in the West Virginia Hillbilly (December 20, 1969, and subsequently, in the appendix to the West Virginia Encyclopedia). Excerpts from this tribute follow:

Mr. Hufford went to work for the B&O as a station agent at Central, in Doddridge County, when very young. He was soon on his way ahead, for in about two years, or a little longer, perhaps, he went on to the division office at Grafton where he became a clerk to the chief train dispatcher. And from this to dispatcher, then on to chief dispatcher …

as time went on and I worked with him more the decisions were mine to make. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. But whatever the situation, and in the event things did go sour, Mr. Hufford always stood firmly behind the dispatcher, often assuming the blame for things that certainly could not have been his. But he was that way. Always considerate, helpful, and often encouraging to any one whom he thought deserving …

He never interfered in the work of the dispatchers and with the experience most of us had, we rarely called upon him for help in our work. But it was always there, if needed, and willingly given.

When his time came to retire, I regretted seeing him leave. The afternoon of his last day, he came to my office to shake my hand and say goodbye. I am afraid I was just a little emotional. All of the pleasant things that had taken place flashed through my mind. How patient he had been. How, without harsh criticism, he had directed all of us when direction was needed. And then I thought of the very close relationship that had been ours for the last ten years just now coming to a close ….

The division officials gave an excellent testimonial dinner to honor “Slim” Hufford, but I didn’t get to attend the affair. This I regretted. But I had such memories of this kindly man, it wasn’t necessary for me to show up where so many people honored him.

I honor him here now and this is my testimony to a long and close friendship.

Eight children were born to Harry and Hazel Hufford: Geraldine (Mrs. Robert Graham – born in 1922; died in Topeka, KS, in 2000; Christina (Mrs. Benjamin Wilson – born in 1923; died in Nashville, TN, in 1974; Harry Jr. (born 1924; died at age 6, in Grafton, WV); Mary Lou (Mrs. Robert Thompson, of Wheeling, WV; born 1927); Abby (Mrs. Carl Ambro – born 1928; died in Ravenswood, WV, in 1992); Helen (Mrs. Charles Bartlett, born in 1931; died in Winchester, TN, in 2003); Frank (born 1934; married Judy Coughlin; they reside in Lilburn, GA); Sandi (Mrs. Wayne Phillips, of Princeton, NJ; born 1942).

The Hufford grandchildren frequently spent their summers with Theodore and Lilly at Greenwood. One grandchild recalled of Lilly that she was “easy going,” and “a wonderful cook,” with “never a bad word to say about anyone.” She listened to the radio a great deal — Arthur Godfrey was one of her special favorites. As for Theodore, he was said to be “very stern” — “when he said ‘no,’ that meant ‘no.’”

Grandfather Theodore died in 1957; Grandmother Lilly lived on alone until 1964. During her later years, she walked with two crutches, after breaking her hip. She kept a diary in a small brown-back school notebook, noting the weather, itemizing her expenditures, and recording notable events such as the assassination of President John Kennedy and visits from her grandchildren. Lilly and Theodore Hufford now rest in the Greenwood Cemetery.

PAGE NOTE: Peter Hufford’s older brother Christian Hufford III is at page 200 of 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. Peter and his descendants would be inserted after Christian III.

Peter Hufford’s grandson Charles

Here’s a mug-book bio for Charles A. Hufford (1859), son of Hiram, son of Peter, son of Christian II, son of Christiain b. 1716 in Schwaigern.

From HISTORY OF BUTLER COUNTY, KANSAS, by V. P. Mooney; published in 1916; at page 831:

Charles A. Hufford is a Butler county pioneer and a prominent farmer and stockman of Union township.  Mr. Hufford was born in Harrison county, Virginia, (now West Virginia) in July 1859, and is a son of Hiram and Mary Hufford, natives of Pennsylvania.  He was one of a family of four children, as follows: Charles A., the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Ella Ensley, Augusta, Kans.; Hugh, Grand Junction, Mrs. Maude Burns, El Reno, Okla.  The Hufford family came to Butler county, Kansas, in the fall of 1876, and settled on a claim in Clay township.  Their first home there was a dugout, which was a common type of habitation on the claims in the early days.  Augusta was their trading town and after coming here the father began farming in a small way, and after passing the first few years of adversity, became a well-to-do farmer and stockman.  He died May 12, 1915, and his widow now resides in Oklahoma.

Charles A. Hufford is a successful farmer and stockman and has made Butler county his home since coming here with his parents in 1876.  Mr. Hufford was married in 1881, to Miss Ada Shervinton, a daughter of William and Emma Shervinton, natives of Canada, and of English descent.  Mrs. Hufford is one of the following children, born to her parents: Mrs. Anna Spring, Ventura, Cal.; Ada, wife of Charles A. Hufford, the subject of this sketch; Watson, resides in Oklahoma; Robert, Salina, Kans.; Mrs. Lena Bailey, resides in Oklahoma; Mrs. Cora Blankenbaker, Latham, Kans.; Felix, resides in Idaho; Mrs. Ella Mannering, Elkville, Ill.; and Nola, Atlanta, Kans.

The Shervinton family came to Butler county, Kansas, in 1876, and were among the early settlers of Clay township, Butler county, where the father homesteaded 160 acres of land.  He was an industrious and thrifty man and made a good home for his family in the new country, and became a well-to-do farmer and stockman. He died in October, 1912, and his widow now resides on the old homestead. Mr. Shervinton was something of a successful hunter in the early days and killed a great many deer and antelope, and hundreds of prairie chickens and other small game.  Mr. and Mrs. Hufford have seen a great many bands of Indians, who frequently strolled over the plains in early days.

To Mr. and Mrs. Hufford have been born the following children: Walter, Latham, Kans.; Harry, Latham, Kans.; Loren, Clearwater, Kans.; Grace, Glenn, and Roy, all residing at home.  The Hufford family is well and favorably known and Mr. Hufford is one of the progressive and substantial citizens of Union township.

PAGE NOTE: Peter Hufford’s older brother Christian Hufford III is at page 200 of 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. Peter and his descendants would be inserted after Christian III.

Peter of Washington Co., PA, and West Virginia

The Hufford descendants of Doddridge Co.,West Virginia, have been my puzzle for the last many days.  They descend from Peter Hufford, son of Christian II, and grandson of the immigrant Christian (b. 1716).

I’ll share my puzzling here.  If you are able to correct, add to, or offer evaluation, I’d love to hear from you:

Peter’s father, Christian II, is one of the immigrant Christian’s 17 children who got short shrift in the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY.  Only one of Christian II’s nine children made it into the book: Christian III (at page 200).

Christian II began his family in Frederick Co., Maryland; he was there for the 1790 census.  By 1800, Christian II was in West Bethlehem township, Washington Co., Pennsylvania, and he remained in Washington Co., PA, until his death in 1826.

According to the 1800 census, other than Christian II, there were four males in his household.  One was under 10; one was between 10 and 15; two were between 16 and 25.  We know of three sons: David, Christian III, and Peter.  David was born in about 1776 and Christian was born in 1780; they were the two between 16 and 25 in 1800.  That means that Peter was under 15 in 1800.  Better researchers than I have concluded that Peter was born in about 1788.

Peter’s first marriage was in 1811, to Catherine MYERS.  Peter farmed in Washington Co., PA.  In July 1829, Peter had (at least) five children and a wife who was six-months pregnant.  Their youngest child was little George, only two years old.  George died; how is not known, but the death of any child causes enormous family grief and fall out.  Sometimes that fallout includes the breakup of a marriage.

In 1830, Peter was in Washington Co., PA, with wife Catherine.  He reported his age as between 40 and 49, meaning born between 1780 and 1790.  The woman of the household was between 30 and 39, an approximate fit for his wife Catherine who was born in 1787 and would have been 43.  The children were as follow:

  • two males under 5 (son John was 1; son Jeremiah was 5)
  • one male from 5 to 9
  • one female under 5
  • one female from 5 to 9
  • one female from 15 to 19 (dau. Eliza b. 1814, was 16)

Peter had two sons who would have fit into that 5 to 9 slot: Thomas, b. abt 1821, and Rollin, b. abt 1823.  However, the census listed only one male in that age range.  And, who were the two females under 10?

In 1834, Peter’s wife Catherine divorced him.  After the divorce, she had custody of their children.

In 1840, Peter Hufford was in Washington Co., PA, for the census.  He was between 50 and 59.  The household had two boys under 5 and two girls between 5 and 9.  The woman of the house was between 40 and 49.  Peter’s youngest child by his first wife was a son born in 1829; in other words, this was Peter’s second family.  It is possible (likely even) that the woman who was Peter’s wife in 1840 had herself been married previously; the older children in the household may be from her previous marriage.

That 1840 census is the last record I’ve found for Peter.

There had been some confusion with the Huffords of Luzerne Co., PA, because there was another Peter Hufford living there in 1850.  However, it’s a completely different person.  The Luzerne Co. 1850 Peter Hufford is in Luzerne Co. in 1840, as “Peter Huffart,” while our Peter Hufford is in Washington Co. in 1940.  So far as I can tell, the Peter Huffart/Hufford of Luzerne Co. has no relationship to the Huffords who descend from Christian b. 1716.

So, the last record I have found for our Peter Hufford is the 1840 census.

But Peter shows up in Doddridge Co., WV, named on marriage records for his children.

Peter and his second wife (Mary Ann) had at least five children:

  • Hiram H. Hufford, b. 11-Apr-1836, d. 12-May-1915 in Cowley Co., Kansas; m. Mary L. MORGAN.  (Hiram’s cemetery information lists his parents as Peter and Mary Hufford.)
  • Solomon Hufford, b. 9-Dec-1838, d. 14-Aug-1893 in Doddridge Co., WV; m. Eliza Nicklin GARRISON.  (Solomon’s marriage record named his parents as Peter and Mary A. Hufford, and Solomon named a son after his brother Hiram.)
  • Isabel Florence Hufford, b. 1-Jan-1841; d. 4-Mar-1915 in Doddridge Co., WV; m. Francis Marion DOTSON.  (Isabel’s marriage record lists her parents as Peter and Mary Ann Hufford, and her place of birth as Washington Co., PA.)
  • Sarah E. Hufford, b. abt 1845; m. Sylvannus DAVIS.  (Sarah’s marriage record lists her parents as Peter and Mary Ann Hufford.)
  • William Hufford, b. 7-Jun-1847, d. 26-Jun-1922 in Doddridge Co., WV; m. 1st Mary F. COTTRILL; m. 2nd Mary Catharine BEE.  (William’s marriage record names his parents as Peter and Mary A. Hufford.)

The fact that Peter’s son William was born in June 1847 means that Peter lived at least into 1846.  It’s likely that Peter died in Harrison Co., WV, where son William was born, and where his wife Mary Ann was found living in 1860.

Burial information is known for nine of Peter’s eleven children:

PAGE NOTE: Peter Hufford’s older brother Christian Hufford III is at page 200 of 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. Peter and his descendants would be inserted after Christian III.

Aaron Hufford vs. the railroad

Here’s a Hufford who helped to make the law:

Jackson Citizen; Feb. 15, 1887
Railroad Rules and Rights of Passengers
On Sept. 19, 1882, Aaron Hufford purchased a ticket at Manton, a station of the main line of the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad, which the agent represented was good for a ride to Traverse City.  The ticket was part of an excursion ticket, good when first issued from Sturgis to Traverse City, and after purchasing it, Hufford, noticing that it was not like the tickets he had been accustomed to purchase, asked the agent if it was good, and was assured that it was.  He thereupon entered the cars, which moved off for Walton junction, nine miles north of Manton.  On presenting his ticket to the conductor, he was informed that he could not receive it for fare, whereupon Hufford stated to the conductor the facts as to its purchase and the statements of the agent, and refused to pay the fare a second time.  The conductor said the rules of the company would not allow him to take it and said he should put him off if he did not pay to the junction.  He [Hufford] then paid under protest and brought suit against the company. The supreme court has just decided in his favor.  The company was bound by the act of its agent and the conductor, on being apprised of the facts, should have allowed the man to ride.  People are not required to know what rules are made by a railroad company to govern its agents and employees, and cannot lose their rights in consequence of them.

Case is Hufford v. Grand Rapids & Indiana R’y Co., 64 Mich. 631, 31 N. W. Rep. 544.
Rule: Passengers on railroad trains are not presumed to know the rules and regulations which are made for the guidance of the conductors and other employes of railroad companies as to the internal affairs of the company, nor are they required to know them.

Aaron Hufford was son of Michael, son of Casper, son of Christian b. 1716 in Schwaigern, Germany.  Aaron was a traveling salesman.  He was the father of five children.  He married in 1868.  Before 1880, two sons had died, and he’d been taken to jail for a few days because he had tried to take custody of his young daughter from his ex-wife.  Aaron didn’t win many fights in his life, but he won the fight with the railroad.

He’s on page 177 of the 1909 Hufford Family History.  Here’s his page at Aaron Hufford (1846-1915).