Me, My Family & The Story of Creasy Jane’s
My name is Ruby Daniels — many people refer to me as “Ruby D.” — and I am the owner and founder of Creasy Jane’s. In this post, I will share a little bit about me and my heritage and how it influenced me to start this business. There is what I feel is an absence of African American voices in the herbal industry, so I am passionate about using mine to share information through my lens as an “Afro-lachian” — African American Appalachian — woman.
For Creasy Jane’s, I cultivate and sell heritage vegetables as well as medicinal herbs to create everything from salves and soaps to teas and tinctures. Whether you are looking for a relaxation remedy or something to aid stiff muscles and joints, I am here to help. All of my products combine Appalachian herbal traditional remedies, science/research and spirit to formulate the best herbal remedies for my clients.
Currently, I grow my vegetables and herbs in Beckley, West Virginia (known, in my ancestors’ time, as Stanaford City). I also lease a high tunnel from Sprouting Farms so that I can extend my growing season. If you are interested in seeing some of my products, you can click here to shop. I also sell through Turnrow Appalachian Farm Collective. Orders can be shipped or picked up at Sprouting Farms.
I became interested in herbal remedies because they are a long tradition of African Americans. During the time of enslavement, African Americans would often run to the forest for healing and food, despite it being against the law — and often punishable by death — in Virginia at the time.
My family has lived in West Virginia/Virginia since the 1600s. At that point in time, and for many years after, we were enslaved. Now, here’s where I’d like to share an interesting piece of family history. Prior to his death, My great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Pack, wrote a will indicating that his children could choose where they wanted to be enslaved within the family. His son, my great-great grandfather, Henry Pack, was enslaved in what would later be Monroe/Summers counties and chose to move to Pulaski, Virginia, after his father's death. This was the first recorded document in those counties where a slave owner was also the father of the slave and gave them the choice as to where they wanted to go to be enslaved.
My great-grandfather, William Crite, after being freed from enslavement, walked to Raleigh County, West Virginia, from Blacksburg, Virginia, to make a way for him and his love, Creasy Jane (sound familiar?). He worked as a coal cutter until he was injured. However, instead of giving up because he could not work in the mines, he opened a restaurant in Stanaford City, WV. He also sold timber, and golden delicious apples. This series of unfortunate events made my family very knowledgeable about native plants.
While I was born and spent many years of my life in Columbia, Maryland, I now live in West Virginia as well. And it is the summers that I spent in Beckley with my grandmother Fannie Shepherd, great-aunt Ruby Wooten (for whom I am named), and many other wise women —
learning about African American traditions, spirituality, native plants and herbal remedies — that influenced and motivated me to start experimenting with plants on my own as a child and later form my business. I use what I learned from my elders and my education in therapeutic herbalism to create Creasy Jane’s products. (To book an herbal or spiritual consultation, click here.)
As you might have gathered from what I’ve shared already, I chose the name Creasy Jane as a tribute to my great-great-grandmother, Creasy Jane Pack. She was what I like to call the “original mother” — the woman who birthed my grandmother and great aunts to whom I was so close.
Creasy Jane’s also refers to “creasy greens,” a plant that many people in the South eat. Creasy greens provided food for many Appalachian people, including my family. Small and leafy, they are also called winter cress. It is one of the earliest greens to come up in the winter. I sell creasy greens to restaurants and the public through Turnrow Appalachian Farm Collective’s Online Farmers Market from February-April. I also sell creasy microgreens in the summer months.
I hope that sharing a bit about my background and story has given you a sense of who I am and why I do what I do (and also why it is so important to me). Feel free to contact me — firstname.lastname@example.org 443-333-7952 with any questions, follow Creasy Jane’s on Facebookand keep checking this blog for more posts!