We Don't Know
We see a number of references in Covington's Daily Commonwealth in various issues in late 1879 that contain news from “Hardscrabble.” Frequently, the news is of someone who's come from or gone to Florence. Now we know there was a Hardscrabble in Grant County, (they call it Cherry Grove these days, about 3 miles due south of Williamstown) but on November 26, 1879 we find this:
“Hardscrabble – Greenwood Lake is building up fast. Mr. Everett Bedinger has just completed three houses, and last Saturday week six houses were brought here by the Southern Railroad, and erected. The inhabitants number about two hundred, of which one hundred and seventy-five are negroes.”
“Bedinger” and “Greenwood” certainly identify the place as in the Erlanger-Elsmere area, and earlier columns that reference trips to Florence seem to re-inforce that. First there was the name Greenwood Lake, which they changed to Silver Lake, which they changed to Erlanger. The reference to African-Americans tells me it's maybe Elsmere instead of Erlanger.
This is utter speculation on our part. That Hardscrabble name may well have existed only in the head of the man sending society columns in to the paper. Anybody know more? If so, you can contact us here.