Gad, W.Va: The Town That Was
To most, Summersville Lake is a place for summer fun, but to a few, it is a place that was once called home
Watch Gad, WV: The town that was.
Photo gallery of the town of Gad.
By Leann Arthur and Steve Butera
Siblings Marie Dooley, Fred Roberts and Lou Skaggs grew up in the farming community of Gad, a town that once sat along the Gauley River, off Salmon Run and where the Summersville Lake is now. It was submerged under the new lake when the Summersville Dam was constructed in the early 1960s.
They each remember the town fondly.
“It was fun. It was a good, clean life; hard work and plenty of food, and a good family,” said Dooley, who now lives in Summersville.
Dooley also recalled the Gad town store, where she used to work.
“They didn’t sell milk and bread, or soft drinks and ice cream. They had kerosene; you went in another room and got a gallon of kerosene, and they had material and tobacco. I suppose they had Prince Albert tobacco – chewing tobacco and matches,” she said.
Skaggs said every family member had his or her own job around the house since their father worked away from home.
“Mom made all of our own butter, and she made our clothes and lye soap,” she said.
It was a simple way of life, Roberts said.
“It was just a low-key life, you left your doors open. You didn’t have to worry about stealing, no drugs – a little bit of moonshine, probably,” he said.
Summersville historian Stanley Adkins agreed with Roberts’ description of Gad.
“It was neighbors helping neighbors. They all went to church together, they all went to school together, they all grew up together. They became just a very tight-knit community,” Adkins said.
That kinship that was lost when Gad was destroyed and families were forced to move away.
“They all went their separate ways and that sense of community, by those families, was never recaptured,” Adkins said.