Big Ugly Woman Drowns…


Throughout this country’s wonderful history, one must admire our ancestor’s ingenuity in naming our towns. As I’ve written before, my hometown is named Decota, WV. Why? It was made up by the Postal Service (actually, I think we stole it from North Dakota and, of course, misspelled it). West Virginia takes a backseat to nobody in its colorful history for naming towns. 

Some of our more imaginative names are: Looneyville, Pinch, Quick, Uneeda (one wonders what “u” need), Oceana (don’t try surfing here), Red Jacket, Mann, Omar, Gad, Orgas (an “M” is always added to the sign on Halloween, ie., “Orgasm”), Red House, Gauley Bridge (pronounced “Golly Bridge”) and Big Ugly.The following true story concerns three of these names; Gauley, Gad and Big Ugly. Some years back, the Army Corp of Engineers decided to build a dam on the Gauley River at a small community called Gad. As the work progressed, the task of naming the dam and subsequent lake was pondered. When a town is lost due to the flooding of a lake, the dam is usually named after the lost community. Can you see the problem? Think about it! It would be folly, here in the Bible Belt, to have on any map the name “Gad-Dam”!

For many wonderful years the Charleston Gazette had a humor columnist named James Dent. His column was called “The Gazz-a-teer”, and he started many of our days with a needed splash of humor. He proposed the possibility of the following headline if the dam were to named after Gad:


Needless to say, it is named Summersville Dam.

Tom and LaVerna Vickers