The Sacrifice of Lilly and Gad

By | January 12, 2019

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Bluestone Lake in Summers County, West Virginia. Source: (

The Appalachian Mountains, which cuts through several states including West Virginia and North Carolina, are a beautiful sight to behold. However, the downfall of living at the base of such a majestic landscape is that when it rains the mountains have a tendency to funnel the rainfall into the valleys. This results in flash floods which can be devastating to the nearby communities. Over the years, the government has attempted to prevent these floods by building dams. However, the water still has to go somewhere and many times that somewhere happens to be the location of an existing community. Two of these communities were the towns of Lilly and Gad in West Virginia.

Back in the 1700s, Robert and Frances Lilly, accompanied by Josiah Meador and their families, settled in what would later become Summers County of West Virginia. The settlement came to be known as Lilly, West Virginia. According to the legend, they arrived with nothing but “a bible, an ax, and a gun.” The area was chosen for its plentiful natural resources. The settlement eventually grew into a community of subsistence farmers, consisting of more than thirty families, and several buildings sprang up, including a schoolhouse, a church, and several houses.

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Bluestone Dam. Source:(

Unfortunately, the area was prone to flooding, as were the neighboring communities. As a result, the government in the 1940s decided to build Bluestone Dam in an attempt to prevent some of the floodings. The only problem was that the new dam was expected to leave the village of Lilly underwater. The residents of the village were forced to leave their homes, though they were given financial compensation for their land, with one farmer reported to have been paid $1,750 for his property. Buildings were torn down or moved and ancient cemeteries were relocated, with many graves being left unmarked in their new location.