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The Jug: A Piece of Tyler County History

January 3, 2018
Chad Turner - Staff Writer , Tyler Star News

The Jug in Middlebourne is a well known piece of history in Tyler County, along with its proprieter Gladys Gregg. The Jug was built in 1921 when two adjacent sections of land were still connected. The two connecting pieces of land were eventually dug through to make way for a dam, which was built in the 1950's. The dam directed the flow of the water for the purpose of running an old mill.

Gregg explained of the dam's construction, "When a passer-by came through, they would offer him a little moonshine to dig a little bit."

The Jug is now know for its natural elements and offers a great place for fishermen, kayakers, and hunters to commune with nature. The adjacent Middle Island Creek is special because it is considered to be the longest creek in the world. The Jug "handle" itself is very unique as well, in that it is the only place around where the creek makes an entire seven mile circle, just to bring a traveller back to where he or she began. This is ideal for kayakers as they can take a nice downstream adventure and not have to worry about finding a way to transport their kayak back to their vehicle. It is a kayaker's/fisherman's dream location and Gregg feels, "It's one of the better parts of Middle Island in the state."

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Unfortunately Gregg says the stream is the lowest and slowest moving that she has experienced in 87 years. Gregg mentioned that her family has owned and maintained the Jug property throughout its entire existence. She expressed her frustration with the state for not putting for any effort to preserve the Jug dam. She stated that seven years ago the dam could have been fixed with a single bag of concrete mix. However, nothing has been done, and now the dam has eroded away beyond a manageable fix. The stream, that was once created to maintain the old mill, is now filling in and drying because the water flow around the Jug "handle" has decreased significantly. This could cause an impact to the small community as people have been known to travel miles - even across several states - just to experience this little kept secret along Route 18.

Most of the work that has been accomplished in more recent years has been completed by locals who do not want to let the Jug "handle" fill in. Usually, once or twice a year, volunteers will cut away fallen trees and limbs to make traveling down the stream easier on visitors. Members of the community value this piece of history and refuse to let it go.

Gregg has been a part of the Jug's history longer than most have had the privilege of living. She has been at the Jug 87 of her 92 years on this Earth and was born just shortly up the road, in the "holler" by the racetrack. Gregg recollected one of her fondest memories of when 50 to 100 children would gather together at the creek and swim, long before public pools were available in Sistersville, Paden City or New Martinsville. She stated many of the same children would gather in the winter time to go ice skating on the one-time swimming hole. Gregg also mentioned a swing her father had built when she was younger. The swing was made of large poles, one on each side, with another log in between attached by large cables. She can recall when the swing was taken out by a large ice gorge.

Gregg was the first female deputy sheriff in Tyler County and served under four different sheriffs She also worked three-and-one-half with Tyler County's superintendent of schools. She has sold hunting and fishing licenses since 1961. She has made several friends along the way, through her decades of service to the community.

Gregg is full of bits of wisdom and thought-provoking quotes. She expressed her belief in that people sholdn't be a burden to their government, or their family. She further expressed the importance of honesty

Of herself, Gregg said,"Half of life is attitude, and I've always had one."

This is in reference to the way people view hard times, and the fact Gregg was never afraid to stand up for herself when "push came to shove." Showing an element of modesty and appreciation - that is perhaps not seen as much in modern society, Gregg explained, "When you grow up in the sticks, you don't have much. I'm glad I grew up in the sticks."

When asked about her disposition she responded, " I'm like Popeye... I am what I am."

Gregg, a proud member of the Methodist Church in Middlebourne, is proud to be a people person.

She further noted, "I would rather have one true friend than have a million dollars... I can make what I need in life." Gregg said the older she gets, the richer she becomes, "and it's not green."

Further remarking on the richness of friendship, she said, "You don't buy friends, you be one... That's what makes a good neighbor; You gotta be one first."



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