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Jeff's Crab House on Isle of Wight
Treasures of Midway
Norsworthy CrabHouse2
Jeff’s Crab House is on Cross Creek in Isle of Wight. - photo by Photo by Matt Norsworth
On the east coast of Liberty County, there is a strong connection to the saltwater creeks and rivers that flow toward the ocean.
The Midway and Sunbury areas of the county have grown throughout the years because of this draw towards the natural beauty and bounty of the marshes. Visitors can ask Huey and Gail Jeffers about that at Jeff’s Crab House at the end of Isle of Wight in Midway.
The business is on the east side of I-95 on Isle of Wight and sits along Cross Creek.
The Jeffers bought their home on that property in 1968, and they started the business in 1973 after a layoff at the paper mill. There were only about 35 full-time residents on the island at that time compared to more than 200 nowadays.  
After the layoff, Jeffers started crabbing from the banks of his property as a means to make money and hasn’t looked back since. Jeffers goes out crabbing almost daily and sells crabs both commercially and residentially. He got to a point where he had to commercially zone an acre of his property - the only one of that designation on Isle of Wight.  
The Jeffers own all of the property on the Jeff’s Crab House side of Cross Creek, including a lot of the marsh beyond it. But the Derst Family, of the Derst Baking fame in Savannah, owned roughly 12 acres behind him. Gail. Jeffers said the story is there used to be a good-size plantation back there in the early 1900’s.
“You can still see old stables back there and bricks from the house,” she said.
She noted that around the turn of the century the island was called Grass Island, and the Derst plantation was more like a seasonal bed and breakfast by today's standards. The island’s residents and visitors had to cross Jones Creek by ferry.  
When the Jeffers moved to the island in 1968, they were at least able to cross the Jones Creek Bridge by car. But I-95 had not been built through the island yet. The Jeffers know a good bit of the history and change to Isle of Wight in Midway, and have seen it first hand as well.  
Their boatlift will be opening soon to the public at a reasonable fee. Jeff's Crab House will continue to sell crabs and frozen bait, but otherwise they have no other plans for future development.
“We are just a family business, and I don’t want to take on more than we can handle. We just want to sell crabs and put people’s boats in the water at a fair price,” Huey Jeffers said.
The couple, along with Jeff’s Crab House, has been a part of Midway and Isle of Wight’s coastal heritage, and they plan to be a viable part of its future.
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