Remembering Life on Powell River before Norris Dam

Remembering Life on Powell River before Norris Dam

In the early 1930s, before a large dam was built beneath the forks of the Clinch and Powell Rivers, a little girl of early pioneer ancestry lived in a white two-story house across the Powell River from the mouth of Cedar Creek. She was born there, as had been her uncle, who also lived there with her parents, maternal grandmother, three younger siblings and an older cousin. Their home was on a large farm encircled by a bend of the Powell River on three sides.

In the spring of the year, the little girl loved to watch the river as it rose upon its banks. On these same banks and river bottoms, Union soldiers had trained for the Civil War. The little girl learned many treasured stories from her uncle of soldiers long gone from the training field. Her grandmother, also born on the river, had first hand memories of the war.

The farm house had a small older wing on the rear that included the kitchen, referred to by the family as the Little House. In the winter, a huge log placed in the fireplace kept the kitchen warm. Sitting around the fire, in the kitchen illuminated by kerosene lamps, the family read the Bible, Sunday School lessons, The Knoxville Journal, Progressive Farmer and whatever textbooks the children were studying from in school.

While her mother was busy cooking, or doing other things for the family, the little girl would help her grandmother rock the younger children in a wooden cradle. The cradle had heavy rockers and sat in front of a window by the hearth in the kitchen.

On Sundays, the little girl and her sister would trail their father on a farm horse, named Maude, up the side of Cedar Creek and the Sugar Hollow Branch to church. Each time the trail would cross the branch, Maude would lower her head for a drink potentially plunging the girls, it seemed, into the stream below.

The sisters loved to attend Sunday School at Sugar Hollow. Maude Ridenour, a Campbell County school teacher, was their teacher. Each lesson was on a card with a picture. These were kept in a box at home after each lesson has been gone over a number of times. Relocated as a result of the formation of Norris Reservoir, the congregation is known today as Coolidge First Baptist.

One hot August afternoon, the little girl's father came home in the farm wagon with a John C. Winton primer. Soon she was carrying the little book with her to a nearby one room school. The school closed, due to low enrollment, after two weeks and she began to ride the bus to a much larger school at Demory. No doubt many of the parents of the children who arrived by bus worried about their children being so far from their care. Fortunately, Mrs. Jane Boshears Morton, who lived within site of the school, was known to be generous with her time tending to the needs of sick children. Perhaps she ran the first school clinic in Campbell County right out of her home.

Although the little girl's family did not have electricity while living on Powell River, they did have telephone service. Should the party line be out of order for any reason, Andy Heatherly, proprietor of the A.J. Heatherly General Store would take messages from his telephone at the store and deliver them personally throughout the neighborhood in his Model T Ford.

These wonderful happy early childhood years on Powell River came to an end one morning in early December of 1934 when the little girl rode in the cab of a moving truck with her grandmother and three younger siblings to their new home closer to town. The gingerbread style house would be home to her parents for over fifty years.

Written partially in her own words, the little girl in the story was my mother Nadine Heatherly Stephens (1925-2002). More than eighty years have come and gone since hers like so many additional families were dislocated in advance of rising waters behind Norris Dam before the gates were closed on March 4,1936.

The spine of the ridge that ran down the center of the farm, where she was born, is visible, to the left, year-round from the opposite side of the lake at the tip of Heatherly's Point and is known today as Spangler Point or Point 10.

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UCBPA Meeting

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 12:00

UCBPA meets the second Tuesday of each month for approximately one hour. Membership is $25 annually. The meeting begins at noon at Hardee's in Maynardville. Anyone interested in making Union County a better place to live, work, worship, or play may attend.

Obituary

Goneau Gentry Heath

Goneau Gentry Heath was born August 20, 1921 and went to her heavenly home on December 13, 2018 at the age of 97. Goneau was a longtime member of North Knoxville Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her father, Cleve Gentry and her mother, Bonnie Stooksbury Gentry; Aunt who raised her, Cora Stooksbury; husband of 51 years, K.C. Heath; Brothers, Ray and Carson Gentry; Sister, Jessie Beeler; Granddaughter, Julie Hourigan; Son-in-law, James "Jim" Bean.

Wanda Faye Henry

Wanda Faye Henry, age 81, of Corryton joined her husband in heaven on December 12, 2018 at Tennova Powell. Member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband Harvey Henry; parents Luke and Elizabeth Everett; sisters Juanita Boling, Iola Chandler, Lelia Davis; and brother David Everett.

Rev. Gains Harrell Lewis, Sr.

Rev. Gains Harrell Lewis, Sr.-age 86 of Maynardville went to his Heavenly Home Friday morning, December 14, 2018. Harrell, above everything else, loved the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and preached and witnessed so others would do the same. He was saved and was a member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church and attended Fellowship Christian Church. He had pastored Leatherwood Baptist Church and Head of Barren Baptist Church. He was proud to be a lifetime citizen of Maynardville, Tennessee and was well-known and had many friends and family.

Betty Sue Baumgardner

Betty Sue Baumgardner – age 77 of Washburn, passed away on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. She was a member of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Knoxville. Betty was a loving wife and enjoyed crocheting and quilting.

She is preceded in death by parents, Edgar and Dorothy Glover; sisters, Mary Ann Glover and Nell Harper. Betty is survived by loving husband of 60 years, Reverend Albert “Dick” Baumgardner; sister, Jenntte; brother, Edward Glover; and several nieces and nephews.

Jesse D. Coffman

Jesse D. “J.D.” Coffman-age 89 of Washburn passed away peacefully Thursday morning, December 13, 2018 at his home. He was a U. S. Army Veteran of the Korean War. J. D. was a member of Central View American Christian Church, Washburn.

Nicole "Nicky" Tyson

Nicole “Nicky” Tyson, age 42, passed away on December 11, 2018. She was an outgoing woman who never met a stranger. She was the happiest when surrounded by family, friends, and her fur babies, whom she was very passionate about. Nicky could light up any room she walked in and will be missed by many. She is survived by fiancé Kenny Thomas, daughter April Tyson (Boo), sons Nicholas Gene Beaver and Hunter Dylan Leon Foster, parents Janice and Jim Shipley, granddaughter Payton McKenzie Abshire, close cousin/sister Kelly Williams, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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Sonja Denise Brown

Sonja Denise Brown-age 53 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Mynatt Road Baptist Church in Halls. Preceded in death by father, Leonard Allen Ridenour.

Survivors: husband, David Lee Brown; mother, Reba Evelyn Ridenour; brother, Ronnie Lynn Ridenour and wife, Donna; sister, Donna Michelle Gordon and husband, Gerald. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

Graveside service and interment 12 Noon Saturday, December 15, 2018, Dyer Cemetery, Powder Springs. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

Tommy Ray Bray

Tommy Ray Bray, age 59, passed away on December 11, 2018. He was a member of the Elks Lodge 160, and was an avid fisherman.

Preceded in death by mother AnnaLou Bray, father John Bray, sisters; Kathy West and Robin Burress, brothers; Harold Bray, Larry Bray, and Randall Bray.

Survived by loving wife of 35 years Pamela Bray, brothers; Danny (Judy) Bray of Briceville, Patrick Bray of Rocky Top, Kirk (Tina) Bray of Rocky Top, Clifford (Marika) Bray of Briceville, and special brother-in-law Jerry and Dennis Parton and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.

Regena Kaye Keller

Regena Kaye Keller – age 65 of Knoxville, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. She was a member of River of Hope Church.

She is preceded in death by father, Richard Lee Miller; sister, Beverly Faye Murphy; and brother-in-law, Charles E. Keller. Regena is survived by her husband of 33 years, Larry “Joe” Keller; mother, Barbara Jean Pellegrino; sister, Sharon Hess; sister-in-law, Renee´ (Chris) Branum; nieces, Kristina Hess, Kirsten Keller Pruitt and Zoe Branum; nephews, Nate and Christian Branum.

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