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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1. Discuss School Trips

· None at Time of Publication

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Obituary

Euawana G. Wolfenbarger

Euawana G. Wolfenbarger, of (Halls) Knoxville, TN, passed away on July 18, 2018, at the age of 75. She was preceded in death by husband Henry L. Wolfenbarger, son Richard Shane Wolfenbarger, mother Grace Gann, and in-laws. She is survived by son Gary A. Wolfenbarger of Knoxville, TN, daughter Susan A. Carter and husband John Carter of Pensacola, FL, brothers Raymond and Anthony Gann, sisters Linda Tatum, Glenda Warren, and Bobbie Jo Cawood,4 grandsons, several nieces and nephews, and was known as “Mamaw” to many others.

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Melvin E. Ingram

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Sandra "Sandy" Jean Estep

Sandra “Sandy” Jean Estep passed away Friday July 20, 2018 at West Hills Health and Rehab Center. She was preceded in death by mother Helen G. Estep, father Paul D. Estep and brother Danny G. Estep. She is survived by sister Ann Estep Jones, niece Amy Norman Logan (Rhodes), nephew Dale Norman (Melissa), great-nieces Lindsey, Tessa and Wendy; great-nephew Alex, and special friend Brenda Jenkins. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Tuesday July 24, 2018. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Wednesday July 25, 2018 at Greenwood Cemetery for an 11:00am graveside service.

Benjamin "Benny" Reece King

Benny went to sit on the lap of his LORD and SAVIOR Saturday July 14, 2018 at children's hospital.

Benny our sweet angel is the son of April King. Grandson to Sherri and Matt Bridges. Benny was also a brother to Kyle King and Jesse Perry. Great Grandchild of Barbara Brown along with Ronnie and Tina Bridges. Benny was the nephew of Alley King, Jacob King, Ethan Muehliesen, Leah Bridges, Isaiah Bridges, Faith Bridges and Noah Bridges.

Proceeded in death by great grandfather W.L. Carmon Our love for our sweet Benny will forever be. Always our sweet Angel!!

Donald H. Norris

Donald H. Norris-age 64 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, July 16, 2018 at his home. He was a member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Roy and Maude E. Norris; brother, David Norris.

Barbara Kay "Momma" Burkhert

Barbara Kay “Momma” Burkhert, age 72, went to be with the Lord on July 15, 2018. She had 3 kids, John J. Viglasky, Liesa Canupp, and Greg Viglasky. She also had 3 grandkids Ashley Taylor, Stacey Canupp, Taylor Viglasky, as well as, 4 great-grandkids. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Thursday July 19, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel with service to follow. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Friday July 20, 2018 at Fort Sumter Cemetery for and 11:00am interment. Please leave online condolences at www.mynattfh.com

LaVerne McLain Cummings

LaVerne McLain Cummings, of Knoxville, suddenly went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 at Parkwest Hospital. Preceded in death by parents Ed and Mildred McLain, grandson Chad Breeden, and sister Sandra Leach. Survived by loving husband Harlan J. Cummings, daughter Angelia (Bob) Love, son Brent Cox, grandson whom she raised Matthew (Amber) Cox, granddaughters Amanda Dykes and Brittney Russell, sisters Faye (Roger) Neff and Burlene Tolman, as well as 6 great grandkids. She was looking forward to seeing her great grandson Grantley expected in August.

Michael Ernest Smith

Michael Ernest Smith – age 53 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly Saturday, July 8, 2018.

Michael is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Mary Smith; and sister, Barbara Smith. He is survived by his son, Daniel; sister, Debra (Stacy) Lynn; special niece, Emily; special nephews, Derrick and Aaron Lynn; several aunts, uncles and other nieces and nephews.

Barbara Carol Spradlen

Barbara Carol Spradlen, age 68, of Powell, passed away on July 8, 2018. She was preceded in death by father, Andrew M. Vanover and mother, Betty Ann Galloway; special great aunt, Bessie L. Galloway Johnson and her husband, Harrison "Hat" Johnson Jr., and their daughter Helen Jean Johnson York.

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