By Gerry Roe edited by grandson, Keegan Pond
Love is a fabric which never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the waters of adversity and grief. Whispered Words of Encouragement 2006
There are so many stories in our family’s history that will be forgotten.
But many thanks goes to my Second great uncle, Robert Lon (Lonzo/Alonzo) Fowler whose father: James Fowler ( my Second great grandfather), his ½ sister, and a sister, a son and daughter will not be left under Lake Barkley in Lyon County Kentucky. Robert was instrumental in applying to move the remains of his beloved family.
Recently I found the hand written page of Cemetery removal records dated May 1, 1937. It was from the Tennessee Valley Authority and hand written by Uncle Robert. I had it tucked away in my many disorganized pages of research. Finding it again I was curious as to why the remains were moved. Thanks to the historian and researcher in my niece, Betsy Cross Thorpe; she taught me to go to the source and eke out the facts.
My mother, Ruby Elizabeth Isaacs Roe was born in Kuttawa, Kentucky in 1911. The town flooded regularly because of the four rivers flowing nearby. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a new deal program established in the 1930s by President Franklin Roosevelt, began a series of dams along the Tennessee River to manage flood control and provide electricity to the mid-south. Because of building a dam forming Lake Barkley, the town of Kuttawa was moved to higher ground in the early 1940s. Thankfully, the TVA planned ahead of building the dam. Families had time to move loved ones to higher and safer ground from the cemeteries that would soon be under water.
Excerpt from Mr. Douthat’s introduction:
“The first grave removals required by construction of the Kentucky project was made in 1937, when it became necessary to relocate a cemetery at the site of a quarry. The regularly scheduled reservoir program was begun in August 1942 and was
completed, except for a few graves, in December 1943. The work was done under the supervision of Fred W. Wendt, who acted as superintendent of grave removal operations for the project……… A total of 3390 graves were moved and 578 monuments were relocated (note: in various counties, not just Lyon). Dis interments were made from 120 cemeteries and 113 re internment cemeteries were used. Remains from two graves were disinterred and turned over to undertakers for reburial in a distant cemetery at the request of the nearest relatives.”
James, Minnie, and Maggie Fowler and two unnamed Fowler infants will not go unforgotten under Lake Barkley because of Robert Lon Fowler, a very loving and thoughtful son, brother and father.