Tag Archives: Emory River

TN Department of Environment & Conservation Grant

The placement of the above sign brings Roane County one step closer to the completion of the TN Department of Environment and Conservation funded grant project. This Emory, Clinch and Watts Bar Watersheds Habitat and Recreation Restoration Grant project totaled $457,000.00 to provide Roane County with accessible public docks, kayak launches, a boat slip, and land stabilization. Full story to come as the project is set to close in the next few months. (Pictured right: Ron Woody & Josh Lentz hanging a new sign at the Little Emory boat launch.)

Ron Woody & Josh Lentz

Planning Ahead for Roane County

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

The county has recently taken some progressive steps in planning the county’s future. If one feels that nothing has been accomplished we understand, but below the surface, work has been going on, plans have been formulating, and execution of plans have taken place and/or are ready to take place. So, what plans are we talking about?

First, I think more of our county leadership recognizes that Roane County is not an industrial mecca. As an industrial agent recently said, “More than half of our proposals are put in the waste can because we are in a high wage, low unemployment area and new companies do not want to compete for the workforce.” The high wage, low unemployment is due to TVA, DOE, and related contractors. Slowly, a shift in thinking is taking place. What are our county’s assets? Great climate, a beautiful water system of rivers in Tennessee, Emory and Clinch, and friendly cities and communities. Maybe investments should be made in our recreation and tourism industries?

The county has been putting plans together for years for recreation and tourism development and as noted in last month’s newsletter, has hired master planners to complete the process. This year the county is eligible for a $250,000 recreation grant but we must match $250,000 local funds. The county does not have $250,000 but has taken the needed steps in the 2020 Budget to secure a large portion. Further, the county is applying for Tennessee RiverLine 652 project from the University of Tennessee. More details about this will be discussed in a future article.

The county is further working with Legacy Park Foundation and the National Park Service as the Manhattan Project Historical National Park is coming online in Roane County.

New trail systems, (both land and water), a National Park within Roane County, new courtesy boat docks on the reservoir, enhancements to Riley Creek Campground, and other recreation assets are helping Roane County lay the foundation for a vacation, recreation, and tourism destination.

More to come…

Poisoned Wedding

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

What should have been a very happy day turned into the worst mass murder to occur in Roane County’s history. The tragic event occurred at the wedding of Joel Dallas Hembree and Mary Jane Dail in November 1880. Mary Jane Dail was the daughter of Col. James I. Dail and the marriage took place at his home near the Emory River, three miles from Kingston. As this was a great social event, many prominent families from this area attended the wedding. Forty-seven guests were in attendance. After the marriage ceremony, the guests were invited to sit down to dinner around noon. That night and the next day, nearly all who ate became sick at the stomach. Six people died: Katie Lowry (age nine years), Robert Dail (the brother of the bride), Rosie Dail (granddaughter of James I. Dail), Albert Gallaher, Mike May (a relative of the groom) and Jim Fields (a colored servant). At least 30 others were sickened.

There was much speculation as to whether the poisoning was accidental or intentional. It was finally decided that it was done on purpose. It was determined that the poison was sprinkled on the turkey and the center cake. All those who became sick partook of at least one of these two items. A month after the event, the body of Katie Lowry was exhumed and tested. The tests showed that it appeared that the poison used was antimony which has the same effect as arsenic. Much speculation was brought forward through the years about the murderer. At the time some said that a man named Jack Isham did the deed. The Ishams were Union while the Hembrees were Confederate and that this was done in revenge for the murder of the father of Jack by rebels. Through research done by Alvin Hembree, there is speculation that a sister of Mary Jane Dail may have done it out of jealousy. Or she may have gotten someone to do it. No one was ever charged, and this mystery will always remain unsolved.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, September 2013.