Tag Archives: Rhea County

Aunt Lize Whittenburg

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Aunt Lize Whittenburg was born a slave on the farm of Jesse Roddy of Rhea County and took the Whittenburg name when Roddy’s daughter married a Whittenburg. According to her obituary, she moved to Rockwood about 1869 and “was the first cook at the Roane Iron Company’s negro boarding house.” She died in 1926 in Rockwood. In 1955, an article written about her stated ” ‘Aunt Lize’ was very popular, well known and much loved by the entire citizenship of Rockwood. She is fondly remembered for her colorful dress and the fact that she never knew a stranger.” She was known to have worn three skirts at the same time and marched in every parade in Rockwood. She is the only known person to appear in a commercial postcard in Roane County.

Aunt Lize Whittenburg

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, December 2017.

Watts Bar TVA Grave Removal

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

In preparation for the building of Watts Bar Dam, some single graves and entire cemeteries were removed because those areas would be flooded by the backwaters created by Watts Bar Dam. To move the graves, TVA required a family member to approve the grave to be moved. If no relative was found or the family did not wish for the graves to be removed, TVA left the graves there, and they were covered by the backwaters. Two cemeteries, the Jackson Cemetery, and the Perry Cemetery, both located in the Tennessee River, are now located on islands. In the Jackson Cemetery (located across from Boyd Woody’s house) there are 35 graves, and in the Perry Cemetery (which is located on Thief Neck Island) there are six graves. In all, about 100 graves were moved. The most graves that were removed from a single cemetery were forty-seven graves which were located in the Kendrick Cemetery near the New Hope Community. The graves that were removed from the various cemeteries were relocated to several different cemeteries. Some were removed to the Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood, Luminary Cemetery (South of the River), Eagle Furnace Cemetery, and Cedar Grove Church Cemetery near Paint Rock among others. Some graves were removed to cemeteries in Rhea and Meigs County. New roads were also created to provide access to other cemeteries in which the old roads were covered.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, June 2017.