Echoes From The Past

By JUDY MAUPIN *- Echoes From the Past
(A Column of historical and genealogical anecdotes, stories and family notes.)
Calloway County, Ky.

Kentucky Lake

Nov 17, 1979
Have you ever driven across Eggner's Ferry bridge and tried to imagine (or remember) what the area which Is now Kentucky Lake looked like before the lake was impounded? I have, and apparently so have other persons.

The building of a lake as large as Kentucky and Barkley Lake Is a gigantic undertaking, from the time when the engineers begin plotting the actual size of the prospective lake, on through moving all the residents who occupy that land, to the actual flooding of the lake.

Although there were many aspects of the construction of Kentucky Lake of which I know nothing, I did learn quite a bit about the cemetery relocation aspect of this project. This area is of interest to genealogy buffs, especially those who do not live around here. Just Imagine what it would feel like to come to Calloway County from' somewhere else with the express purpose of learning more about your ancestors - let's say your grandparents lived at old Newburgh. So you have decided to vlsft their old home and read the tombstones in the community cemetery. But when you get there, you discover that there is no longer any Newburgh - nor is there any cemetery now.

Even though it would appear that you have hit a dead end, thanks to the foresight of the planners of the lake project, you have not. When the graves were removed and relocated before the lake was impounded, a careful record was made of each grave - even those without headstones - and you can find out where your grandparents' graves were moved to. Moreover, chances are good that when you go into these records, you can also learn who was buried in the graves which were unmarked by stones.

The building of the dam which holds back the waters of Kentucky Lake took six years to complete; work was discontinued for almost a year becanse of World War IL It was finally completed In September, 1944. The lake, itself covers 317,650 acres, touching on and affecting ten counties in Tennessee and Kentucky.

In all, 3390 graves were moved, along with 587 monuments; this gives you some idea of how many unmarked graves there were.

Disinterments were made from 126 cemeteries; many more were surveyed and recorded because the waters of Kentucky Lake cut off access to these burial places.

The first cemetery to be moved was the Vogel Cemetery, located In Lyon County at the old Star Lime Works. It was necessary to move these graves ahead of schedule so that limestone could be cut for the construction of the dam

Attempts were made to contact all relatives who had people burled in these cemeteries. This was done for a couple of reasons: the first was so that they could execute either removal or remain permits for all the persons moved. The other reason was to attempt to discover what the people buried there died of. This was necessary In order to comply with health department regulations.

According to the health code, anyone who had died within a certain number of years (approximately 5-10) of such diseases as typhoid, anthrax or yellow fever, warranted special handling. In these cases, the bodies were wrapped In specially treated material, in order to prevent the spreading of these diseases.

TVA also mapped each of the old cemeteries, showing the locations of all graves, marked and unmarked. They also plotted the reinternment cemeteries, showing all graves.

A few years ago,I gathered up this material and recorded it in a book entitled The Kentucky Lake Cemetery Relocation Project, for the use of those who are looking for ancestors who may have been moved from that area.

Although up until a few years ago all these records were kept at the TVA office In Paris, Tennessee, they have since been moved to the main office of Chattanooga. Anyone who would like to write to them for more Information can do so at the following address: Tennessee Valley Authority, Maps and Surveys Branch, 200 Haney Building, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37401.

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