More stories about the Dark Hollow of Roan

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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To the Editor:
My name is Betty (Bowers) Risk I live in Tampa, Fl. but am from Johnson City, Tn. and attended Happy Valley High School.
My mother’s family ( the Barnetts/Barnettes)  is from “the Roan” as we called it. A cousin shared the article that was in the Star about the Dark Hollow of Roan. I want to tell you that for as long as I can remember one of the stories was told to us a little different. I verified this with a cousin that still lives in Elizabethton. Perhaps there were two different attractive ladies that these things happened too but I wanted to tell you what we have heard for over 70 years.
We were told:
A new school teacher had come to the school and she was attractive. Some of the women were jealous because and afraid of getting their husband’s attention. They tried to make her leave and she would not so they ended up killing her and putting her under the schoolhouse, so as far as anyone knew she had left the area and gone back where she came from. When the new school year started and a new teacher came they smelled an odor under the schoolhouse they had one of the boys to go under the house thinking it was a dead animal and that is when her body was found. I never heard if anyone was caught but it was assumed that one or some of the women did this.
I do not know if this was told either but in the same community they had what was called a corn shucking in order to help a farmer get his corn shucked. It was almost like a party…the boys would shuck corn and when a red ear was shucked that boy got to kiss one of the girls. The way my aunt told it, it was as if the girls were on one side, kind of lined up. Anyway a boy found a red ear, went over and kissed a girl. This girl had a beau who became furious. He went home, got his shotgun, came back and killed this young man. My aunt said she could remember her mama lifting her up to see him in the coffin at the funeral. I am thinking my aunt must have been around 4 or 5 years old. My aunt was born in 1911 so this would have been around 1915 or 1916 that this took place.
We heard stories, these in particular from the time I was a little girl.
Betty Risk
Tampa, Fla

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