TVA Relocations Suggested Reading

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There have been several books written regarding the 1930s TVA relocations. I’ve read the books by McDonald-Muldowney, Tharpe, and Williford;  owning copies of these last two. Any Amazon orders through links given here will help support this site.


TVA and the Dispossessed: The Resettlement of Population in the Norris Dam Area. By Michael J. McDonald and John Muldowney (Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1982. viii + 334 pp.)

In this book, the authors trace the inception of the Tennessee Valley Authority as it progresses to its first dam, to be built at the Clinch and Powell Rivers. It delves into the project’s economical, environmental, psychological, and sociological impacts on this area. Most families had lived in this area for over 130 years and their neighbors were close and distant relatives. Included are oral biographies of these displaced residents and their mixed reactions. While a few were cheering the project and relocation, many people echoed doubts that this eminent domain forced removal would be for the population’s best interests. The authors present the lingering question that perhaps the skeptic residents were right all along.

To Loy’s Crossroads. By William G. Tharpe. (Maynardville, Tennessee: Union County Historical Society (Tennessee), 1989. 203 pp.)

Tharpe, who was a child at the time of the “Great Exodus,” presents accounts of the Loy’s Crossroads (Loystown/Loyston) residents leading up to and at time of the Norris Dam TVA relocations. It’s a great resource, but I discovered at least one error: in documenting children of “Fisher” John Loy, it gave his cousin John Loy’s children as if they were “Fisher’s” children. When I questioned Mr. Tharpe, who had at least one Tharpe cousin that married into the Loy family; he said the “Fisher” Loy tree was information someone had passed along to him; he’d not done actual research on the Loy family.


Jordan’s Bend. By Carolyn Williford. (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995. 388 pp.)

This historical fiction teen novel takes place during the 1930s TVA removals. Description from Google Books: “A heart-touching romance set in East Tennessee during the Depression. Rachael McKenney depends on Granny Mandy’s spiritual wisdom and hard-won insight. But when the Tennessee Valley Authority comes to Jordan’s Bend, a way of life is about to change forever. For although the dam will provide flood control and electricity, it will also flood some of the richest farm land in the valley.”