MURPHY-KEMPER-COCKBURN CEMETERY, TVA RESERVATION, SHEFFIELD, COLBERT COUNTY
This topographical map shows the GPS of the Murphy-Kemper-Cockburn Cemetery. ACME MAPPER: N 34.77551 W 87.65476
That National Fertilizer Development Center seen on this map is now closed. It was started as a War Gas facility back in the middle 1900s and produced until just after World War II. It components were added with that produced across Wilson Dam Rd Hwy 133 at what later would become the Diamond Shamrock Chemical Plant/then Occidental, who produced a very high grade of Chlorine used in that war gas effort. Many shoals heads of household heads found work in the plants located in this area back in the good times when TVA reigned as a major employer. Sometime after the war ended this facility was retooled as a Fertilizer Research Development Center and operated as such for many years before President Ragan (I think) closed it. I remember once about 1973 an individual coming from Europe to serve as a research scientist at this facility. He was billed out as one of Europe's brightest in this field. A couple of years after he started work here he was killed in a traffic accident where the Rail Road crosses River Road on the way to his home off of River road. Sorry I don't remember his name after 40 years, but since his river property was near mine I remember his friendly demeanor.
Just to the left on this map and down next to the Tennessee River was at one time an old Direct Current Power Plant that was built in the early 1900s to produce Electricity. It was mothballed about 1930 to make way for the massive and more efficient Alternating Current generating plants. It was called the Alabama Power Plant. The buildings and stacks were finally torn down in 1966 and all the old Dynamos (Direct Current generators) were scrapped for the copper & steel content. I was the office clerk for the Kaiser Nelson Steel & Salvage Co. a Cleveland Ohio based firm that had the demolition contract. The site demolition was managed by Mr. Jim Blake of Cleveland, an individual with a lot of self confidence. One cold day in January he accidentally stepped on a loose board and plunged some 40 feet into an underground hole, down inside the debris of what was the demolished 5 story main building. He survived the fall unscathed, and even climbed back to the surface unaided. "All he said to me later was I told you I was tough. No average man could have survive that fall, much less live to climb back out." Mr. Blake (who was born about 1920) was handicapped in one eye. So far as I know not even an accident report was ever filed on that incident. I think he was an old athlete who trained as an accountant before landing in the demolition business and was just one of many interesting business people over my 40 year business career that I crossed paths with. Now back to Cemeteries.
This road map shows the directions as on the Wilson Dam Highway - on the east side - in a clump of trees.
Notice the Red Check marking the Privy Hedge thicket where the cemetery resides. It is completely abandoned and does not appear to have had visitors interested in maintaining it in many years. If you go here take a good pair of loping shears and prepare for hard work. Also notify T.V.A. Security of your intent & visit.
Maps from Google & MS Streets 2005 modified for this site by Wayne Austin 12 Dec 2009.
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