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Tragedy in Tin Can Holler

by Rozetta Mowery

      The town neighbors reported hearing horrendous screams, but nobody wanted to interfere in "family business." Seig Mowery had viciously beaten his wife, a mother of six, to death. He then concocted a tale of his rage at finding his wife naked with two men. On that evening, Seigís abusive behavior escalated to murder and essentially orphaned six young children. What happened to the children? How did Eliza Mowery end up marrying such an abusive man and bearing six children? Author Rozetta Mowery was only seven years old when her mother died, and she wanted answers to these questions. Forty-seven years after her motherís murder, Rozetta Mowery writes of her family history and her motherís death in the memoir, Tragedy in Tin Can Holler.

After their motherís death, the Mowery children are split up; the four youngest stay in foster care. The oldest daughter is already married, and the only son accepts housing with a "family friend." The children stay strong, remembering their motherís unending love for them, but their prolonged abuse leads to adult consequences, like health and mental illnesses, drug and alcohol addictions, and financial and personal problems. Rozetta starts a search of court documents, transcripts, letters, and other legal documents and unravels the lies surrounding her motherís death. In the vein of Shakespeareís quote, "What is past is prologue," Rozetta unearths generations of abuse, neglect, incest, illness, and murders. Not only had her father killed her mother, but her grandmother was suspected of multiple murders.

Tragedy in Tin Can Holler depicts the insidious nature of abuse as it traps innocent children into further victimization or becoming abusers themselves. The book is divided into four sections: The Beginnings, Tin Can Holler, The Tragedy, and What Happened to the Other Children. Rozetta includes copies of the legal documents surrounding her motherís death and her familyís life. The horrific events spill directly in a chronological order, in the way a friend relays facts to another friend, rather than cushioned in a storyline. Despite the awkward point of view, Tragedy is a powerful story for abuse survivors. Rozettaís strengths and joys fill a life that undoubtedly would make Eliza Mowery very proud.

The Book

Global Authors Publications
0977968065 / 978-0977968060
More at
NOTE: Child abuse, Incest, Domestic Violence, Minor Language

The Reviewer

Jennifer Akers
Reviewed 2008
© 2008