CLARENCE & BEULAH SIPES

 

At the time of their interview with Morrison, Clarence and Beulah Sipes had recovered better than some of their community members. They lived on a 320 acres on West Maple Grove Road in Monroe County and were able to continue the farm life they had practiced since their youth. In spite of their relative fortune, the Sipes still had something taken away from them- the traditional way of life of their Salt Creek Valley community.

Beulah Sipes sounded particularly nostalgic when discussing the memories of their home, which was later torn down by the Army Corps of Engineers. She described in detail the bedrooms, dining room, even the lack of closet space. Losing the home where they raised their five children was difficult, but perhaps not as difficult as losing the sense of community. As Beulah describes in this clip, her home used to have open doors to unexpected guests for Sunday dinners.

One of the major reasons for their dismay after they were removed from their land was the eventual use of Lake Monroe. Many Salt Creek Valley residents said that they were specifically told by the government that the land they were taking would not be used for recreation. This was both emotionally disturbing, having the government take their homes to make a tourist attraction, but also because these intelligent landowners knew that land used for recreation should be sold at a much higher price.

The quote Beulah closed with perfectly sums up the feelings expressed by many residents in the aftermath of their removal:

…he [Clarence] said if it was to do over, probably wouldn’t have taken what we did..right away– we maybe would’ve held out a little long. But, we just thought they didn’t give us no choice, you know.