Did you ever wonder about your parents’, grandparents’ and greatgrandparents’
past? Did you ever wonder about the skeletons that are
hanging in your family closet? Rozetta did! Her father murdered her
mother in a place called Tin Can Holler when she was seven years old.
Her mother’s horrible death and disfi gurement by the hands of her father
always haunted her. She spent over twelve years of her childhood
in abusive foster homes being raised by strangers who did not love her
and was separated from her siblings, while her wealthy grandfather,
whom she did not know, lived in a mansion and had a life of luxury.
Her mother’s love and spirit gave her the courage to overcome the
many obstacles she faced during her lifetime. She was determined to
be normal and prove that even though she came from a place called Tin
Can Holler and was a most of her childhood, there is hope
for a better life. She promised herself that she would someday fi nd the
truth about her beloved mother’s death.
At the age of 53, after her youngest child turned 21, Rozetta set out
on a quest to search for information about her family and her mother’s
murder. Her mother’s spirit was calling her to return to the place of
her birth and to Tin Can Holler where it all began in 1959. In February
2006 she sold her beautiful home in Florida, where she had lived for
over 34 years, and resigned from her position with a large corporation.
Discovering why her father murdered her mother was just the tip
of the iceberg. When a person brutally murders someone they proclaim
to love, it makes you question that person’s past and their upbringing.
Rozetta had no knowledge of her father’s background or his family,
but her instincts told her there had to be more to the story. Uncovering
the nightmarish details of her family’s past transgressions, traumatized
Rozetta and shocked the residents of three counties in southeast Tennessee.
Most people would not have done what Rozetta did. The family
secrets would have remained with the ghosts who haunt the ridge
where her grandmother disposed of her victims. Tragedy in Tin Can
Holler is the story of a back woods family who did unspeakable horrors.
The horrifi c cycle of hate and killings in her family span more
than a century before she was born. It’s also a story of understanding
and forgiveness. She knew she could not change or erase her family
history, but she owed it to her mother to fi nd the truth, because of all
the good that she had stood for when she was alive. She hopes her faith
and the love she inherited from her mother is all that she will need to
break the family curse, so it never surfaces again in her children, grandchildren,
nieces or nephews for generations to come.
She knew in her heart that she must set the record straight. By writing
her story she hopes to rectify the sins of her father, break the family
curse and spread her message about the dangers of domestic violence
and the horrible aftermath of what happens to the children. Even though
forty-seven years had passed since her mother’s death, and regardless
“Tragedy in Tin Can Holler is Rozetta Mowery’s account of
the hard things that led to the murder of her mother by her
father. The story, which spans generations and describes the
decades of physical, psychological, sexual and substance
abuse that culminated in that brutal murder, unspools in precise,
measured language that recalls Capote’s In Cold Blood.
Mowery in unsparing in the details as she pursues the leads
that will give her the answers she’s sought since her mother
was taken from her at age seven. Remarkably, she ends her
account with a word of forgiveness, which must be a testament
to the influence of a Higher Power. Tragedy in Tin Can should perhaps be read in pieces.
I raced through it in one sitting and couldn’t sleep for three nights. I suspect I’ll always
carry this story with me. When you read something by
Stephen King, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge
that it’s only fiction. Unfortunately, the monsters described
by Mowery don’t exist only between the covers of a book.
They’re real and they’re all the more haunting for it.”