|Gravestone of James Morrison, Willow Dale Cemetery
Fast forward almost 100 years and with the passage of the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938 it was determined that a dam should be built on the Allegheny River south of Morrison's Island and the village of Kinzua in order to control flooding further south. Two decades later construction of the dam began and it was completed in 1965. The resulting reservoir would completely submerge not only Morrison's Island, but the entire Kinzua Creek Valley to include the village and the old cemetery. The memory of those buried in that cemetery would be preserved by moving the gravestones to the Willow Dale Cemetery, outside Bradford in McKean County, Pennsylvania.
The news of the impending deluge prompted my Great-grandfather Jesse Melat and his nephew Boyd Melat to pay one last visit to the ancient burial ground before the gravestones were moved. My cousin Karen Campbell Britton remembers that the pilgramage to the cemetery probably took place sometime in 1959 and included my great-grandparents Jess and Lizzie Melat, her grandparents Boyd and Rose Melat, her parents Bruce and Betty (Melat) Campell, herself and her sister Beth. These photographs, probably taken by my Great-grandmother Melat, document the visit. Cousin Karen is pictured along with her grandfather Boyd Melat at the grave of our ancestor Zephaniah Morrison (right). My Great-grandfather Melat is pictured at the grave of his aunt Cynthia Morrison Strong (below). Karen remembers visiting the cemetery once again when it was "totally surrounded with high barricades [in the midst of] the process of moving the graves." She remembers "thinking how creepy that was." Those gravestones can be seen today in the Willow Creek Cemetery. A picture of Zephaniah Morrison's gravestone in its current location can be found at www.findagrave.com.