Research

The online home of our growing oral history interview collection.

Oral History

Our online award-winning oral history collection consists of more than 350 interviews. They are arranged alphabetically by last name under individual Alpha headings below: A, B, C, etc.  The interviews feature photographs of most interviewees, an interview description, downloadable interview transcripts, and audio files that can be streamed or downloaded. In 2007 we received the Texas Oral History Association's Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence in Community History Projects.

D

Daniel, Howard

Daniel, Howard

August 03, 2011

Interview 228a : In this wide-ranging interview with Jonathan Gerland, native Lufkinite and long-time Love Wood Products employee Howard Daniel discusses his life in the forest products industry and his musical hobbies. Mr. Daniel started at Love Wood Products in 1957 and worked as the bookkeeper, salesman, and eventually the president before the company closed in 1985. He discusses their plants in Diboll, Waco, Teneha, and the Dallas area, as well as the mechanics of making wood flour. He talks about their different products, like wood flour for school desks and roofing products and miracle bark, to name a few. Mr. Daniel also reminisces about his love for music, particularly singing, which began in the 1940's while he was in the Navy and continued with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chorale, the Seagle Colony, and choral training in New York. He also started the Temple choir that performed in Diboll at Christmas. Mr. Daniel also talks about the musical piece he is currently writing and his love of the piano.

Daniel, J. Shirley

Daniel, J. Shirley

February 15, 1985

Interview 48a : Entrepreneur J. Shirley Daniel came to Diboll in 1937 to open the town's first movie theater. Throughout his association with Diboll, he owned two different theaters, ran the Antler's Hotel, and worked as a pulpwood contractor. His first theater came to be known as "The Tonk" and the second theater was The Timberland Theater.

Darden, Helen

Darden, Helen

May 13, 2011

Interview 223a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland and Richard Donovan, East Texas native Helen Darden reminisces about growing up as an African American girl in Deep East Texas before integration and the civil rights movement. Mrs. Darden grew up in an African American community that spanned the Angelina and Jasper County lines, centered around the Blue Hole and the Vernon County Line School. She recalls swimming in the Blue Hole, the mining efforts that took place there, and the nearby turpentine camp and community. She also discusses her relatives the Runnels family and her experiences finishing school in Houston in order to get a high school diploma.

Davis, Marie

Davis, Marie

September 13, 1993

Interview 142a : In this speech to the Angelina County Historical Forum, Marie Davis talks about the Diboll Historical Society's research process for finding the old Southern Pine Lumber Company logging camp Lindsey Springs. They eventually found the campsite, and will erect an historical marker.

Davis, Marie

Davis, Marie

May 09, 1995

Interview 137a : In this speech to the Angelina Historical Forum on May 9, 1995, Marie Davis presents the results of her research on Clark's Ferry, Clark's Cemetery, and Renova, all areas to the south of Diboll on the Neches River.

Davis, Marjorie Pickle

Davis, Marjorie Pickle

July 18, 1984

Interview 42a : In this interview with Megan Lambert and Edythe Weeks, Marjorie Pickle Davis reminisces about growing up in Diboll at the Star Hotel. Her father worked for the Texas Southeastern Railroad, but her mother, Ruth Estes Pickle, and grandmother, Emily Estes, ran the Star Hotel boarding house. She describes cooking and cleaning for the boarders, mostly Southern Pine Lumber Company workers from the time she was a young child.

Davis, Norman

February 24, 2017

Interview 282a: In this interview Jonathan Gerland speaks with former Temple Inland hardwood forester Norman Davis about his experiences with the company in the 1990’s.  They discuss the condition of the hardwood bottomlands, the process of cutting these bottomlands, and the philosophy for managing hardwood bottomlands in East Texas.  Mr. Davis talks about the hardwood management plan, the attitudes of company officials towards hardwood cutting (particularly Arthur Temple, Jr. and Jack Sweeny), the company’s foray into Eucalyptus farming in Mexico, and beaver trapping.  They discuss Boggy Slough, in particular.

Davis, Tuey McCarty

Davis, Tuey McCarty

August 01, 2006

Interview 167a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Tuey McCarty Davis reminisces about growing up in Burke. She mentions attending school in the two-story school building in Burke, driving her father's Model-T car to school in Diboll and Lufkin, visiting the stores owned by Miss Ina McCall, the Courtney', and the Keel's and the Campbell's. She also mentions her grandfather Harvey Belote and his Burke sawmill, which closed before she was born.

Deason, Joe

Deason, Joe

October 26, 2012

Interview 254a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Joe Deason reminisces about growing up in the Trinity County African American community of Nigton.  He talks about his grandfather, his parents, going to the segregated school, attending Diboll’s segregated H.G. Temple School for high school and race relations.  He mentions his brief visits to and experience with segregation in Lufkin, attending Prairie View A&M for college, and time in the military in Vietnam.

Denman, Beth

Denman, Beth

March 05, 1986

Interview 93a : In this interview with Marie Davis, long time Diboll resident Beth Denman talks about her life in Diboll from the 1950's to the 1980's. When her husband, Joe Denman, moved to Diboll to work for Southern Pine Lumber Company, she followed him and witnessed the town's change from dusty company town to thriving small city. She recalls the process to sell citizens their homes, paving the roads and fencing the livestock, all of the amenities and services the town had, and the sense of camaraderie and community that led to close friendships for children and adults.

Denman, Joe C. Jr.

Denman, Joe C. Jr.

Interview 79b : Joe C. Denman, Joe Denman and Carolyn Elmore discuss the origins Diboll Day and the Diboll Booster Club. Mr. Denman also talks about the beginnings of the plywood operations, land and timber management, and the failed Champion merger.

Denman, Joe C. Jr.

Denman, Joe C. Jr.

October 24, 1985

Interview 79a : Longtime Temple executive Joe Denman speaks with Megan Lambert about Temple company history. Mr. Denman recalls how he came to work for Arthur Temple, Jr. after graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in architecture. He describes his rise through the company ranks, working in the offices, in the plants, and then as an executive. He also discusses the failed merger with Champion, the successful merger and spin-off with TIME, and other companies like Exeter, Sabine investments.

Denman, Joe C. Jr.

Denman, Joe C. Jr.

June 02, 2000

Interview 79c : In this speech to the Angelina County Historical Commission, Joe C. Denman, Jr. reminisces about his time as a Navy pilot during World War II. A member of the Navy football team in 1943, Mr. Denman earned his wings and trained as a Corsair pilot landing and taking off from carriers. He was never sent overseas, but stayed in the Navy after the war, graduating from Texas A&M and participating in Naval Reserve activities until the mid-1950's. Mr. Denman describes his training, his planes, and some of his experiences while in the Navy.

Devereaux, Dred D.

Devereaux, Dred D.

December 01, 1954

Interview 7a:  In this 1954 interview with John Larson of the Forest History Society, Dred Devereaux, longtime head of the Texas Southeastern Railroad Buildings and Bridges Department, talks about the changes in logging practices and railroads during his tenure in the business, from about 1905 to the 1950’s.  He talks about the changes in logging – from oxen to mules to machines and the changes in the railroads, from gauge sizes and manual labor to mechanized construction.  He talks about working with Clyde Thompson, E.C. Durham, T.L.L. Temple, Arthur Temple, Sr. and Arthur Temple, Jr. of Southern Pine Lumber Company.  Mr. Devereaux compares working conditions and pay and the quality of workers from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century.  He describes the first crane used on TSE tracks and how he righted a wrecked locomotive with the help of longtime engineer Titus Mooney in 1937.

Devereaux, Frank

Devereaux, Frank

February 09, 2012

Interview 247a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Frank Devereaux reminisces about his life growing up in Diboll and attending high school in Lufkin. He also describes his time in the Army Air Corps during World War II and playing high school football in Lufkin. Although a resident of Diboll, Mr. Devereaux moved to Lufkin in order to play football at Lufkin High School for legendary coach Abe Martin. After a short time in college, Mr. Devereaux joined the Army Air Corps and became a bombardier on a B-25 in the 12th Air Force, 380th Bomb Squadron, 310th Bomb Group based on the island of Corsica and then in Fano, Italy. Returning home from the war, he finished his degree and became a teacher and football coach in south and southeast Texas in the districts of West Columbia, Angleton, and Huffman, eventually becoming a school Superintendent and retiring as the Assistant Superintendent of the Cleveland, Texas schools. He also mentions the racial integration of Cleveland's schools.

Devereaux, Jack

Devereaux, Jack

October 05, 2011

Interview 238a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Diboll native Jack Devereaux reminisces about growing up in Diboll, playing baseball, and attending school. Born in 1915, Mr. Devereaux played baseball as a child, in school for Diboll High School, and for the Diboll Millers. He mentions E.H. Bush, Joe Strauss, Morris Agee, Connie Albritton, Rankin Weatherby, and Frosty Davis. He also talks about his father, Dred Devereaux and his building projects for Southern Pine Lumber Company and the Texas Southeastern Railroad. Mr. Devereaux reminisces about some teenaged adventures in the various cars he owned, working for the TSE, and visiting family in various parts of East Texas.

Diboll, C.C

Diboll, C.C

January 01, 1984

Interview 72a : Diboll Family descendant C.C. Diboll talks about the Diboll family's lands and the sale of the lands that eventually became Diboll and its mills. He talks about family history, their land ownership, and their interaction with the Temple family.

Dixon, Johnnie

Dixon, Johnnie

June 15, 2010

Interview 199a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Johnnie Dixon reminisces about growing up in Diboll and attending Diboll Colored School and H.G. Temple School in the 1950's and 1960's before school integration. She remembers several of her teachers, including Inez Smith, Willie Ross, Mr. Jeffero, Mrs. Gilbert, and Mr. Massey. She also recalls Diboll Day and the segregated events, especially in 1964 when she was nominated as one of the Diboll Day Queen candidates for the African American community. After graduation, Mrs. Dixon worked in the Diboll schools for 36 years, starting out as an elementary school P.E. aid and eventually retiring in 2009 as the high school receptionist. Mrs. Dixon recalls going to The Family Affair club, The Timberland Theater, Joe Diamond's Café, and Pavlic's and Powell's grocery stores.

Dolben, David

Dolben, David

September 22, 2015

276a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, David Dolben recounts his career at Time, Inc., particularly his time spent in Diboll as an assistant to Arthur Temple, Jr. He describes the relationships between the New York and Diboll offices and the Diboll and Evadale operations, the problems they encountered, and the decisions they made, and the unique challenges presented by paper mill, the building products operations, and the media operations based in New York. He explains some of the reasons for Time’s acquisition of Temple and for the eventual spin-off. Mr. Dolben is particularly interested in describing Arthur Temple as a businessman and as a man, recounting stories about his interactions with people from all walks of life and his attitude toward business, his employees, and his family. In addition to Arthur, he mentions Mike Buckley, Andrew Heiskell, Charlie Stillman, Jim Shepley, Kenneth Nelson, Walter Stern, Mike Dingman, Earnest Grossman, Henry Holubec, Joe Denman, Harold Maxwell, and Lottie Temple.

Donovan, Richard

Donovan, Richard

April 08, 2009

Interview 178a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland during a meeting of the Diboll Historical Society, Richard Donovan reminisces about his life in Angelina County and his work as an advocate for the area's rivers and forests. Mr. Donovan recalls growing up in Zavalla and spending his days hunting and fishing in the Angelina and Neches river bottoms. He also talks about working for Temple in Waco, Pineland, and Diboll and starting his Lufkin real estate business with his wife, Bonnie. Mr. Donovan spends most of the interview talking about his efforts as an advocate for the Neches River and the area's national forestlands. He mentions his canoe trips down the Neches, the need to have it declared a Wild and Scenic River, the damage caused by pollution, clear cutting, and replacing the native trees with non-native plantation trees, and the need for the public's awareness and efforts to stop dams like Fastrill and Rockland.

Donovan, Richard

Donovan, Richard

August 02, 2017

Interview 178b: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, long-time Angelina County resident and conservationist Richard Donovan talks about his father, Allen T. Donovan, touching on his early career but focusing on his time at the Xact Clays and Magcobar mining operations near Zavalla.  He talks about growing up in Zavalla, spending time at the plant with is father, a childhood accident, interactions with African Americans, and earning money as a child.  Mr. Donovan also discusses the changes within southern Angelina County and East Texas at large, as the lumber companies moved in and changed the economy and the landscape and then left again.  He talks about farming, hay baling, stock raising and the coming of the stock laws, types of trees, and race relations.  Jonathan asks about the current state of the East Texas environment and problems with development and Mr. Donovan discusses these issues as well.

Dover, Carroll

Dover, Carroll

August 16, 2000

Interview 222a: In this informal interview with Jonathan Gerland, longtime Texas Southeastern Railroad employees and retirees Charles Foster, Gary Mike Smith, Don Harrison, George Honea, and Carroll Dover share memories of working for the shortline railroad in Diboll on the occasion of the railroad turning one hundred years old. Fond memories of working experiences and various personalities are recalled. Some of the people remembered are C.A. Jordan, R.A. “Boots” Jackson, W.J. “Professor” Jackson, Odair Womack, Willard Conner, and Jimmie Beth Durham.

Dover, James

Dover, James

January 01, 1978

Interview 9a : In an interview with Vivian Holt, Diboll City Manager James Dover explains his job responsibilities and the relationship between the mayor, city council, and city manager. He briefly touches on some of Diboll's problems and his hopes for the city's future.

Dunlap, Jim

Dunlap, Jim

July 22, 1985

Interview 71a : In this interview with Becky Bailey shortly after beginning his tenure as Superintendent of Diboll Schools, Jim Dunlop talks about his educational background, his experience as an educator, and his hopes and plans for Diboll's schools. Mr. Dunlop taught at Central School from 1969 to 1971, when he moved to Diboll as Civics, P.E., and History teacher. He moved through administrative positions, holding the title of "Director of Special Projects" for 15 months, Elementary School Principal, Business Manager, and Superintendent. He was concerned with Diboll's school facilities, the teachers' working conditions, and providing a quality education for Diboll's children with the money he was given.

Durham, Bruce

Durham, Bruce

October 28, 2010

Interview 212a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, friends Mark Shepherd and Bruce Durham reminisce about their Diboll school days. As 5th graders, Shepherd and Durham experienced the racial integration of Diboll schools. They recall very few problems with integration, and as children, just accepted that it was happening. The sons of community leaders (Mark Shepherds parents were C.H. and Margorie Shepherd; Bruce's parents were Paul and Jimmie Beth Durham), they were expected to behave in school and treat all students and teachers with respect. Both men were involved in sports and played on integrated teams from Junior High through High School. They were especially complimentary of the African American teachers that came into their lives after integration, especially Coach Porter and Mr. Massey.