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.

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Hamrick, Joe

Hamrick, Joe

March 19, 2015

Interview 272a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former Scrappin’ Valley Wildlife Manager, Manager of Forestry Practices and Principles, and Manager of the Natural Forests, Joe Hamrick discusses his career at Temple Inland.  Beginning in Scrappin’ Valley in 1983, Mr. Hamrick was responsible for managing the wildlife, including white tail deer, elk, axis deer, quail, turkey, wild horses, nilgai antelope, and sika deer.  He also managed the lodge and was responsible for the company hunts that would take place in Scrappin’ Valley.  He discusses management of the wildlife, the forests, and the people, as well as the visitors (including Arthur Temple, Jr. and family, politicians, salesmen, and entertainers) who enjoyed hunting, fishing, chili cook-offs, and trap and skeet shooting.  Mr. Hamrick also discusses Red Cockaded Woodpecker habitat and management, compliance with the Endangered Species Act, working to manage special parts of the forest, and complying with environmental standards in forest management such as stream side and aesthetic management zones. He mentions John Booker, Daryl Stanley, Clifford Grum, and Dan Lay.

Hamrick, Joe

Hamrick, Joe

May 16, 2015

Interveiw 272b: In this second interview with Jonathan Gerland, Joe Hamrick discusses managing the forestry practices and principles at Temple Inland in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  He discusses the adoption and enforcement of practices that complied with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council programs.  Mr. Hamrick explains these terms and their impact on forest management at Temple Inland as well as his job, which was to explain the practices to both the forest personnel responsible for carrying them out and the sales force that was dealing with increasingly environmentally concerned customers.  He talks about changes in the industry and the company and his views on the impact the sale of the land did have and will have on the land and the company.

Harber, Charlie

Harber, Charlie

May 04, 2000

Interview 157a : Born in 1920, Charlie Harber tells interviewer Jonathan Gerland about his personal experiences living on or near Southern Pine Lumber Company and Temple Industries lands most of his life. He discusses and describes the Company ranch in Trinity County known as Rayville, the practice of pasture riding in Houston, Trinity, and Angelina counties, and the Boggy Slough and Eason Lake hunting clubs. Prominent persons mentioned include Dave Kenley, J.J. Ray, Henry Titus Mooney, Dred Devereaux, and Walter Robinson.

Harber, Charlie

Harber, Charlie

May 26, 2000

Interview 157b : In this second recorded visit between Charlie Harber and Jonathan Gerland, Harber tells of logging, cattle ranching, and deer hunting on Southern Pine Lumber Company lands along the Neches River in Angelina, Trinity, and Houston counties during the 1920s and 1930s. Most of the recording occurs while riding through Boggy Slough and Eason Lake hunting clubs, with frequent tape stops and disconnected dialogue. Places mentioned include Black Cat Lake, Johnson Hill, Rayville, Alcedo, and Walkerton. Personalities mentioned include Bonnie Brown, Clyde Thompson, and log train engineer Henry Titus Mooney.

Harber, Charlie

Harber, Charlie

October 13, 2000

Interview 157c : In this mobile interview, Jonathan Gerland and Charlie Harber discuss sites in the Boggy Slough Hunting Club and Rayville Ranch area. The talk about the Lewisville area where the Mexican goat herders lived, several section foremen (Hardy Cook and Walter Reeves), Judge Robert Minton and his family's love of hunting, and the Rayville ranch house.

Harber, Charlie

Harber, Charlie

March 27, 2002

Interview 157d : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former Rayville and Boggy Slough pasture rider Charlie Harber describes some of the sites on the old Temple ranch. He reminisces about his experiences working cattle and stopping poachers, taking those he caught to the Justice of the Peace in Apple Springs. He also mentions mule driver Edgar McAdams, a site suspected of containing remnants of an old Mexican battlefield, the Pan American pipeline site, and the Rayville ranch barbeques.

Hardy, Wilhelmenia Frazier

Hardy, Wilhelmenia Frazier

November 30, 2010

Interview 215a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland and Richard Donovan, sisters Rose Frazier Corder, Wilhelmenia Frazier Hardy, and Arverta Frazier Mosely reminisce about their lives growing up in the southern Angelina County African American settlement of Boykin Settlement in the middle of the 20th century. They all attended the Vernon County Line School (near the Blue Hole) and then went on to have professions and higher education. Mrs. Mosely attended Prairie View College and became a teacher at Camp Nancy and then spent the rest of her career as a County Home Demonstration Agent or County Extension Agent. At first the office was segregated and she only worked with African American women, but in the 1960's and 1970's the offices were racially integrated and she taught all women to can and freeze food and other domestic skills. Mrs. Hardy moved to Houston and then Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, where she attended cosmetology school and real estate school. She talks about the differences in culture and race relations in Milwaukee than in Houston and Boykin Settlement. Mrs. Corder moved to Milwaukee as a teenager to live with her sister Wilhelmenia, where she adapted to life in a school of 3000 students. She continued her education and became a nurse in Milwaukee and California, before returning to Lufkin. The Frazier sisters grew up in this African American community in a family of 13 children that all survived to adulthood. Their ancestors, the Runnels, were former slaves who settled in the area.

Harrell, Margie

Harrell, Margie

October 17, 2008

Interview 173a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Margie Harrell reminisces about her life in Diboll. Mrs. Harrell was born in Renova, south of Diboll, but moved into Diboll when she was a child. She graduated from H.G. Temple High School and soon after completing business school in Houston she started working for Mr. Massey at Diboll's black school. Mrs. Harrell began working for the Diboll Housing Authority after integration, when she lost her job at the school. She was hired by Woodrow Wood and learned the ropes at the Housing Authority, eventually becoming the director. She has worked at the Housing Authority for over 40 years. Mrs. Harrell also discusses her work in the community, with Christian Outreach and the senior citizens lunches.

Harris, Amos

May 22, 1985

Interview 059a: Amos Harris was born in Nacogdoches County in 1910 and was raised on a farm. He moved to Diboll in 1930 and began a career working for Southern Pine Lumber Company, mainly at the sawmill. An African American, he tells interviewer Becky Bailey about work and social conditions, early company management, race relations, social entertainments, and the Depression of the 1930s, continuing to the 1970s.

Harris, Lyndal

Harris, Lyndal

March 16, 2010

Interview 190a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Lyndal Harris reminisces about growing up in Burke, Texas. He recalls the Burke School and teachers Tennie Havard, Gladys Dubose, Flossie Thigpen, and Mrs. Pigford, as well as several of the stores and businesses located in the town. Mr. Harris also discusses farming and surviving the Depression, Arrington and Conner family history, picking cotton, and Mrs. Ina McCall.

Harrison, Don

Harrison, Don

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.

Havard, Charles A

Havard, Charles A

June 28, 2012

Interview 253a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland and Richard Donovan, southern Angelina County native Charles Havard reminisces about growing up in the Huntington/Zavalla/Saron/Bellview area of the county in the middle 20th century.  He talks about growing up in a rural area, where his family depended on fishing, hog raising, hunting, growing cotton, and harvesting timber for subsistence and didn’t get electricity in their home until he was almost out of high school.  Mr. Havard talks about attending school in Shawnee Prairie, Bald Hill, and Zavalla, fishing the Neches river, hunting squirrels, rounding up hogs, helping his father harvest timber, picking cotton, and making lye soap.  He also discusses social events like church services, brush arbor revival services, and cemetery workings.  He tells about joining the U.S. Army in 1953 and then working various construction jobs throughout the state as a welder before retiring in Angelina County.

Havard, Pearl Weaver

Havard, Pearl Weaver

August 08, 1985

Interview 73a : Born in 1912 as a descendant of early Angelina County settlers, Pearl Weaver Havard spent most of her life in Angelina County. In this interview with Marie Davis, she remembers going to school in Beulah and Diboll, how she played as a child, the fun activities available for teenagers, and the home remedies they relied on when the doctor was too far away. She lived through the Great Depression as a young wife, working her way through WWII at various jobs, including the Box Factory in Diboll.

Havard, Pearl Weaver

Havard, Pearl Weaver

September 09, 2008

Interview 73b : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland and Richard Donovan, Pearl Weaver Havard reminisces about growing up in Angelina County near Diboll. Mrs. Havard's father worked as a pipeline rider and she recalls the oil company's bridge that was built over the Neches in 1918, killing hogs, preserving food, walking to and from school, recreation and amusements, and life near Diboll throughout the 20th Century.

Havard, Wynn

Havard, Wynn

May 30, 2012

Interview 252a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Angelina County natives Cary Modisett and Wynn Havard reminisce about growing up along the Neches River in the middle of the 20th century. Both men speak about their homes and families, living along the river before indoor plumbing, electricity, and telephones, and the changes that took place in their community as technology advanced. They talk about fishing the river with hoop nets, moonshiners, hunting with dogs, rounding up and killing hogs, their hunting dogs, working for lumber companies, and how they amused themselves as children. Mr. Modisett and Mr. Havard mention the difficulties many of the older generations had as the lumber companies closed their land to community access and hunting and the changing game laws.

Hemphill, Carrie

Hemphill, Carrie

January 01, 1983

Interview 13a : In an interview with Becky Bailey, Carrie Hemphill recalls life as a teacher in Diboll. She remembers teaching several grades at a time, the rules for teachers, the low pay during the Depression, cleaning and heating the classrooms, and buying books. She also recalls integration and sports. Mrs. Hemphill also reflects on the differences between teaching today and teaching in the past.

Henderson, Carolyn

Henderson, Carolyn

June 01, 1999

Interview 147a : Diboll Superintendent Carolyn Henderson talks with Rebecca Donahoe about her career before becoming superintendent of Diboll Independent School District in 1995 and about the challenges facing Diboll schools. She was the first female superintendent of the Diboll schools as well as two other districts throughout her career, and she comments on the hiring process and her perceptions of it as a woman. The Diboll schools face unique challenges, according to Henderson, due to its lack of population growth and the funding issues that entails, as well as the high rate of poverty among the student population. She worked to bring the district into compliance with legal requirements, manage facility construction, and balance the budget.

Henderson, I.D.

Henderson, I.D.

October 09, 2006

Interview 250a : In this panel interview at a meeting of the Angelina County Historical Commission, Reverend Bettie Kennedy interviews alumni of Dunbar, Lufkin's African American high school. The panel included Willie Mae Burley, Lacy Chimney, Dr. Odis Rhodes, I.D. Henderson, Ellis Carrington, Sr., Charles Carrington, Ellis Carrington, Jr., and Reggie Brown. They discuss attending school and teaching school during segregation in Lufkin, the challenges and rewards of the segregated schools, and the differences once racial integration started. Mr. R.L. Kuykendall also speaks about the Dunbar trophies. Mr. Reggie Brown of Baytown then speaks about his position as a member of the Baytown Historical Association and his work with the T.J. Ford Foundation and their efforts to get Texas U.I.L to recognize the accomplishments of the segregation black schools. He talks about their efforts to recognize alumni all over the state, including East Texas.

Hendrick, Annie

Hendrick, Annie

June 11, 1985

Interview 61a : In this interview with Marie Davis, Annie and Joe Bob Hendrick reminisce about their lives in Diboll. Mrs. Hendrick recalls growing up in Manning and Diboll and Mr. Hendrick discusses working for Temple at the sawmill and helping with community projects. Mr. Hendrick volunteered to lanscape much of the town, planting trees for the bicentennial and beautifying many city, company, and private buildings. He also discusses the failed unionization of the plywood plant and the sawmill fire.

Hendrick, Joe Bob

Hendrick, Joe Bob

June 11, 1985

Interview 61a : In this interview with Marie Davis, Annie and Joe Bob Hendrick reminisce about their lives in Diboll. Mrs. Hendrick recalls growing up in Manning and Diboll and Mr. Hendrick discusses working for Temple at the sawmill and helping with community projects. Mr. Hendrick volunteered to lanscape much of the town, planting trees for the bicentennial and beautifying many city, company, and private buildings. He also discusses the failed unionization of the plywood plant and the sawmill fire.

Hendrick, Oneta Conner

Hendrick, Oneta Conner

July 12, 1985

Interview 68a : Oneta Hendrick describes the realities of farm life from 1922 onward. She talks about her childhood in Burke, TX, later moving to Lufkin, TX, and eventually to Diboll, TX in 1942. Oneta recalls a loaf of bread at 10 cents, waking at 5:30am for chores, and working at Temple White in the handle factory office. She also comments on school life, going to shows, and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp). Persons mentioned include Tennie Havard and Clyde Thompson.

Henley, Gordon

Henley, Gordon

October 22, 2009

Interview 184a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Ellen Trout Zoo Director Gordon Henley reminisces about his 33 years at the zoo in Lufkin, talks about the several stages of expansion, and explains several of the projects the zoo has undertaken. He talks about working with the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Friends of the Zoo, Lufkin City Council, and numerous volunteers. Mr. Henley details the zoo's expansion projects, including new animal habitats, the replica Mayan ruin jaguar space, the entranceways, and the most recent expansion and building project. He also mentions the Louisiana pine snake conservation project and the process for zoo accreditation.

Hensarling, Ken

Hensarling, Ken

July 27, 2017

284a: In an interview with Jonathan Gerland and Richard Donovan, Angelina County native Kenneth Hensarling reminisces about growing up in the Concord Community.  He talks about his school days, recreation, family life, church, race relations, farming, and livestock.  Mr. Hensarling’s family was forced to move off their land by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when Lake Sam Rayburn was created.  He talks about the impact that had on his community and on his family, particularly his father.  He also remembers his career working for various railroads.

Henson, James Kay

Henson, James Kay

May 01, 1991

Interview 135a : In this self-interview upon his retirement from Temple-Eastex, Kay Henson reminisces about his job over the years. He worked 40 years, beginning as a brush cutter on a survey crew. He eventually moved up to survey crew chief, Special Inspector, Chief Inspector, Assistant Manager of the Land Department, and finally, Manager of the Land Department. Mr. Henson also discussed the changes in survey technology throughout his career.

Holberg, Jeff

Holberg, Jeff

January 01, 1978

Interview 33a : In this interview with Diane Tate, Diboll City Manager Jeff Holberg (1976-1981) speaks about his job as city manager and the projects underway throughout the city. He speaks about the changes in recreational facilities and the sense of town pride.

Hollingsworth, Jack

Hollingsworth, Jack

January 04, 2001

Interview 159a : In this impromptu interview with Jonathan Gerland, longtime friends Herschel Payne and Jack Hollingsworth reminisce about their employment with Southern Pine Lumber Company during the 1950s and 1960s. Herschel Payne's experiences in the sales department dominate the interview, including places such as Houston, Dallas, and Wharton as well as Pineland and Diboll. Persons mentioned are Arthur Temple Jr., Eck Prudhomme, Herbert Adey, Bob Burns, Ed Price, Bob Burnley, Bob Weston, Rick McElroy, and Latane Temple, among others. Payne also relates experiences as a night time ambulance driver at Pineland during the early 1950s. Jack Hollingsworth briefly mentions the company's particleboard operations during the 1970s.

Holt, Robert Ken

Holt, Robert Ken

November 19, 2009

Interview 186a: In this interview with Rebecca Donahoe, Robert Ken Holt reminisces about his time in the U.S. Navy following World War II, where he was stationed on several different submarines.  Mr. Holt trained as an electrician and worked on captured German submarines and on newly designed American submarines.  After the Navy, Mr. Holt married Vivian in Boston and worked in several states as an electrician, finally moving to Diboll in 1969 to work as the chief electrician at the Particle Board plant. 

Holt, Vivian

January 01, 1988

Interview 128a : In this speech for a Diboll High School History class in 1988, Vivian Holt describes her childhood in The Philippines as the daughter of an American father and Philippine mother. She survived Japanese bombings, internment in a concentration camp, starvation, and fighting between Japanese and American forces during World War II. After the liberation of Manila, Mrs. Holt, her father, and her 2 brothers came to the United States.

Hook, Ray

June 30, 1988

Interview 131a : In this short interview with his granddaughter Tammy, Ray Hook talks about growing up on a farm in San Augustine County, Texas. He describes their crops and animals and the harvest and planting times. He also describes hog butchering and preserving the meat.

Hunt, Sellestine

July 11, 2007

Interview 231a : In this interview with R. L. Kuykendall, Sellestine Hunt recalls her childhood and education, mostly spent in East Texas. She mentions attending segregated schools in Houston and then moving back to Lufkin after her parents separation, where she continued attending segregated schools. She talks about how her parents had very little education, yet worked hard and succeeded in their jobs and provided opportunities for their children. Mrs. Hunt recalls her mother's job at the Cook hotel in Lufkin. She also recalls several incidences of racial discrimination during the 1960's, particularly at Perry Brothers and at Cook's in downtown Lufkin. She reminisces about being in the band and playing tennis and being a cheerleader at Dunbar school in Lufkin and talks about how she may have had a few more opportunities to participate in activities than her fellow African American students who chose to attend Lufkin High School during the Freedom of Choice portion of the beginning of integration. She did not have to compete with white students, who were often given an advantage in academics and extracurricular activities in the integrated schools. She fondly recalls Principal Franklin at Dunbar, who encouraged her to read more.