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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Laing, Frank

Laing, Frank

December 01, 1954

Interview 104a : In this short 1954 interview with Clyde Thompson, former Texas Southeastern conductor Frank Laing remembers working on the Texas Southeastern Railroad hauling passengers, freight, and longs from Diboll to Lufkin, and then out to Bluff City.

Landers, Louis Jr.

Landers, Louis Jr.

January 05, 2010

Interview 180b : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Louis Landers reminisces about integration at Diboll High School. A member of the first integrated football, basketball, and track teams, Louis recalls the first football practices, life at school and in classes, and other daily school events surrounding desegregation at Diboll High School. He was good friends with many of the former H.G. Temple High School players, especially sports standout Johnny Jones. Louis also remembers Coach Jim Simmons and Coach Billy Bert as instrumental in helping that first step of the integration process go smoothly. He mentions several instances where Diboll's early integration caused problems as the teams traveled around East Texas, particularly at a basketball game in Groveton and a restaurant in Nacogdoches.

Lavell, Blair

Lavell, Blair

February 08, 2002

Interview 164a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Texas State Railroad Maintenance Superintendent Blair Lavell reminisces about his years working for the railroad. A veteran of tourist railroads in other areas of the state, Mr. Lavell came to the TSR in the mid-1970's. He describes the engines, the tracks, and the bridges, the struggles to get the railroad started and to maintain it. Mr. Lavell recalls the politics involved in working with a state organization and he also describes working on movies that have used the TSR tracks and engines.

Lawrence, Dr. Wayne

Lawrence, Dr. Wayne

November 29, 2016

Interview 281a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Dr. Wayne Lawrence reminisces about his life and career, particularly about his work as the first director of the Burke Center. Dr. Lawrence speaks about his childhood and school days, his early career at the Lufkin State School and the Travis State School. He worked as a psychologist and supervised dormitories and residents in both institutions. In 1974 he moved back to Angelina County to direct the area’s Mental Health and Mental Retardation agency, known as the Burke Center. He worked for the Center for over 9 years, starting its programs, hiring the staff, and working with judges and commissioners and citizens in 13 area counties. Following his time at the Burke Center, Dr. Lawrence worked in private practice. In this interview he mentions Ward Burke, Bill Beaver, Si Morrison, and Susan Rushing, among others, for their contributions to the advancement of MHMR care in Texas and in Angelina County, specifically.

Lenderman, Barley

Lenderman, Barley

August 10, 2011

Interview 230a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, longtime Angelina County Airport employee and manager Barley Lenderman reminisces about his career with the airport. Starting during high school in 1972, Mr. Lenderman spent his entire working life at the Angelina County airport, going from mowing and bush hogging the grounds to bookkeeping to assistant manager to manager. He spent 30 years as the airplanes and the field of aviation changed. He talks about the changing aircraft types, the changes in rules and federal regulations and personnel, getting a instrument landing system, lengthening the runways to accommodate larger planes, and the rises in fuel costs. Mr. Lenderman discusses the famous (and infamous) airport visitors, reminisces about commuter air service to Lufkin, and talks about the famous airport café.

Lewis, Yvonne

258a: In this interview with Carolyn Elmore, longtime Temple employees Dorothy Birdwell, J.D. Johnson, Yvonne Lewis, and Gene Beck reminisce about their career with Temple and the companies that preceded it.  They talk particularly about the offices that were moved to Diboll after the merger with Time, Inc., including tax offices and land and timber offices in Hemphill and Jasper, former offices of Southwestern Settlement and Development and Houston Oil Company.

Ligon, Henry

Ligon, Henry

April 08, 1988

Interview 121a : In an interview with Jim Ligon, Henry Ligon recalls living and working in Diboll as an African-American man. He also discusses the First Methodist Church and its members and pastors since the 1930's. Mr. Ligon also recalls the baseball team and names many of the players.

Ligon, Jim

Ligon, Jim

November 06, 2009

Interview 185a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Diboll native Jim Ligon reminisces about growing up as part of Diboll's black community during the Great Depression and in the 1940's. He talks about his father's restaurant, The Froggy Bottom Café, the boxers and performers like Count Basie that visited the café, and his famous barbeque. He recalls his years in the segregated school, especially Professor and Mrs. Bradley and their contributions, and his other teachers. He speaks about his time living in Seattle with his brother, where he experienced an integrated society for the first time riding a bus and sitting anywhere he wanted, as well as attending school and working at Bowing with whites and other races. Mr. Ligon also talks about race relations in Diboll, particularly Jay Boren, the quarter boss or special ranger that had a quasi-law enforcement job in Diboll.

Ligon, Lee

Ligon, Lee

September 28, 1999

Interview 154a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Emma Jean PatAllen Ligon and Lemon Ligon reminisce about growing up in Diboll as members of the African American community. Mrs. Ligon was the daughter of Walter Allen, beloved millpond foreman and namesake of a Diboll park. Mr. Ligon has many family members in the area as well. Both Ligons recall going to school at H.G. Temple School, shopping at the commissary, segregation and integration, Red Town, fishing, hunting, and helping to put out fires. Mr. and Mrs. Ligon were friends as children and each separately moved away from Diboll as teenagers, but both moved back and they were married in 1992.

Ligon, Lee

Ligon, Lee

November 08, 2000

Interview 154b: In this interview with R.L. Kuykendall, Lee and Pat Ligon reminisce about growing up in Diboll’s African American community in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Lee was raised by his grandparents in Nigton, Lufkin, and Diboll before joining the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1951; he returned to Angelina County in the1980’s.  Pat Allen Ligon is the daughter of Southern Pine Lumber Company’s foreman Walter Allen.  The Ligons describe growing up in a segregated logging community and going to segregated schools.  They mention attending the movies in town, visiting the cafes, and dealing with racial tension.  They also discuss constable Jay Boren and law enforcement in the African American section of town.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Ligon compare their schooling to that of late 20th century children.

Ligon, Pat Allen

Ligon, Pat Allen

September 28, 1999

Interview 154a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Emma Jean Pat Allen Ligon and Lemon Ligon reminisce about growing up in Diboll as members of the African American community. Mrs. Ligon was the daughter of Walter Allen, beloved millpond foreman and namesake of a Diboll park. Mr. Ligon has many family members in the area as well. Both Ligons recall going to school at H.G. Temple School, shopping at the commissary, segregation and integration, Red Town, fishing, hunting, and helping to put out fires. Mr. and Mrs. Ligon were friends as children and each separately moved away from Diboll as teenagers, but both moved back and they were married in 1992.

Ligon, Pat Allen

Ligon, Pat Allen

November 08, 2000

Interview 154b: In this interview with R.L. Kuykendall, Lee and Pat Ligon reminisce about growing up in Diboll’s African American community in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Lee was raised by his grandparents in Nigton, Lufkin, and Diboll before joining the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1951; he returned to Angelina County in the1980’s.  Pat Allen Ligon is the daughter of Southern Pine Lumber Company’s foreman Walter Allen.  The Ligons describe growing up in a segregated logging community and going to segregated schools.  They mention attending the movies in town, visiting the cafes, and dealing with racial tension.  They also discuss constable Jay Boren and law enforcement in the African American section of town.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Ligon compare their schooling to that of late 20th century children.

Lilly, Rosie

September 26, 1988

Interview 242a : In this interview with Valencia Kuykendall for the East Texas in the 1940's By Word of Mouth publication, Rosie Lilly recalls life in the 1940's. She talks about World War II and its impact on her family, her many years spent singing in churches and traveling to revivals, and the positive influence of her family.

Lindsey, Bill

Lindsey, Bill

December 30, 1985

Interview 140a : Pilot Bill Lindsey, in an interview with Carolyn Elmore, recalls his experiences as an Army Air Corps pilot from World War II until 1962. During the war he spent time training all over the United States and then flew missions over the Indian subcontinent in the China Burma India Theater of operations. After the war, Mr. Lindsey was stationed all over the world  Germany (taking part in the Berlin airlift in 1948), Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Lebanon. After retiring from the Air Force, Mr. Lindsey began working as the corporate pilot for Temple. He flew all over the country as Temple's pilot.

Lowery, Elvin “Buddy”

Lowery, Elvin “Buddy”

July 23, 2015

Interview 274a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland and Richard Donovan, Elvin “Buddy” Lowery reminisces about his life.  Mr. Lowery was born the youngest of 11 children in Smyrna, Nacogdoches County.  His family moved to Huntington, Angelina County when he was a child, and he graduated from Huntington High School, where he played basketball and baseball.  After high school Mr. Lowery played basketball and attended Panola Junior College and Stephen F. Austin State University.  He then went on to play basketball for the ABA New York Tuck Tapers and the NBA Detroit Pistons.  While in New York, Mr. Lowery spent his off time as a model, even trying out to be the Marlboro Man and appeared as a contestant on The Price is Right.  After one season in the NBA, he returned to Huntington where he joined his brother Lester in the sawmill business.  Eventually he and his brothers and nephews would own three sawmills and three chipmills and would be founders of Huntington State Bank.  Mr. Lowery discusses his childhood on a farm, hunting hogs, picking cotton, rounding up cattle in the woods, hand-making railroad ties, delivering loads of ties to the docks in Beaumont, raising exotic wildlife, and running a bank with his family.

Lymbery, Don

Lymbery, Don

August 26, 2010

Interview 210a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, pilot and Air Force Veteran Don Lymbery discusses his involvement with the Experimental Air Craft Association and the Angelina County Airport. Topics discussed include the Fajita Fly-In, the Young Eagles, and the annual convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He also talks about improvements to the airport, building and flying an experimental aircraft, and the group's community involvement.