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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Nash, Cora

Nash, Cora

November 05, 1982

Interview 16a : A Diboll resident since 1919, Mrs. Cora Nash, with the help of her daughter, Sara Brown, recalls for interviewer Becky Bailey her experiences in Diboll as an African American working woman from 1919 to the 1980's. She talks about her work as a cook in the various hotels and boarding houses in Diboll, including Mrs. Della William's Beanery, the Star Hotel, and The Antler's Hotel (which she calls The Log Cabin). She talks about the long hours the men worked at the sawmill, the Great Depression (which she calls "The Panic"), Arthur Temple Sr. and Arthur Temple, Jr.

Nelson, Floyd

December 10, 1986

Interview 113a : In this short interview with Cheri Luce, Floyd Nelson recalls the home remedies his father would use to keep his family healthy. They included kerosene and turpentine for colds, kerosene for snakebites, and kerosene and tobacco to disinfect a wound caused by a rusty nail. Mr. Nelson also recalls the use of sassafras tea and soda and honey.

Nelson, H. Edwin

Nelson, H. Edwin

August 04, 1999

Interview 151a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Edwin Nelson reminisces about his life in Diboll. The son of Southern Pine Lumber Company's timekeeper, Nelson talks about growing up and going to school in Diboll and Lufkin, his jobs at the planer and in the car line, and joining the Navy during World War II. He also discusses working at the Believe it or Not Café (and serving Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde fame) and starting the first fire department in Diboll.

Nelson, Kenneth

Nelson, Kenneth

August 17, 1985

Interview 75a : Longtime surveyor and land and timber expert Kenneth Nelson (1915-1992) discusses topics from his time in the Land and Timber Department. He mentions cattle ranching and Dave Kenley's involvement with the cattle on Temple lands. Nelson, who retired from Temple-Inland as vice president of the forestry division, talks about his job as surveyor - how he got his job during the Depression and how he worked for Mr. Kenley and taught himself to be a surveyor. Also mentioned are the sustained yeild program for the timeberlands, the reintroduction of deer to East Texas, Boggy Slough, R.E. Minton, and Dred Devereaux.

Nelson, Kenneth

Nelson, Kenneth

September 27, 1985

Interview 75b : In this second interview by Megan Lambert, Kenneth Nelson (1915-1992) continues his remembrances of experiences in Southern Pine Lumber Company's Land & Timber Department. He discusses early land and timber purchases and surveying, logging practices, the beginning of a sustained yield program in forest management, and provides information about his own employment history, including working for Dave Kenley. He also discusses his involvement in numerous civic, government, and professional organizations, including service clubs, forestry associations, the Texas Forestry Museum, water districts, planning and zoning, and the Diboll school board.

Nelson, Kenneth

Nelson, Kenneth

November 30, 1987

Interview 75c : In this 1987 interview with Joel Cook, Kenneth Nelson (1915-1992) provides some biographical detail not covered in his earlier interviews. He again tells of working in Southern Pine Lumber Company's Land & Timber Department and working under Dave Kenley, but he does it less anecdotally than in the two interviews with Megan Lambert in 1985. With much insight, Nelson also contrasts the working conditions and attitudes of the 1930's with those of the 1980's.

Neyland, Sonny

February 15, 2011

Interview 217a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Sonny Neyland reminisces about his years involved with Diboll Youth Baseball. A longtime coach and one time director of the program, Neyland discusses his early years of coaching, the structure of the league, racial integration of the league, league finances, and changes from the 1960's through the 1980's. He mentions fellow coaches J.L. Smith, Monk Warner, Pete Smith, Lester Tidwell, Howard Mullins, and Charles Havard. He also discusses starting the girls softball program in the 1970's since his daughters wanted to play. He particularly mentions Emmett King, one of his first African-American players. Mr. Neyland also remembers his participation in Diboll Day activities when he worked for C.H. Shepherd at the Fiberboard plant.

Norman, Jack

Norman, Jack

September 16, 2013

262a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Jack Norman reminisces about his years as bartender, waiter, lawn mower, and odd-jobs helper at Scrappin’ Valley.  He discusses the events and parties he helped with at the Temple company retreat center, the famous people who visited, and the hunting parties that entertained the company’s employees and changes that took place.  He describes the facility and his fellow workers and reminisces about serving drinks to Arthur Temple, Jr., Charlie Wilson, Lady Bird Johnson, Kenny Jastrow, Anne Archer, and other guests.  He also describes the hunting and fishing parties and the initiation ceremony for the Sportsmen of Boggy Slough.