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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Parker, Jesse

Parker, Jesse

December 01, 1954

Interview 104a : In this 1954 interview with Clyde Thompson, Jesse Parker recalls working for Southern Pine Lumber Company on log cutting crews off and on from 1900-1954. He worked in the woods, living in the lumber camps, spending 12-16 hours a day cutting logs. Mr. Parker eventually worked his way up to the position of saw boss.

Paulsey, Ray

Paulsey, Ray

September 15, 2009

Interview 182a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former Diboll Golf Pro and course manager Ray Paulsey recounts his time spent in Diboll overseeing the golf course. Hired in 1968, Mr. Paulsey oversaw the course's construction and opening and then managed the course once open, until 1975. During this time, he worked closely with Arthur Temple, Jr. and Horace Stubblefield. Under his management, the course became one of the best in East Texas. This public, nine-hole course attracted players from across the state and hosted many well-regarded tournaments.

Pavlic, Carl

Pavlic, Carl

July 02, 2010

Interview 204a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former Diboll School Board member Carl Pavlic reminisces about his life in Diboll and his time on the school board, especially during the integration of the schools. He discusses the desegregation process, working with the school administration, the teachers, and the federal government. Mr. Pavlic also talks about his grocery stores and raising his children in Diboll.

Payne, Herschel

Payne, Herschel

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.

Peters, Wilk

Peters, Wilk

September 28, 1984

Interview 19f : Wilk Peters was born in Trinity County, Texas, in 1900, and lived in the Southern Pine Lumber Company company town of Diboll, Angelina County, between 1919 and 1924. He became a college librarian and in this 1984 self-interview vividly recounts his life as a young black man in Diboll during the early 1920s. With much insight he describes working, living, and racial conditions in great detail. More on his fascinating life can be found on pages 2 through 5 of our July 2000 issue of the Pine Bough magazine.

Phillips, Dr. Larry

Phillips, Dr. Larry

August 07, 2015

Interview 275a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, long-time President of Angelina College Dr. Larry Phillips reminisces about his life, his career in education, and the successes of Angelina College.  He discusses his early years as a student and teacher and then spends most of the interview focused on Angelina College, which he presided over for 24 years as its second president.  Dr. Phillips discusses the challenges and rewards of the community college system in Texas, his belief in community colleges as agents of change in the lives of their students and in the community as a whole, the changes in the educational processes he has witnessed, and the needs of the community college system in the future.  He praises the Lufkin and Angelina County community for its support of the College and its programs and credits the community, the board, the donors, and the faculty and staff for the College’s successes over the last 50 years.  Dr. Phillips particularly mentions the vocational and nursing programs as successful programs and also discusses the community services programs, the partnerships with Buckner Family Place and local high schools, and the Angelina Arts Alliance.

Pickett, C.A. “Neal”

Pickett, C.A. “Neal”

December 11, 1982

Interview 18a : A native of Houston, Texas, Neal Pickett (1902-1990) served as mayor of that city in 1941-1942. He was married to Margaret Yarborough, sister of Ralph W. Yarborough, U.S. senator from Texas. Pickett headed the Houston district of the Federal Housing Administration from 1962 to 1967 and was instrumental in helping Diboll establish its housing authority. Pickett also helped establish the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) in 1967 and served as its first director. In this 1982 interview, Pickett tells mostly of his early experiences as head of the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce in the late 1920s and as secretary of the Lumberman's Association of Texas and manager of an insurance exchange in Houston during the 1930s. Pickett talks mainly of politics, including the Great Depression of the 1930s and the roles of presidents Hoover and Roosevelt, Civil War Reconstruction during the 1860s, and of the early Reagan administration in the 1980s.

Pickett, C.A. “Neal”

Pickett, C.A. “Neal”

February 04, 1984

Interview 18b : In this group interview, Becky Bailey interviews Neil Pickett about his time as the Federal Housing Administration Director in Houston and his efforts to bring affordable public housing to Diboll, particularly the Walter Allen addition. He discusses the procedures for getting FHA loans and Mr. Arthur Temple's involvement in the large projects in Diboll, now owned by the Diboll Housing Authority. Beatrice Burkhalter, Fenner Roth, and Herbert Weeks also contributed to the interview.

Pickett, C.A. “Neal”

Pickett, C.A. “Neal”

January 23, 1986

Interview 18c : In this interview with Megan Lambert, Neil Pickett recalls his time helping Diboll take advantage of Federal Housing Administration programs to build the Walter Allen Housing Addition. He discusses President Kennedy and Arthur Temple's similar beliefs about home ownership and the importance it plays in forming responsible citizens.

Platt, Sterling

December 10, 1986

Interview 105a : In this short interview with Jeremy Barnes, Sterling Platt describes some of his past jobs. He worked as a shepherd in Utah, in the stockyards in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in slaughterhouses collecting blood and offal for fertilizer.

Poland, Ruth

Poland, Ruth

July 10, 1985

Interview 69a : In this interview with Martha Carswell, Ruth Poland reminisces about her life growing up in Burke, Prairie Grove, and Diboll, Texas and returning to Diboll to teach. Mrs. Poland attended Lon Morris College and Stephen F. Austin State University and taught for 40 years, sponsoring many clubs and associations at Diboll High School. She saw many changes in Diboll and education over the years and discusses integration and the differences in teaching and schools from the 1930's to the 1980's.

Porter, James

Porter, James

August 10, 2010

Interview 207a : In this interview with Becky Donahoe, James Porter reminisces about his long career in education. Mr. Porter spent 30 years in Diboll as a teacher, coach, and principal, beginning at H.G. Temple during its last year and continuing through the integration process. He talks about the unique process to integrate Diboll's schools, mentioning Mr. Massey and Mr. Ramsey in particular.

Pouland, John Ralph

Pouland, John Ralph

August 29, 2014

Interview 267a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Diboll native John Ralph Pouland reminisces about growing up in Diboll, the changes in the forestry industry, and the growth of Diboll.  He mentions the early independent loggers, using mules for logging in the woods, and the beginning of chainsaw logging.  He talks about playing little league baseball, joining the football team at Diboll High School with Bobby Ramsey, and the family logging, trucking, retail and real estate businesses, including The Everything Store. 

Powell, Anna Lee

Powell, Anna Lee

August 15, 1985

Interview 76a : In an interview with Marie Davis, Sherod and Anna Lee Powell reminisce about life in Diboll, where they opened a grocery store in the 1940's. They discuss rationing during World War II, life in a company town, the changes to the town since the 1940's, and Sherod's job as city judge. Mr. and Mrs. Powell did not work for the Temple family or companies, but their livelihood depended on the company and its employees.

Powell, Sherod

Powell, Sherod

August 15, 1985

Interview 76a : In an interview with Marie Davis, Sherod and Anna Lee Powell reminisce about life in Diboll, where they opened a grocery store in the 1940's. They discuss rationing during World War II, life in a company town, the changes to the town since the 1940's, and Sherod's job as city judge. Mr. and Mrs. Powell did not work for the Temple family or companies, but their livelihood depended on the company and its employees.

Powers, John

Powers, John

December 02, 2015

279a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Fastrill and Diboll native John Powers reminisces about growing up in the Cherokee County logging camp and moving to Diboll when it was closed.  Mr. Powers delivered ice, fished, and attended school in Diboll until he joined the Marines during World War II.  Mr. Powers served in the Pacific Theater as a sniper, taking part in the invasion of Iwo Jima.  After the war, Mr. Powers married and returned to East Texas, where he worked for Texas Power and Light company, eventually ending up back in Angelina County, where he retired and spent much of his time fishing. 

Purdy, Cecil

Purdy, Cecil

July 01, 1970

Interview 2a : In this interview with Marge Shepherd, Cecil Lightfoot Purdy reminisces about growing up in Garrison, Texas and Pineland, Texas, and moving to Diboll as a married woman. Mrs. Purdy loved music, received a piano as a gift from her father, studied music and was a music and piano teacher to countless Pineland and Diboll children throughout her life.

Purdy, Cecil

Purdy, Cecil

October 05, 1984

Interview 2b : Long-time Diboll piano teacher Cecil Lightfoot Purdy recalls her time in Diboll. She began her schooling in Diboll's two-room schoolhouse with I.D. Fairchild for a teacher, moved to Garrison, and then Pineland with her family, and then returned to Diboll as a married mother of 3 girls. Mrs. Purdy taught music to several generations of Diboll children and was very active in the Methodist Church.