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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Ramirez, Rosa Miranda

May 04, 1994

Interview 145a : In this interview with Marie Davis, Rosa Miranda Ramirez reminisces about living in White City, Fastrill, and Diboll, Texas. She recalls life at Fastrill with everyone working together and raising food and sugar cane to make it through the Depression. Mrs. Ramirez also talks about race relations, being a Hispanic in Fastrill and Diboll, and her feelings on the company's efforts to bring in more Hispanics to Diboll.

Ramsey, Robert Sr.

Ramsey, Robert Sr.

March 12, 1985

Interview 49b : Longtime Diboll teacher and Principal Robert Ramsey reminisces about his time in the Diboll schools. He talks about superintendents Wilbur Pate and David Foster, integration, sports, and racial issues. He particularly recalls some of the difficulties of desegregation and the influx of Mexican Americans into Diboll schools.

Ramsey, Robert Sr.

Ramsey, Robert Sr.

July 10, 1985

Interview 49a : Shelby County, Texas native Robert Ramsey recalls his time as a much loved and respected teacher, coach, and principal in Diboll. In this interview with Becky Bailey, Mr. Ramsey reminisces about coming to Diboll, starting a football team, building sports and educational facilities, working with the citizens and the company to fund the school, and the challenges of running a rural school district with a limited tax base. Mr. Ramsey briefly mentions integration and the African American and Hispanic communities in Diboll. Mr. Ramsey presided over a period of great change within the town and the schools.

Ramsey, Robert Sr.

Ramsey, Robert Sr.

July 14, 2004

Interview 49c : In this interview with former student Patsy Colbert, former Diboll High School Principal Robert Ramsey reminisces about his own school days, college at The College of Marshall and Stephen F. Austin State University, his teaching career at Blair and Mt. Herman, coming to Diboll, and the issues facing the district. He discusses starting the 11-man football team, building the football field, starting the band, the transition to independent school district, building the new high school, and integration. Mr. Ramsey recalls Willie Massey and Walter Pate as effective and important colleagues and talks about the support Arthur Temple, Jr. gave to the Diboll Schools.

Rector, Louise

October 25, 1984

Interview 34b : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Vina Wells and her daughter Louise Rector recall moving to Fastrill from White City and living and working in Fastrill. Mrs. Wells ran the boarding house with her mother, and Mrs. Rector helped with boarding house duties until she moved out to get married. They discuss the trip from White City to Fastrill, the houses in Fastrill, the layout of the town, all of their duties at the boarding house, going to school, the roads, and way of life in this semi-permanent Southern Pine Lumber Company logging camp.

Reinhardt, Cloyce

Reinhardt, Cloyce

June 24, 2011

Interview 225a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Polk County native Cloyce Reinhardt reminisces about his life and family. He talks about his father and grandfather's work on the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity, and Sabine railroad, growing up and going to school in Stryker and Corrigan, his time in the United States Marine Corps, and his career in the auto parts and wrecker business. Mr. Reinhardt also talks about his friend Mr. Jay Morrison and their adventures visiting abandoned railroad tracks and logging towns as well as riding an old motorcar. He tells stories about his days driving a wrecker and recounts stories that his father told him about railroading in East Texas in the early 20th century.

Reynolds, Lynn

Reynolds, Lynn

April 23, 2013

257a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, longtime Trinity County Commissioner Lynn Reynolds reminisces about his 36 years as a member of the Commissioner’s Court.  He talks about his reasons for running for commissioner, his duties while on the court and the changes in the county and in politics throughout his tenure.  He talks about taxes, property appraisal, landfills, roads, and the Deep East Texas Council of Governments.  He also discusses the effect of Lake Livingston and the National Forests on Trinity County’s finances and citizens.

Reynolds, Stephen H.

Reynolds, Stephen H.

January 26, 2016

Interview 280a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former Lufkin Industries Foundry General Manager and Global Procurement Manager Stephen Reynolds discusses his life and career at Lufkin Industries.  A Lufkin native, Mr. Reynolds was an industrial engineer that started with the company a few years after graduating from Lamar University.  He worked at the Foundry and eventually became the General Manager.  Later he was named Global Procurement Manager and travelled the world finding supplies and manufacturing sites for the company.  Mr. Reynolds discusses his early career as an engineer, the changes he has seen in the foundry business, and in Lufkin in particular, since the early 1980’s, and many of the people he worked with at Lufkin Industries.  He discusses the successful times before the oil bust of the early 1980’s, surviving the economically difficult times, making the foundry and it’s processes more efficient, learning new technology, and the struggles to find and maintain commercial foundry customers when Lufkin’s own foundry needs became lower.  He mentions Clayton Jircik, Jay Glick, Frank Stevenson, Herb Green, Frank Martin, and Scott Semlinger, among others.

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

January 01, 2001

Interview 232b : In this interview with R.L. Kuykendall, Dr. Odis Rhodes speaks about growing up in Lufkin after moving from rural Nacogdoches county, attending Dunbar during segregation, and living through the World War II years. He describes the primitive plumbing conditions in his neighborhoods growing up and recalls the first indoor plumbing and washing machine in his family. He recalls his early teaching career and Brandon and Garrett and Dunbar, Lufkin's African American schools before and during desegregation and the issues that surrounded integration of the schools, hospitals, and parks. He talks about Jones Park, Dr. Packard and Dr. Allen, and the beginnings of new black neighborhoods once the local foundries began facilitating borrowing at local banks for their African American employees. Dr. Rhodes talks about his predictions for the future, which include a continued struggle for equality and more difficulties between the races.

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

January 10, 2001

Interview 232a : In this interview with R.L. Kuykendall, Dr. Odis Odean Rhodes discusses growing up in rural Nacogdoches County and moving to Lufkin, attending the segregated Dunbar High School in Lufkin, and continuing his education at Wiley College. Dr. Rhodes discusses the differences between his school in the rural Nacogdoches County, Winters Hill and the more urban Dunbar in Lufkin. He also discusses the differences in school discipline and child raising from his adolescence to the present day. Dr. Rhodes talks about racism in Lufkin and Nacogdoches and living in segregated neighborhoods. He gives details about the various African American neighborhoods in Lufkin, their boundaries, and social life within them.

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

June 12, 2006

Interview 232c : For the June 2006 meeting of the Angelina County Historical Commission, Dr. Odis Rhodes and other members of Lufkin's African American shared their stories about growing up in a segregated society and coming to an appreciation of their race and heritage during the Civil Rights movement and desegregation. The program is moderated by Dickie Dixon and several members of the panel and the audience speak about their experiences. Most of the voices are not identified, but R.L. Kuykendall and Barbara Thompson are identified.

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

Rhodes, Dr. Odis

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.

Rhone, James

Rhone, James

April 24, 1986

Interview 100a : In this interview with Marie Davis, long-time Diboll resident James Rhone reminisces about growing up as an African-American child in Diboll in the 1930's through the 1950's. He talks about the black school, recreation activities for children, and the families they knew. He also recalls starting with the Temple companies and working his way up, to where he was in charge of all the trucks dispatching them from all of the plants and making sure all orders were filled in time. Mr. Rhone speaks about his race and its influence on his career, and the changes integration brought to Diboll as a member of the school board and the housing authority.

Rhone, James

Rhone, James

July 20, 2010

Interview 100b : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, James Rhone reminisces about growing up in Diboll, attending school at the Diboll Colored School and H.G. Temple School, race relations, and integration. A graduate of H.G. Temple, Mr. Rhone has many memories of the segregated schools and also experienced sending his daughters to school after integration. He talks about the school accreditation process, basketball and football, text books and other aspects of school life. Mr. Rhone also reminisces about his 45 years working for Temple and the many community activities he was involved in throughout the years, including Cub Scouts, Diboll Day, Juneteenth celebrations, the Walter Allen Park and Pool, the Diboll School Board, and the Diboll Housing Authority.

Riggs, Carol

Riggs, Carol

September 25, 2015

277a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former (and the first) Director of the Texas Forestry Museum Carol Riggs reflects on her career.  A biology major interested in palynology, she eventually made her way to the Texas Forest Service and then to the Texas Forestry Museum when they hired their first director.  She reflects on the early days of the museum, the changes to the museum structure and programs, the influence of technology on the museum field as a whole and on the Texas Forestry Museum, and the volunteers and staff members who worked at the museum over the years.  She comments on funding and fundraisers, including the gala and the sawmill suppers, working for grants from local foundations, and the evolution of the museum’s exhibits and purpose. 

Riggs, Jim

Riggs, Jim

November 06, 2014

Interview 270a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Jim Riggs reminisces about his career working for Lufkin Industries.  Starting out as a new college graduate in the Trailer Division in 1959 and continuing to when he retired as a vice president in Human Resources in the 1980’s, Mr. Riggs describes the changes in the trailer business as the division moved from downtown Lufkin to the Buck Creek facility outside of town, as the trailer manufacturing process became more mechanized and efficient, as he moved to the Welding and Fabrication Department as Vice President and General Manager and then to Human Resources to finish his career.  He talks about the competitiveness of the trailer industry and recalls some of the challenges Lufkn faced in this facet of their business.  He also discusses the changes in manufacturing processes and materials, and well as the emphasis on safety. 

Roach, Robert

July 29, 1999

Interview 152a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Robert Roach reminisces about growing up in Trinity County and working for Southern Pine Lumber Company and the Texas Southeastern Railroad on the railroad tracks in the 1920's. Mr. Roach recalls his year of work building bridges and caring for the tracks, particularly near Goodrich. He then went to Arizona where he worked for Southern Pacific for a few years. After leaving Arizona, Mr. Roach leased land from Southern Pine Lumber Company and Dave Kenley in Trinity County, where he watched for lumber poachers and farmed.

Robbins, Donald

Robbins, Donald

June 07, 1985

Interview 60a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Diboll Superintendent Don Robbins discusses his long career in education and the challenges and triumphs involved in leading the Diboll Independent School District. He talks about integration and the changing racial makeup of the city and district, the difficulties in raising money for facilities, and the need for expanded buildings and curriculum.

Rogers, Dana Copes

Rogers, Dana Copes

August 19, 1985

Interview 77a : Dana Copes Rogers and her daughter Margaret Rogers Bullock, descendants of the Copes family that owned the land that would later become Diboll, tell their memories of Copes family history and life in Diboll at the beginning of the 20th Century. Mrs. Rogers recalls her parents, attending church and school, Mable and Asenath Phelps, Copestown, and working for Franklin Farrington at the Diboll Post Office. Her husband worked in several drug stores in Diboll and Pineland before opening his own stores in Hemphill and Lufkin.

Roth, Fenner

Roth, Fenner

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.

Roth, Fenner

Roth, Fenner

July 04, 1984

Interview 35a : In this interview, former Diboll schoolteacher and Superintendent E. H. Bush, Sr. and former teacher Fenner Roth reminisce about teaching school in Diboll during the 1930's. They talk about discipline problems, dealing with the Great Depression, teacher and superintendent's pay, and the heavy workload. Mr. Bush tells stories about disciplining students, coaching the basketball and baseball teams, and trying to keep the hogs away from the children as they ate lunch.

Roth, Fenner

Roth, Fenner

September 08, 1984

Interview 44a : Early Dibollians Fenner Roth, Herbert Weeks, and O'Hara Chandler, each born in or about 1908, tell of life in Diboll during the 1910s and 1920s during a 1984 interview by leaders of the Diboll Historical Society. The men recall railroad travel, eateries, childhood entertainments, early automobiles, alligators in the mill pond, school teachers, yard work, bitter weeds, and the communities of Emporia and Copestown. Persons discussed include Frank Farrington, Watson Walker, George Johnson, and John Oliver.

Rowe, Jack

Rowe, Jack

November 02, 1983

Interview 20a : In an interview with Becky Bailey, Jack Rowe recalls life in Amarillo and Dumas, Texas during the Great Depression. Mr. Rowe's family lived in the Texas panhandle and Arkansas while he was growing up, and remembers the hard times as a teenager and as a young married man. He recalls soup lines, CCC camps, dust storms, and low wages.

Ruby, Joe

Ruby, Joe

Interview 136a : In this short interview with Carolyn Elmore, longtime Temple employee Joe Ruby reminisces about his 35 years with the company as a forester in Diboll and Pineland and as a data processor in Diboll. Mr. Ruby remarks about the Pineland merger between Southern Pine Lumber Company and Temple Lumber Company in the 1950's and the Time merger.

Ruby, Joe

Ruby, Joe

September 13, 2012

Interview 136b: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former forester Joe Ruby reminisces about his life in forestry and data processing for the Temple Companies, primarily in Pineland.  He talks about his early life, finishing college as a forester, and going to work for Southern Line Lumber Company.  He talks about life in Pineland in the 1950’s through the 1970’s, some of the responsibilities of his job managing the forests, and the differences in practices through his career.  Mr. Ruby talks about different forest management philosophies and how they have changed over the years, particularly with regards to selective harvesting and clearcutting.

Ruby, Milford

Ruby, Milford

May 12, 2010

Interview 195a : In this interview with Becky Donohoe, Milford Ruby reminisces about his life in Diboll as a child and an adult. He moved to Diboll with his family from Fastrill in 1941, settling in the Red Town neighborhood. He attended Diboll schools starting in 1941 and graduated in 1949. Mr. Ruby raised his children in Diboll and took part in many community activities, particularly the Little League. He was in charge of the Diboll Little League program during the school integration process, and oversaw the integration of that program as well.

Ruby, Nelda

Ruby, Nelda

December 10, 1986

Interview 107a : In this interview with Mark Kelmer, Nelda Ruby reminisces about her school days and compares school discipline, rules, and class offerings in the 1940's and 1950's to the 1980's. She recognizes good and bad changes in the education system since her graduation in 1955.

Rushing, Jim

Rushing, Jim

January 13, 1986

Interview 90a : Angelina County native Jim Rushing spent most of his life working for either Southern Pine Lumber Company or the Texas Southeastern Railroad. He worked cattle and fought outlaws at Rayville, served in the Army during World War I, worked on Dred Devereaux's bridge gang, helped John Goodman in the machine shop, and spent most of his career with the TSE Railroad. He also reminisces about the virgin timber, early mornings, and play parties.

Rushing, Myrtle

Rushing, Myrtle

March 15, 1986

Interview 94a : Born in 1903, Myrtle Rushing's family moved to Diboll when she was nine years old. In this interview she reminisces about life in early Diboll: bed bugs, school life, early mornings, walking to town, the picture show, and the 11:15 whistle. In addition, she discusses working for the PTA and assisting at their fundraisers. She also remembers when Diboll's houses first got electricity, Franklin Farrington, Jim Richards, and Mrs. Arthur Porter.