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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Taylor, Elaine

Taylor, Elaine

October 12, 1993

Interview 143a : In this interview with Marie Davis, Franklin and Elaine Taylor reminisce about growing up in East Texas, Mr. Taylor in Diboll and Mrs. Taylor in Fastrill. The recall the commissary, school days, pranks, and mill fires, and recreation activities. They also remember the depression.

Taylor, Franklin

Taylor, Franklin

October 12, 1993

Interview 143a : In this interview with Marie Davis, Franklin and Elaine Taylor reminisce about growing up in East Texas, Mr. Taylor in Diboll and Mrs. Taylor in Fastrill. The recall the commissary, school days, pranks, and mill fires, and recreation activities. They also remember the depression.

Teal, Leonard Jr.

May 20, 2010

Interview 197a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, long-time Diboll resident and Vietnam Veteran Leonard Teal reminisces about growing up in the African-American community in Diboll in the years just prior to school integration. He recalls his years at H.G. Temple School with Mr. Massey, Mrs. Wallace, Mr. Kenyon, and Coach Ross and remembers playing basketball and football. He also recalls his Sundays spent watching the Diboll Eagles baseball team and the business owners he used to interact with, including the Tanners, Arty Dewberry, and Papp Mathiss. Mr. Teal does not remember any racial problems in Diboll and tells the interviewer that integration was a gradual, but smooth process.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Interview 56e: In this interview with Carolyn Elmore, Arthur Temple, Jr. recounts the history of Scrappin’Valley clubhouse and the reasons it was built.  He recalls several stories about hunting deer and turkey, as well as the efforts to stock the area with game, as well as parties held at the clubhouse.  He tells of events hosted by the Sportsmen of Boggy Slough and their chili cook-offs and plays, including a mock initiation in the style of Jim Jones and ones that featured Lady Bird Johnson and Liz Carpenter.  Betty Burkhalter is also present for the interview.  Ms. Elmore also interviews John Booker on the same subject at a later date.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

May 08, 1985

Interview 56a : The grandson of T.L.L. Temple, founder of forest products companies that became Temple-Inland, Inc., Arthur Temple Jr. tells interviewer Megan Lambert about the Temple family's relationships to both the business and community interests of East Texas through nearly a century of momentous change. He provides biographical detail into his own life as well as his father's and grandfather's, focusing mostly on events of the Great Depression through the 1960s, before the family business became a public stock company. Insight into company management is also given. People discussed in some detail include T.L.L. Temple, Arthur Temple Sr., L.D. Gilbert, Dr. J.C. Clements, Joe Denman, Walter Purdy, and Aunt Georgie Temple Munz, founder of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, which origins are also explained.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

July 11, 1985

Interview 56b : In this second interview by Megan Lambert, Arthur Temple Jr. discusses in detail his philosophy of business management and practices. He gives early biographical details about his own life, education, and job training. He discusses labor relations and recounts milestones in Southern Pine Lumber Company's development from the 1890s to the 1980s. He also discusses the creation and establishment of the Big Thicket National Preserve, wildlife management, the establishment of hunting clubs, including Boggy Slough Club, and cattle ranching in East Texas. Persons mentioned in some detail are Dave Kenley, Arthur Temple Sr., Henry G. Temple, Latane Temple, J. J. Ray, L. D. Gilbert, and Geraldine Watson.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

October 04, 1986

Interview 134a : In this short speech, Arthur Temple, Jr. dedicates the sculpture "Flathead" on Diboll Day, 1986. The subject of the sculpture, Albert Mitchell, and the sculptor, Ronnie Wells are also present and speak after Mr. Temple.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

January 13, 1988

Interview 56c : Arthur Temple Jr. addresses a meeting of the Diboll Historical Society and discusses a variety of subjects, some old and some new. As in most of his interviews, he gives biographical detail of his family and their relationship to the forest product business and the East Texas community. He discusses with the membership the recent Cornbread Whistle oral history project, including successes and his desire to continue recording memories of the past. He provides insight into the process of transitioning the company town of Diboll into a modern city with elected officials and home ownership, and also the process of modernizing and diversifying the industrial physical plant and its products. Personalities discussed include Dred Devereaux, Eddie Farley, Wilbur Fogg, Clyde Thompson, E.C. Durham and the Durham family, and Joe Denman. Also included is some insight into timber buying by the Company and selling of timberland to the federal government during the Great Depression.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

Temple, Arthur Jr.

June 02, 2000

Interview 56d : In this two-hour interview, third generation industrialist and philanthropist Arthur Temple Jr. shares with interviewer Jonathan Gerland memories of early business activities in Diboll. He gives biographical information pertaining to his coming to work for the family business at an early age, rebuilding the physical plant and operational organization, and restructuring the culture of a company town. Temple also discusses the formation of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, the origins of Diboll Day, the Pine Bough Restaurant, Crown Colony Country Club, Antlers Hotel, Rayville Ranch, box factories in Diboll, a Kurth family rivalry, and Trinity County hunting club houses at Boggy Slough. People remembered in some detail include Arthur Temple Sr., Horace Stubblefield, Paul "Bunny" Hogue, Jay Boren, E.C. Durham, Latane Temple, Dred Devereaux, Jake Durham, and Joe Denman. A brief subject index follows the transcript.

Temple, Gresham

Temple, Gresham

August 16, 1985

Interview 74a : Henry Gresham Temple, Jr., T.L.L. Temple's great-nephew, reminisces about the Temple family and businesses. He recalls working for the family business in Pineland and Diboll before he went into the oil business and started his own company. His father, H.G. Temple, Sr., worked in Pineland and Diboll as well.

Temple, John William “Bill” Sr.

Temple, John William “Bill” Sr.

July 27, 2001

Interview 163a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, John William "Bill" Temple, Sr. talks about Temple family history and genealogy and reminisces about his life. He mentions T.L.L. Temple, Arthur Temple, Sr. and Arthur Temple, Jr., Henry Temple and Latane Temple. He talks about growing up in Texarkana, working for the family businesses, staying in Hawaii while in the military, and changes in the forest products industry.

Temple, Latane

Temple, Latane

June 19, 1985

Interview 083a-b: In this interview with Megan Lambert, Thomas Louis Latané Temple III reminisces about growing up in Texarkana, his grandfather and father, T.L.L. Temple, Sr. and Jr., his early career at the Temple Companies and Temple Cotton Oil, his political activism, and some Temple family history.  He discusses his relationship with other family members, particularly his grandfather, father, and cousin, Arthur Temple, Jr.  He also discusses his views and experiences in the business world and his time as a writer, particularly for the Diboll Free Press.

Temple, Latane

Temple, Latane

July 14, 1985

Interview 083c-f: In this interview with Megan Lambert, Thomas Lewis Latané Temple III reminisces about his experiences in World War II, working for Temple Cotton Oil, and his management of the Great Texas Lumber Company.  Mr. Temple talks extensively about his wartime training in the United States and his combat experiences in Italy.  He discusses his family and marriage and his business successes and failures, as well as his feelings about business.

Temple, Latane

Temple, Latane

December 01, 1985

Interview 083g: In this self interview, Thomas Lewis LatanéTemple, III records his memories of his life growing up in Texarkana and Houston and also the history of his mother, Hal Crouch Temple’s childhood and marriage to his father, Thomas Lewis Latané Temple, Jr.  He talks about the history of the Crouch and Temple families, their involvement in the railroad and lumber industries, and his family’s experiences in Texarkana, in particular.

Temple, Lottie

Temple, Lottie

January 01, 1986

Interview 98a : Lottie Temple began working for Temple Lumber Company in Lufkin in 1944 and followed Arthur Temple, Jr. to Diboll in 1948 as his secretary. In this interview, she talks about her experiences working for Temple Lumber Company and Southern Pine Lumber Company, housing in Diboll, the intricacies of the payroll system, and the transition from a company owned town to a city with independent home and business owners. She also talks about Diboll's community spirit, Diboll Day, the increase in working women through the years, the day care center, and Green Acres Convalescent Center. Mrs. Temple also speaks on her role in starting the banking and insurance companies in Diboll, Diboll Development Company, and Exeter Investments.

Temple, Marie

October 27, 1985

Interview 101a : Marie Davis interviews her aunt, Marie Temple about growing up in Diboll and working in the commissary. Mrs. Davis lived in Diboll for most of her childhood and she recalls her school days and the young people's recreation. She also mentions funerals, the school fire, the Airdome Movie Theater, and ice cream.

Terry, Odessa Sanders

Terry, Odessa Sanders

May 20, 2001

Interview 236a: In this group interview long-time Lufkin residents like Woody Gann, Odessa Sanders Terry, Dr. Thames, Bob Bowman, and George Henderson reminisce about different aspects of Lufkin in Lufkin during the 19th century.  R.L. Kuykendall, who attempted to interview as many members of the African American community that he could, recorded part of the panel discussion, including the segment from Mrs. Odessa Sanders Terry.  Mrs. Terry discusses life as an African American girl in Lufkin, particularly attending the African American schools.  She speaks of the different school campuses, the teachers and administrators, and the conditions of the schools and supplies.  She talks about social and educational clubs within the community, the popularity of football, and the African American doctors that served the black community of Lufkin.

Thompson, Clyde

Thompson, Clyde

December 01, 1954

Interview 10d : In this 1954 interview with John Larson of the Forest History Foundation, longtime Southern Pine Lumber Company/ Temple Industries employee Clyde Thompson (1899-1987) discusses a number of historic subjects, primarily the evolution of logging practices. He describes the practices of the early 1950s, including mechanization of skidders, forest road construction, introduction of power saws, selective timber harvesting, and pulp wood logging. He also comments on the transition from company railroad logging to contract truck logging and discusses earlier logging camp society, comparing what he calls "woods people" and "mill people". He mentions defunct logging camps at Alcedo, Fastrill, and Daisetta.

Thompson, Clyde

Thompson, Clyde

January 01, 1977

Interview 10a : Angelina College student Vivian Holt interviews longtime Diboll Mayor and Southern Pine Lumber Company employee Clyde Thompson about his duties as Mayor of Diboll. He was first elected mayor in 1962 and held the post until 1977. They discuss local election processes, management of the City of Diboll, educational facilities and programs, housing, city services, city council, plans for the City of Diboll, sawmill history, and T.L.L. Temple and the founding of Diboll.

Thompson, Clyde

Thompson, Clyde

January 14, 1984

Interview 10b : In an interview with Becky Bailey, Clyde Thompson (November 13, 1899 - February 17, 1987), his wife Ossie, and Beatrice Burkhalter recall life in Diboll in the middle of the 20th century. Thompson worked for Southern Pine Lumber Company as it evolved from 1916 through 1977. He was also the first Mayor of Diboll from 1962-1977. He recalled his beginning as a stenographer for G.W. Cleveland and D.C. Kenley at the age of 16 after attending Tyler Commercial College. Thompson and Bailey discuss the Depression, logging practices, clear cutting, moving from oxen to mules to trucks in logging, banking logs, the advent of power saws, tree farming, replanting, sawmill accidents, company finances, management practices, and the retail yards. They also discuss such notable people as T.L.L. Temple, Arthur Temple, Sr., Arthur Temple, Jr., Kenneth Nelson, Watson Walker, P.H. Strauss, John O'Hara, H.G. Temple, Lillian Knox, Laymon Gossett, Al Cudlipp, and Carrol Allen.

Thompson, Clyde

Thompson, Clyde

October 25, 1984

Interview 10c : Longtime Temple employee and Diboll mayor Clyde Thompson (1899-1987), along with his wife, Ossie, discuss a wide range of issues and people he encountered during his long career. Issues mentioned include company housing, labor, the Great Depression, ethnic groups, racial segregation, forest management, logging camps, reforestation, insurance, and politics. He also mentions T.L.L. Temple, Arthur Temple Jr., Arthur Temple, Sr., Buddy Temple, Lillian Knox, and Dave Kenley.

Thompson, Ossie

Thompson, Ossie

September 08, 1978

Interview 37a : In this interview with Ellen Temple, Ossie Thompson, wife of longtime Southern Pine Lumber Company executive and Diboll Mayor Clyde Thompson, recalls her early childhood in Diboll and Huntsville and her time as a teacher in Fuller Springs and Diboll. Mrs. Thompson also reminisces about courting practices in Diboll, recreational activities and card playing. She also talks about her involvement with her church, the housing situation in Diboll, and raising her children.

Toran, Gloria Massey

Toran, Gloria Massey

November 25, 2009

Interview 187a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Gloria Massey Toran, daughter of long-time Diboll educator Willie Massey, reminisces about her life and how race relations and education have changed since the 1930's. Mrs. Toran grew up in Groveton and Nigton, where she attended the segregated African American schools. She always focused on education, especially after moving in with her father, Willie Massey and her stepmother Louise Massey. She grew up insulated from many of the conflicts of the day and graduated from Prairie View A&M with a degree in education. Mrs. Toran taught for two years in Lufkin and then moved to Anahuac, where she married and had her first child while teaching music in the African American school. She moved back to Lufkin, where she taught at Garrett Elementary and Dunbar until forced integration in 1970. In 1971, Mrs. Toran became a counselor at Lufkin High School. She reminisces about her interactions with whites, her views on segregation and how they changed, and the issues that arose during integration of the schools.

Turner, Harold

Turner, Harold

September 09, 1982

Interview 24a : Longtime Diboll resident Harold S. Turner recalls his life in White City, Fastrill, and Diboll. Mr. Turner’s father was a company doctor for the Southern Pine Lumber Company camps in White City and Fastrill, where he lived and went to school. At the age of 18, Mr. Turner moved to Diboll and worked as a truck driver. He eventually worked in the power department at the sawmill for 35 years. Mr. Turner also reminisces about life in the Great Depression.

Turner, Hazel

Turner, Hazel

November 04, 1982

Interview 23a : In an interview with Becky Bailey, Hazel Turner reminisces about her life as a young woman in Diboll during the Depression. After graduating from Diboll High School in 1926, Mrs. Turner attended business school and began her career as a secretary. After spending time in Houston, she was hired by Southern Pine Lumber Company, where she worked as one of three women in the office during the Depression. She discusses work habits and pay procedures.