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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Walker, David

Walker, David

July 26, 2011

Interview 227a : : In this interview with Emily Hyatt, former Angelina County School Board President and District Judge David Walker reminisces about his tenure on the school board and his memories of his father, Howard Walker. The elder Walker was a long-time Angelina County school superintendent and his wife (David's mother), Ethel was a long-time teacher. Mr. Walker talks about school consolidations in the county, especially Fairview, Beulah, Bald Hill (Baird), and Burke and all of the controversy that accompanied that process. He also discusses some issues with school transportation. He mentions Doris Balch, superintendent and other members Gene Brookshire and Claude Smithart.

Walker, Howard

Walker, Howard

June 18, 1986

Interview 102a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, former County School Superintendent Howard Walker talks about his life and reminisces about his education, his early jobs, and his time as Angelina County School Superintendent. He recalls the difficulties he encountered trying to get his teacher's education and some of the issues involved in managing a large rural school district.

Wallace, Odyesa

Wallace, Odyesa

February 09, 1985

Interview 47a : In an interview at a meeting of the Diboll Historical Society, longtime Diboll teacher Odyesa Wallace recalls her 25 years in Diboll schools. She taught in Diboll from 1960 to 1985, starting at black school, Temple, and going through integration and beyond. Mrs. Wallace spent most of her teaching career in the elementary grades and she recalls the black teacher's struggle for books and supplies when she first came to Diboll, the process of integration, and many of her students through the years.

Waltman, Icie Courtney

Waltman, Icie Courtney

March 25, 1986

Interview 97a : Born September 6, 1895, Icie Courtney Waltman moved to Angelina County at the age of 11. Her interview covers a broad range of subjects dealing with early country life. Some topics she discusses are riding side saddle, syrup making, planting corn, the influences of alcohol, and the beautiful countryside between Diboll and Prairie Grove.

Wampler, Barbara

Interview 133a : In this interview, Barbara Wampler details her life as a working woman who worked her way up the corporate ladder. Mrs. Wampler describes her relationships with her family, co-workers, and upper management. She comments on women's rights, women in the workplace, and the differences between women and men on the job.

Ward, Bill

Ward, Bill

July 26, 1993

Interview 138a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Diboll Independent School District Superintendent Bill Ward talks about the trials and challenges facing the district, its ethnic and socio-economic makeup, and his plans for the district's future.

Warner, Douglas

Warner, Douglas

February 28, 1985

Interview 51a : In this interview with Marie Davis, Angelina County native Douglas Warner reminisces about his life working as a logger for the Temple mills in Diboll. He recalls using mules and oxen to haul the logs, and the changes in logging technology from the 1940s to the 1980s. He also mentions the difficulties he had farming and his experiences with moonshine and stills in the 1940s.

Warner, Jack

Warner, Jack

November 22, 2015

Interview 278a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, 94 year old Jack Warner recounts growing up on a farm near Diboll during the Great Depression, surviving World War II with the U.S. Navy stationed in New Guinea, playing baseball throughout East Texas, and working in the woods and cotton fields.  He reminisces about baseball games including pitching a 13 inning game for the Diboll Millers (with major leaguer Pete Runnels) against the Stephen F. Austin team, playing for the Lufkin Foresters, and one as on New Guinea during the war.  He also talks about surviving a tractor accident, raising hogs, building local buildings, and growing and preserving food.

Warner, Lucille

Warner, Lucille

February 14, 1985

Interview 50a : Nurse Lucille Warner recalls her time in Diboll as the town and company nurse. Along with Dr. Dale and the doctors that followed him, Mrs. Warner treated company employees, their families, and Diboll's citizens when they were ill or injured. They delivered babies, treated wounds, performed medical tests, and dispensed medication from their office in the commissary or on house calls. Eventually, company insurance began to cover hospital births for babies, and Mrs. Warner and the doctor would travel to Lufkin to deliver Diboll's newest citizens. Mrs. Warner retired in 1976 as a plant nurse and secretary.

Warner, Vivian and Pate

Warner, Vivian and Pate

April 24, 1985

Interview 57a : In an interview with Marie Davis, Diboll natives Vivian and Pate Warner reminisce about growing up in an East Texas sawmill town. Their memories include school days, children's games, earning money as a child, and family life during the Depression. They also recall well-known Diboll personalities like Mr. Watson Walker, Fannie Farrington, and the Temple family. Both Vivian and Pate worked in the commissary, the hub of community life and commerce. The Warners also discuss gardens and canning, local working conditions, company benefits, funeral practices, health insurance and doctor visits, childbirth practices, and African-American midwives.

Warner, Vivian and Pate

Warner, Vivian and Pate

June 07, 1994

Interview 57b : In an interview with Marie Davis, life-long Diboll residents Pate and Vivian Warner describe their lives growing up in Diboll and the people they shared their town with. Pate and Vivian recall the different ethnic groups that lived in and around Diboll and how the residents interacted with each other. From the 1920's, Pate describes his memories of Italians, Native Americans, Gypsies, Slavonians, Mexican railroad crews, and African American and White children playing and hunting together. He recalls the white oak barrel staves the Slavonians made and sold, the Native Americans short-lived attempts at farming in the area, and the Gypsies as they traded horses, told fortunes, and sold willow furniture. They also reminisce about their childhood favorites, like the banana car that sold bananas to the townspeople before they were available at the local commissary, the shipments of oysters that would cause great excitement when they arrived in town, children playing all over town, the old calaboose and several criminals that attempted (and succeeded) escaping from this early jail, and the excitement that surrounded the arrival of Buster Brown and his bulldog.

Warren, Horace

Warren, Horace

January 03, 1986

Interview 88a : Longtime Temple employee Horace Warren recalls life at the Alcedo logging camp, at Fastrill, and in Diboll. In this interview with Becky Bailey he reminisces about life as an African American worker in the woods, on the trains, and in the mills. He also talks about recreation, dance halls, cafes, and churches for the African American workers and their families. Mr. Warren mentions Clyde Thompson, Arthur Temple, Jr., and Mr. Burchfield, as well as a tornado that hit Fastrill.

Waters, Evelyn

December 10, 1986

Interview 110a : In this short interview with Scott Eldridge, Evelyn Waters describes her life as a sheepherder in Wyoming. She describes following the sheep through the mountains in summer and trying to keep them alive in the winter.

Watts, Morgan L.

June 21, 2005

Interview 166a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former railroad welder and road master Morgan Watts reminsices about working for the Texas and New Orleans Railroad from the 1950's to the 1980's. Mr. Watts talks about the intricacies of welding tracks and platforms and bridges, recalls living in a boxcar, and the change from telephones to radios for communication.

Webber, W. Temple Jr.

Webber, W. Temple Jr.

April 12, 2011

Interview 221a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, W. Temple Webber Jr. reminisces about growing up as a member of the Temple family and talks about the family businesses. A banker in Houston, Mr. Webber grew up in Texarkana, AR and Texarkana, TX near his aunts and uncles and cousins in various branches of the Temple family, including T.L.L. Temple, T.L.L. Temple, Jr., his grandmother Gertrude Temple, and her sisters Georgie Temple Munz and Marguerite, Arthur Temple, cousins Arthur Temple, Sr., Bill Temple, and Sally Temple Bond, among others. He reminisces about his father, W. Temple Webber, Sr. and his relationship with T.L.L. Temple and Arthur Temple, Sr. He also discusses moving company operations from Texarkana to Diboll, Arthur Temple, Jr.'s tenure as the company's head and the changes he made, as well as the various family members and their feelings about the changes. He also talks about the T.L.L. Temple foundation and the changes within its structures through the years as it began to give more donations to the communities it served.

Weber, A.R.

Weber, A.R.

April 01, 1985

Interview 54a : In an interview with Becky Bailey, longtime Temple-White employee A.R. Weber reminisces about his younger years learning about the forest products industry and beginning in a creosote plant. He eventually made it to Mr. Herb White's handle factory in Bogalusa, Mississippi, where he managed the factory. When the White family moved the factory to Diboll and entered into a partnership with the Temple family, forming Temple-White, Mr. Weber and his family moved to Diboll. Mr. Weber was in charge of setting up the new factory and hiring the employees. He discussed the process used to make the handles, the lacquer for the handles, and making the different handles for their different customers, particularly the armed forces during World War II. Mr. Weber also discusses the new OSHA regulations from the 1970's.

 

 


 

Weber, A.R.

Weber, A.R.

April 10, 1985

Interview 54b : In this interview with Becky Bailey, A.R. Weber reminisces about his involvement in various community activities in Diboll. He discusses the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Lions Club, and the various committees of the Methodist Church.

Weber, Benjamin

Weber, Benjamin

May 21, 2012

Interview 251a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, New York native Benjamin Weber reminisces about his life. Born in New York City, Mr. Weber came to Texas during World War II as a guard at several POW camps, where he guarded captured German soldiers as they worked in the local lumber industry. He worked out of two camps in Lufkin and one camp in Huntsville. Before the war ended he was transferred to the Pacific Theater and spent time on Saipan and Iwo Jima. After the war Mr. Weber returned to New York, but after a while he moved to Lufkin with his wife, a native of the area. In Lufkin he worked for the Coca Cola bottling plant, sold Chevrolets, and sold insurance. He also managed a semi-pro baseball team called the Dirty Sox and ran the local bowling alley. He discusses all of his jobs, his wartime experiences, baseball, his chances to sing on Broadway as a child, and his decision to settle in Lufkin.

Weeks, Franklin

Weeks, Franklin

Interview 130a : In this self interview or speech, Franklin Weeks tells stories about Hoshall, a former sawmill in Angelina County between Burke and Lufkin.

Weeks, Franklin

Weeks, Franklin

December 07, 2000

Interview 130b : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Franklin Weeks shows him the sights in Burke, Texas. He points out landmarks like the Masonic Hall, the depot site, the McCall Store site, the churches, school, and cannery. Mr. Weeks reminisces about riding the train, visiting with Miss Ina McCall, and seeing the first airplane that landed in Burke. He shows Jonathan his ancestral home place, built by Felix Weeks, and talks about the early settlement of the Ryan Chapel Community.

Weeks, Geneva Ryan (Mrs. C.E.)

Weeks, Geneva Ryan (Mrs. C.E.)

January 01, 1976

Interview 25a : In this interview with Marge Shepherd, Mrs. C.E. Weeks, Sr. briefly recalls the Ryan family history. She also talks about growing up on a farm and raising her children near Burke, Texas, in Ryan's chapel. She and her husband lived on the same land for 72 years.

Weeks, Herbert

Weeks, Herbert

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.

Weeks, Herbert

Weeks, Herbert

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.

Weeks, Lela

Weeks, Lela

Interview 031a : In this interview with Megan Lambert and Becky Bailey, Lela Weeks recalls growing up in East Texas (Nacogdoches, Diboll, Lufkin, and Wells). She also reminisces about the Depression, living near the Box Factory in Diboll, and making ends meet in hard times.

Weeks, Mrs. Charles Jr.

September 02, 1982

Interview 26a : In an interview with Becky Bailey, Mrs. Charles E. Weeks, Jr. reminisces about growing up in Tennessee and Lufkin and living through the Great Depression. She particularly remembers the hobos who lived in Chambers Park and begged for food at local homes, the difficulty of getting credit, and the local CCC workers.

Weeks, Robert

Weeks, Robert

August 11, 1954

Interview 30a : In an interview with John Larson, Robert Weeks recalls the beginning of the Southern Pine Lumber Company in Diboll. He started work helping to dig the mill pond in 1894 and progressed to working in the woods, hauling logs, and working in the various mills as a planer in Diboll. He eventually moved to Hemphill and Pineland as Planer Foreman. He also recalls Diboll's first baseball team.

Weeks, Robert

Weeks, Robert

November 01, 1954

Interview 104a : In this 1954 interview with Clyde Thompson, Robert Weeks recalls working for Southern Pine Lumber Company from 1894 to 1944. He worked in many capacities, from digging the first millpond, rolling logs off the skidway to working in the Diboll planer mill to running the Pineland planing mill. As an employee from the beginning, Mr. Weeks offers a unique perspective on some of the technical changes in the mills.

Weimer, Maureen

Weimer, Maureen

December 29, 1985

Interview 86a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Maureen Weimer reminisces about Pine Grove Church in the Red Town area of Diboll. Mrs. Weimer's husband, Charles, pastored the church in the early 1950's. She talks about Mrs. Fannie Farrington's desire to bring a church to that area of Diboll, convincing H.G. Temple to build them a church building. Mrs. Weimer recalls Women's Society of Christian Service meetings, the United Methodist Women group, Vacation Bible School, and Methodist Youth Fellowship. She mentions the Farringtons, Ballengers, Tatums, Mirandas, Guerras, Simms, and Greers, among other families that attended the church.

Welch, Claude Sr.

Welch, Claude Sr.

January 05, 1983

Interview 27a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Claude Welch, Sr. describes his life during the Great Depression. A native of Trinity County, Texas, his family worked for Southern Pine Lumber Company for three generations. During the 1930's, Mr. Welch fished, hunted, traded, and picked cotton to survive. In the latter part of the decade he joined the CCC and worked in a camp in Arizona. He describes life in the CCC camp and explains how the county came out of the Depression in the 1940's.

Wells, Vina

Wells, Vina

June 28, 1984

Interview 34a : Born in Sabine County, Texas, in 1899, Vina Wells recalls life in East Texas forest communities during the early twentieth century. The daughter of lumberman Louis "Pop" Jordan and Mellie Willis, she describes living conditions at the Southern Pine Lumber Company logging camps at White City (in San Augustine County) and Fastrill (in Cherokee County) from the 1910s through the 1930s. She worked at boarding houses at both of these camp towns. Her husband was Ritchie Wells, a Southern Pine Lumber Company woods foreman.

Wells, Vina

Wells, Vina

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.

White, John

White, John

July 16, 1999

Interview 149a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, former Fastrill and Diboll resident John White reminisces about living at the Southern Pine Lumber Company Fastrill logging camp, moving to Diboll, and working for Dred Devereaux. He also mentions the Redgate logging community, Alcedo, and White City. Mr. White recalls his time in the Air Force and his jobs in Lufkin at Texas Foundry and Southwest Color.

Wier, Don

April 25, 2007

Interview 169a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Don Wier recalls the early days of Diboll's KSPL radio station. Mr. Wier worked at the station from its beginnings in 1957 until 1960, when he left to pursue a career in the insurance business. He talks about the music he played, the station's schedule and his differences with Arthur Temple, Jr. concerning music choices. Mr. Wier had the first, and for a while, the only afternoon request show that featured the popular music favored by Deep East Texas teenagers and young people, and eventually Mr. Temple let him play that music during that show if he played the music he preferred for the rest of the day. He mentions Tommy Ward Lanyon, Delores Camp, Owen McMullen, and Ruth Ruby.

Wilkerson, Burlon

Wilkerson, Burlon

May 11, 2010

Interview 194a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Burlon Wilkerson reminisces about growing up in Diboll, going to school during the racial integration process, and teaching at Diboll High School during times of racial tension. He mentions that there were no incidents during the integration process, and that while his parents and others in the white community may not have fully supported the idea, they knew it was going to happen and accepted it as inevitable. Mr. Wilkerson mentions several students and teachers from his time as a DHS student, including Zenova Scott, Johnny Jones, Mr. Massey, Mr. Ramsey, Bob McCurry, and Fred Douglas. He also mentions the heightened racial tensions after he became a Speech and English teacher at Diboll High School, particularly in the mid- 1970's.

Wilkerson, Dewitt

Wilkerson, Dewitt

October 23, 1985

Interview 80a : In this interview with Marie Davis and Megan Lambert, Dewitt Wilkerson recalls living in Angelina County for over six decades, with most of them spent near Diboll. Mr. Wilkerson recalls bootlegging and illegal hunting, living through the Depression, working for Southern Pine Lumber Company and the foundry in Lufkin, picking cotton, unions, and different ethnicities that lived around Diboll.

Williams, Ardiny Lee

March 08, 1986

Interview 116b : In this interview with Jim Ligon, Ardiny Lee Williams reminisces about life in the African American community in Diboll. Mrs. Williams remembers her church, her school, her parents, Easter and Christmas celebrations, and other community members. She also comments on her son E.C. Williams club and his works within the community.

Williams, Ardiny Lee

November 15, 1987

Interview 116a : In this short interview with her granddaughter Cheryl Bell, Ardiny Lee Williams recalls her school days in the two-room schoolhouse with two teachers.

Winfrey, David

Interview 126a : In this interview with Mark Williams, Vietnam Veteran David Winfrey recalls his time as an Army Staff Sergeant in Vietnam. He was injured by a booby trap and treated in hospitals from Vietnam to Japan to Alaska to Washington, D.C.

Wissler, Jake

Wissler, Jake

December 18, 1982

Interview 28a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Ohio native Jake Wissler recalls life during the Depression. After the stock market crash in 1929, Mr. Wissler lost his job as a machinist and eventually joined the Army. He spent three years as a machinist and carpenter in the Army, serving mainly in Panama, and then returned to Chicago where he married his wife, Bella, and continued looking for work. The Wisslers survived the Depression in Chicago and Ohio and eventually moved to Panama.

Wolf, Dewey

Wolf, Dewey

December 31, 1978

Interview 29a : In this interview with Diane Tate, Diboll Police Chief Dewey Wolf talks about his job as police chief and his concerns about crime in Diboll. He discusses the size of the force, the particular problems facing a town the size of Diboll, and several of its public safety programs.

Woods, Sadie Estes

Woods, Sadie Estes

July 18, 1984

Interview 40a : Born in 1904, Sadie Estes Woods recalls in this 1984 interview early logging practices of Southern Pine Lumber Company, including tent camps and Mexican railroad labor. In about the middle 1910s she moved with her family to Diboll, where her mother managed the Star Hotel, and Sadie later taught school in Diboll. She mentions such place names as Anderson Crossing, Alcedo or Alceda, Pisgah School, and Ryan's Lake. She tells of social life in early Diboll, including entertainments such as swimming, walking the railroad tracks, dances, and music. Persons mentioned include Richie and Albert Wells, Will Hill, Ike and Lee Estes, Louis Ashford, and T.L.L. Temple.

Wright, Gussie Stovall

Wright, Gussie Stovall

August 28, 1984

Interview 43a : Life-long Angelina County resident Mrs. Gussie Stovall Wright remembers her life in Prairie Grove (also called Stovall Prairie) and Diboll. She describes her Stovall grandparents, who came to the area in 1845, and the hardships they endured and the slaves they owned. Mrs. Wright also recalls going to the Prairie Grove School and teachers Jimmie Ellis and Laura Davis, purchasing cloth from Fannie Farrington at the Diboll commissary, riding her horse and walking to school, church, and Diboll, farming, and serving as a midwife to local families.

Wyatt, Joe

November 30, 2010

Interview 214a: In this interview with Patsy Colbert, former Diboll football coach and teacher Joe Wyatt reminisces about his 10 years at Diboll High School.  Coach Wyatt managed the football program during the final years of racial integration.  He discusses his interactions with his players, white and black, and any problems that might have been caused by racial tensions.  Coach Wyatt reminisces about Superintendents Pate and Foster as well as Principals Ramsey and Massey.  He discusses his fellow coaches Eberlan, Porter, Spencer, and McGilvra, working with the school board, upgrading the athletic facilities and equipment, building a new gymnasium, and making the playoffs.  Coach Wyatt believed athletic success helped the entire district gain pride and recognition and is proud of the success he helped foster in Diboll.