Fortenberry, Billy 1973-07-30

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Mr. Fortenberry, son of cotton pioneer and leader W. O. Fortenberry, remembers his late father and summarizes his life and successes.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Billy Fortenberry

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: July 30, 1973

Location: New Deal, Texas

Interviewer: Jeff Townsend

Length: 1 hour


Tape 1, Side 1: Son recounts late father's career, William Oliver Fortenberry planted first South Plains cotton in Ropesville, Texas, 1923, Father operated Pep, Texas, gin for German settlers from Fredericksburg, Texas, Worked for J. I. Case as mechanic, Son remembers his mother, Continues father's life story, Describes purchase of New Deal, Texas, land and gin, Mentions Bacon brothers, Father bought Gaines County land in 1956, selling gins, Discusses sugar beets, soy beans grown in 1940s, Lists investments in gins, elevators, land, oil, W. O. Fortenberry financed many farmers in 1930s, Father's pioneered single variety ginning, Success in 1947 noted, Traces origins of Plains Cotton Growers to political dissatisfaction, Characterizes George Pfeiffenberger , Plains Underground Water District founding philosophy given

Tape 1, Side 2: Continues with description of father's business, Claims that father sold the gins because of the shift to coops and the intense feelings, Discusses cooperative gins, Relates father's admiration for Ezra Taft Benson, Remarks on father's knowledge of agricultural politics and his Washington contacts, States W. O. Fortenberry succeeded primarily because he was early mechanical farmer, Mentions 300-400 Mexican-American migrants brought in each year, Comments on father's eloquence and persuasiveness, Mentions father's role as advisor in invention of lint cleaners, Notes that father had an out-going personality while being farsighted, Predicts wholly centralized gins with all cotton south of Lubbock County

Range Dates: 1923-1956

Bulk Dates: 1923-1956

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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