Hargus, Bill 2000-07-05

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Bill Hargus talks about open range ranching in the area of Big Bend, Texas during the 1920’s, and about Marathon, Texas during the 1930’s and 1940’s.He also tells about his experiences as a fighter pilot during World War II and about his aviation business after the war.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Bill Hargus

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: July 5, 2000

Location: Fort Stockton, Texas

Interviewer: David marshall

Length: 1 hour, 50 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Hargus Bill, Born in Marathon Texas May 28 1921, Grandfather, A rancher and farmer, Father, Drilled oil wells and was a machinist, Grandfather (again), Migrated to Marathon Texas area from Oklahoma in 1907 and bought a ranch, Raised near Fort Worth Texas, His father was killed during the Civil War, Acquired land in an Oklahoma land rush, Came to Texas by wagon train, Ranched near Marathon Texas until he died in 1936, Hargus Bill (again), Worked on his grandfather’s ranch when he was young, Open range ranching in the Big Bend area, Size of the ranches, Cattle breeds, Switching from Longhorn cattle to Hereford cattle, Marathon Texas rail head stockyard, Established in 1882, Calvary post near Marathon Texas, Marathon Texas rail head stockyard (again), Gage Hotel in Marathon Texas, Mr. Gage handing out candy to the children, Marathon State Bank, Closing during the depression, Mr. Gage, Marathon Texas, Air strip – 1946, Hargus Bill (again), Going into the aviation business, Interest in aviation beginning in high school, Air fields along the Rio Grande River during World War I, Marathon Texas (again), Air strips (again), Flying circuses, Flying through a barn, Gennies (?), Rebuilding an old airplane in the late 1920’s, Marathon, Texas (again), Aviation operations, Hargus Bill (again), Move to Fort Stockton, Texas – 1956, Aviation career in Fort Stockton – 1956-1970, Flying circus gennies (?)(again), Airfields along the Rio Grande River (again), List of locations, Flying circuses (again), Letting people know they were in town, Public interest in airplane landings, Military airplane crash, First transcontinental flight, Prohibition days, Al Capone, Alcohol consumption in Marathon Texas during prohibition, Sources of alcohol during prohibition, Military experiences, Being drafted, Attending Sul Ross University in Alpine Texas, Completing one and a half years before being drafted, Civil pilot training, Solo flight to Fort Stockton Texas, Windfield air strip in Fort Stockton Texas, Old pilots around the area – 1920’s, WPA adobe structure built in 1935.

Tape 1, Side 2: Attending Sul Ross University (again), Attended from 1941 until the spring of 1942, Military experience (again), Drafted in the summer of 1942, Inducted into the service in El Paso Texas, Basic training in Utah, Radio training in Scottsdale IL, Locations of various training schools, Military pilot training, Military aircraft, 300 combat hours and 85 missions, 9th Air Force, Military aircraft (again), Fighter pilot tactics, Strafing missions, Story about strafing a train, Dive bombing train tunnels, Skip bombs, Stories about several bombing missions, Story about a squadron leader from Houston Texas, “Belly-in” landings, Treatment of pilots who were shot down, By German military, By German civilians, Build up to D-Day, Military aircraft (again), Air raids in London England, V-2 rockets, Stories about bombing missions (again), Fighter pilot tactics (again), Dog fights, Dive-bombing.

Tape 2, Side 1: Fighter pilot tactics (again), Difference in bombing missions after the invasion, Description of a specific bombing mission, Diving through cloud formations, German pilot landing in Fort Stockton Texas – mid-1970’s, Comparing war stories, Military brain washing on both sides, Use of flame-throwers during World War II, Military censorship of war events, Movies of actual battles, Military experiences (again), Personal responses to being in battle, Story about getting hit when strafing a train, Aircraft limitations, Military aircraft (again), Jet fighters, Number of plains in the sky at one time, Qualities of a good fighter pilot, Comparing fighter pilots to cowboys, Screening pilots, Aircraft maintenance, Military aircraft (again), Hitting the sound barrier in a propeller plane, Physical effects on the human body, B-51 capabilities, Military experiences (again), In combat for one year, Returning to the United States, Helping train new fighter pilots, Experiences in various aircraft, Tail dragger.

Tape 2, Side 2: Military experiences (again), Separation from the military – summer of 1945, Oil drilling after military service, Aviation business, Sul Ross University pilot training, Government funded during World War II, Aviation business (again), Charter flights for Mexican ranchers, Charter flights for businessmen going into Mexico, Establishing landing strips in Mexico, Big Bend Flying Service, Lawsuit over spraying chemicals, Changing name to Hardus Aviation – early 1970’s, Current involvement in Hardus Aviation, Located in Fort Stockton Texas, Crop dusting business, Hazards of crop dusting, Difficulties of flying into Mexico now, [DIFFICULT TO HEAR], Story about an airplane getting confiscated in British Honduras, Retired from commercial flying, Still flying to check on his cattle, Story about landing his plane on a freight train, Flying through a canyon in Big Bend Texas, Flying cattle buyers into Mexico, Shooting coyotes from the airplane, Wildlife, Lobo wolves being killed out in the 1920’s, Still sighting panthers and bobcats.

Range Dates: 1921-2000

Bulk Dates: 1940-1970

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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