McWhorter, Owen Sr 1958, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1983

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Owen McWhorter Sr., longtime Lubbock attorney, gives several interviews relating to the early history and development of Lubbock County, including early medicine, the German-American community and the development of his own law practice.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Owen McWhorter Sr.

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: July 10 and 15, 1958; March 31, 1976; August 16, 1979; May 6, 1982; March 30, 1983

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Jean A. Paul, Joanna Shurbet, William Dunnagan, Richard Mason, Randy Kirk

Length: 6 hours 10 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Early recollection of appearance of South Plains, Childhood games, Mention of regional differences between population types in parts of Lubbock County, Ranch life: Fuel consumed, Burning bones for fuel, Problems of small ranch operation, Mustang hunts, Prairie fires, Phelps White’s automobile, Automobile slow to become popular, Autos used by land companies in promotions, Great prairie fire, Immigration to Eastern New Mexico.

Tape 1, Side 2: New Mexico immigrants (continued), Hardships of travel, dugouts and adobe shacks, Enticements for settlement in Eastern New Mexico, Early doctors on the South Plains, An unexpected visitor to the ranch (with a broken leg).

Tape 2, Side 1: Growth of Lubbock in 1907, Settlement of Lubbock was a westward movement, Lubbock’s growth gradual but continuous, Railroad expansion, Increased land sales as a result of railroad, First light and ice plant in Lubbock, Early telephone service, Electricity transmitted over barbed wire fences, Staked Plains Telephone Co. and Charles Alexander, Sewage and water systems for Lubbock, Windmills and standpipes, Commodes first placed in outside privies, Growth of Lubbock from 1910 to 1920, Dr. Overton’s concrete black plant, New additions to the town section, Roberts & McWhorter Addition, West Texas A & M College agitation, Proposed railroad construction through Lubbock, Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railroad scheme, West Texas A & M College (again), Meetings of property owners held to insure equitable values of land for sale, Home Loan business sprang up in 1920s, Great Depression in Lubbock.

Tape 2, Side 2: Absentee land ownership, Disposal of ranch lands to settlers, Sale of ranch land to farmers, Failure of early farming attempts, Failure of small ranchers to make a go of it, Land tenancy, Decline in cattle markets, Mild periods of depression, Agricultural experimentation, Small land sales operations, Land "prospectors", Secret of Lubbock’s growth—cooperation, Land agents from Lubbock "rustle" customers from other counties, Commercial Club in Lubbock, Uncle Tang Martin and the "blue beard" episode.

Tape 3, Side 1: Work with Office of Price Administration (WWII), West Texas reaction, Area served, Local support, Black market, Absence in Lubbock, Texas, Presence in El Paso, Texas, Popular items, Local violations, Lubbock business during World War II, Beginnings of Reese Air Force Base, Effect on economy, Lubbock’s growth after the war, Rapid activity, Community ownership, Downtown Broadway’s decay, New housing additions, Reasons for housing boom, McWhorter family’s move to Lubbock (1907), Robert’s purchase of Lubbock land (1909), Robert’s prediction of Lubbock growth (1927-28), Lubbock compared with Plainview, Effects of Texas Tech University, Steady growth of Lubbock (1907-1976), Breaking up of large ranches (1920-1930), Cochran and Hockley counties organized (1922-23), Change of Lubbock’s economic base, S. S. Rush plants first cotton, Growth of area farm industry, Two types of residents, Farmers, Ranchers, First irrigation well (1911).

Tape 3, Side 2: Father’s farm (B. O. McWhorter), Experimentation in irrigation (1930), Purposes, East to west movement, Wells become common (1934-35), Low cost, Attempt to save cattle, Waning hostility of opponents, Running out of water, Economic base of Lubbock, Courthouse square, Introduction of tractors, Difficulty of financing, Other economic influences, Oil, Location, Difficulties of early settlers, Settlers described, Why people settle here, Early Lubbock elective offices, Close merchant’s group, Revitalization of downtown Lubbock.

Tape 4, Side 1: Decay of downtown Lubbock, Decline of 19th and 50th Streets, Southwestern growth of city, Efforts to move north, Early tendency to move southwest, Effect of railroads, Location of town, Not in area canyons, Early Buffalo Springs, Distance of town from water, Consolidation of Lubbock and Monterey, Increase in crime rates, Contributing factors, W. S. Simkins, Professor of Law (University of Texas), Immigration, Bill Soash brought people for Slaughter Ranch, Russell (Chicago, Illinois) brought people.

Tape 4, Side 2: McWhorter’s first auto, Walter Day’s dairy, Russell settlers, "Russell’s dream" unsuccessful, Schultz family remained, Early day courts, Early Lubbock people characterized, D. A. Franks’ advice on locating practice, Service to three generations.

Tape 5, Side 1: Owen McWhorter, Birth (July 19, 1897), Dr. Hart, Mother’s illness, Appendectomy, Dr. M. C. Overton, Home remedies, Lobelia Poisonous Bean, Hospitals, Fear of hospitals, Physicians, Physicians’ community work, Dr. M. C. Overton, Lubbock Sanitarium, Medical advancement.

Tape 5, Side 2: Blank

Tape 6, Side 1: Migration to Texas (1907), Available land, Indian woman (Nancy), Died (1902), Son, Joe Evans, Joe’s Mill, Application to purchase, Land trade, Pony, Reasons for migration, Grandfather’s house, First irrigation well.

Tape 6, Side 2: First irrigation well (continued), Farming, Alfalfa, Irrigation well (1912), Centrifical pump, Gasoline transportation, McMillan well, Telephone lines, Installment, Cattle, Losses, Spade Ranch, Antelope.

Tape 7, Side 1: Singer Store, Location, Dr. M. C. Overton, Horse and buggy, Chauffeur, Mother, Sickness, Plains development, Drift fences, Cattle, Land values, Increase (1940s), County attorney (1920s), Ku Klux Klan, County offices, Bootlegging, Bootleggers, Mr. Walker, Clifford Lindsey, Robbery, Trial, Mr. Walker, Murder, Mr. Brown.

Tape 7, Side 2: Mr. Walker (continued), Conviction, Bootlegging, Stills, Availability of whiskey, Great American Desert, First settlers, Religious, Families, Disputes, Lubbock, Texas, Growth, Houses, Streets.

Tape 8, Side 1: March 30, 1983 by Randy Kirk Family history, Arrival on South Plains, Parents, Marriage (1892), Homestead, Land prices, School attended, Hale County, Texas, School building, Teacher’s salary, To Lubbock, Texas (1907), House—location, Parents’ origins, German community, Mennonites (1910), German names, Slaton, Texas, Prejudice, Work as an attorney, Germans on jury, Ku Klux Klan, Germans on juries (again), German community (again), Ku Klux Klan (again), Anti-German feelings, Early Lubbock County, Land, Ranches, Anecdote: Telephone line, People of the area, Characteristics, Supplies.

Tape 8, Side 2: Father, Ranch work, Livestock trade, Cattle commission company, Railroad (1909), Committees, Shipping cotton, Changes over time, Gun use, Game, Spade Ranch pasture, Antelope, Spade Ranch, Description, J. Frank Norfleet, Character, Physical description, Legal aid to Germans, Working in bank, Working in tax collector’s office, Germans in Lubbock area, Mennonites (again), Slaton (again), Ku Klux Klan (again), Lubbock area history, Development, "Prospects", Settlement, Smoking habit, Reasons for German settlement in groups, Schultz.

Range Dates: 1860-1893

Bulk Dates: 1897-1950

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