Stillwell, Hallie 1968, 1971

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Hallie Stillwell recounts her experiences as a teacher and ranch woman in the Big Bend country over the past 50 years.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Hallie Stillwell

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: June 6, 1968; July 28, 1971

Location: Alpine, Texas

Interviewer: Paul Patterson

Length: 3 hours 30 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Autobiographical material, Crossing the Pecos River, July 4th celebration (Fort Stockton), San Angelo residents, New Mexico homestead, Water witching, Hard winters, Trip to Texas: Traveler’s tale, First auto, Traveling through sand, Deming to Van Horn (time length), Alpine, Texas (1910), Fire, Autobiographical material, School, First principal, Enrollment, Subjects, Teacher certification, Summer institutes—enrollment and cost, Presidio teaching, Dress, Mexican refugees, Pistol incident, Breaking-in incident.

Tape 1, Side 2: Drunken soldiers, Biographical material, Stillwell Ranch, Ranch life, Pants incident, Panthers, Four & Eight homestead, 1916 Raid, Biographical material, Panther incident, Water witching incident, First Hereford bull, Flora, Deer hunting—fee, Lost hunter, Biographical material, Earmarking cattle, Horse stealing incident.

Tape 2, Side 1: Drought of 1914-18 in the Big Bend country, Effect on cattle, Description of skinning cattle, Reasons for lower cattle losses now, Use of native plants, Problems faced by ranchers prior to the Depression, Bandit raids recalled, Conditions on ranch during Depression and drought of the 1930s, Prices during World War I, Government cattle killing program (1930s), Reasons for the program, Program enacted on the Stillwell Ranch, Drought conditions on the Stillwell Ranch, Obtaining feed for the horses.

Tape 2, Side 2: Books Mrs. Stillwell has had a part in The Big Bend Country, How Come It’s Called This?, Advantages of the Big Bend country, Discusses ranch losses during the Depression, Threat of wild animals on the Stillwell Ranch, Improvements in ranching described, Screw worm eradication, New machinery, Driving cattle to Marathon, Teaching cattle to eat feed cake, Providing salt for the cattle, Sheep raising in the Big Bend country, Bootlegging and smuggling during Prohibition.

Tape 3, Side 1: Trespassers on the Stillwell Ranch, Buying supplies, Louis Hess and his store described, Weather in the Big Bend area, Storm at the ranch (1950s), Effect of hailstorms on cattle and horses, Discusses psychic powers of early ranchers, Weather signs in the behavior of animals, Ghost lights in the mountains, Certain activities performed according to moon phases, Dehorning cattle, Personalities of cattle and horses.

Tape 3, Side 2: Horses on the Stillwell Ranch, Horse named Red recalled, Working cattle with horses, Different horses used for different activities, Shoeing horses, Horse named Preacher described, Husband finds 1,200 lost Mexican cattle, Differences in Mexican and Texas cattle, Advantages of cross-bred cattle listed, Obtaining labor for the ranch, Cattle diseases mentioned, V. E. E., Black leg, Health advantages of the area, Mrs. Stillwell’s love of ranching explained.

Range Dates: 1910-1971

Bulk Dates: 1910-1950s

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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