Twichell, W D Family 1973-05-07

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The children of pioneer surveyor W. D. Twichell discuss their father’s early career, relating his surveying techniques and procedures, and anecdotes concerning his family and business ventures. In addition, they recall the prohibition campaign in Amarillo, the development of oil leases on Twichell’s holdings, and the "vacant strip" problems in Texas surveys.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: W.D. Twichell Family

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: May 07, 1973

Location: Lewisville, Texas

Interviewer: David Murrah

Length: 3 hours


Tape 1, Side 1: Introduction of Twichell family, Father’s background and early career mentioned, Reads paper on the acquisition of Plains water, Anecdotes on mustangs related, Reasons for move to Texas given, Surveyed XIT Ranch, Story of establishment of Texas-New Mexico border, Survey of Yellow House Ranch and Littlefield cited, Recalls Quakers at Estacado, Meeting with Indians near Lubbock remembered, Responsibilities of surveyor examined, Anecdote on reluctance to carry a pistol.

Tape 1, Side 2: Gives reason for construction of tall Yellow House windmill, Association with Tascosa discussed, Remembers incident of singing in the saloon on Sunday morning, Town sites prior to 1900 listed, Use of astronomy in surveying explained, Recalls $40,000 sale of surveying records, Unique aspect of Twichell survey mentioned, Methods of surveying examined, Soil and botanical classifications cited, Function of survey party members given, Survey procedures and techniques (continued), "Pit and mound" method explained.

Tape 2, Side 1: State’s re-survey of XIT Ranch (c. 1911) recalled, Sylvan Sanders and Arthur Duggan, Sr. remembered, Recites anecdote on sale of land to Mennonites, Story of George Littlefield and prejudice against black employees, Survey team pay scale examined, Incident related of Judge Roy Bean and Twichell survey.

Tape 2, Side 2: Tells humorous anecdote on bald-headed man, William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) remembered, Twichell’s wedding and Mrs. Twichell described, School in Amarillo mentioned, Literary and cultural interests of W. D. Twichell examined, Description made of Twichell family entertainments, Anecdote on incompetent cook with the survey team, Notes affiliation with Methodist Church, Family life described, Received gifts from C. C. Slaughter, Counties and areas in which Twichell worked are named, Newspaper venture related to prohibition campaign.

Tape 3, Side 1: Draws background to prohibition campaign in Amarillo, Voting irregularities claimed, Carry Nation’s visit to Amarillo remembered, Was an element of violence in prohibition campaign, Experienced business failure in newspaper business, Female social custom mentioned, Review of Twichell’s career as "state surveyor", Subsequent career examined, Comments made on life in Austin, "Vacant strip" surveys described, Anecdote on Spindletop area, Twichell also studied law.

Tape 3, Side 2: Tells humorous incidents relating to Twichell’s dietetic habits, Conditions on surveying expeditions mentioned, Review of oil holdings and development, Yates Field cited, "Vacant strip" problems discussed, Explanation of factors in success of Twichell surveys, Summary of surveys made, Examination of Twichell’s retirement, church and civic activities, Twichell’s Indian story concerning Mackenzie told, Comments on Goodnight’s relationship to Indians, Kinship to Quanah Parker claimed, Recollections of Charles Goodnight.

Range Dates: 1875-Early 1900s

Bulk Dates: 1875-Early 1900s

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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