Watson, W Lee 1969, 1973, 1981

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W. Lee Watson discusses his family, the early history of Brownwood, the effect of Camp Bowie on that community, and his role in the growth of the Brown County Water Improvement District as a member of the Water Board.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: W. Lee Watson

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: July 31, 1969; October 3, 1973; January 20, 1981

Location: Brownwood, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Carpenter and Richard Mason

Length: 3 hours 25 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Father’s career and history of Weakley-Watson hardware business, Father, Lee Watson’s family background, Grandfather, J. C. Weakley’s family background, Personal achievements and offices, Family history begun, Childhood, Education and college activities, Writing family history, Mother’s family background, Sources of material—newspapers, books, etc., Anecdote about employee’s cap, Return visit to Indianapolis, Letters to children.

Tape 1, Side 2: Children and grandchildren, Hardware company business today, Wife’s family background.

Tape 2, Side 1: Gives brief sketch of personnel, Concept for Improvement District traced, Tells about allotment problems, In early stages had two boards, Comments on acquisition of dam site, Talks about building of dam, Troubles with dam recounted, Negotiated with city to supply water from dam.

Tape 2, Side 2: Continues discussion of dam, Army camp present problems, Notes existence of water tanks, Country Club recalled, Describes taxation process, Experiments with irrigation discussed, Lists water contracts obtained.

Tape 3, Side 1: Brownwood, Texas oil boom, Gas, Wells, Uses, Refineries, Lake Brownwood, Oil, Brownwood, Wyatt Hedrick, architect, Hotel built, Lee Watson, father, J. C. Weakley, maternal grandfather, To Brownwood (1876), Hardware business, Weakley and Watson Hardware Co., Wholesale locations (1930-1980), Brownwood businesses, JRB groceries, Camp Bowie, Locating, Water supply, Anecdote, Effect on town, Troops, Brownwood, Population (1981).

Tape 3, Side 2: Brownwood (continued), Growth, Industry, Camp Bowie (again), Land, Irrigation districts, Works Projects Administration, Brownwood water project, Bonds, Water supply, Agriculture, Crops, Lake Brownwood, Water level, Pumps (1977), Camp Bowie (again), Citizens’ welcome, Military wives, Effect on restaurant business, Closing, Effects, Business, Population (1950s), Great Depression, Brown County Relief Committee, Commercial Club (1912), Santa Fe Railroad, Accomplishments, Community leaders, Joe Renfro, Burt Weatherby, R. B. Rodgers, Dr. Mollie Armstrong, G. N. Harrison, W. P. Murphy, Texas Power and Light.

Tape 4, Side 1: Brownwood, Texas (continued), Outstanding citizens, Medical Arts Hospital, Founding (1925), Competition, Community gas service, Lone Star Gas Company, Prices, Civic Advisory Council, Father Harrison, City charter, Heart O’ Texas Development Fund, Citizens National Bank, Coggins National Bank, Failure, Anecdote, Closed.

Tape 4, Side 2: Citizens National Bank (continued), Reorganization, Howard Payne College, Possible move to Midland, Texas, Snyder family, University of Michigan, Family history, Mary Weakley, mother, Daniel Baker College, Merger, Rivalry with Howard Payne College.

Range Dates: 1876-1981

Bulk Dates: 1930-1981

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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