Wright, W Hamilton 1975

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Hamilton Wright, a reporter and Methodist minister, starts off with his early life near Austin, experiences as a railroad telegrapher, move to West Texas, work with newspapers, West Texas Chamber of Commerce and Texas Tech locating board, and years as a minister.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: W. Hamilton Wright

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: May 23 and June 11, 1975

Location: Abilene, Texas

Interviewer: David Murrah

Length: 8 hours 15 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Early life, Father worked for International and Great Northern, Railroad and ran a grocery store, Sam Bass visited father’s store, Born near Austin, Early Austin recalled, Changing modes of transportation, Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad came to Austin (1904), Father served in Confederate Army, Grandfather settled near Austin, Traveled with father, Attended Southwestern University, Worked as a newspaperman and railroad worker, Rode first Santa Fe Railroad train into Buffalo Gap (1910), Nina Duval, mother, Family discussed, Was Methodist minister in Plemons, Texas, Married Jo Slatton.

Tape 1, Side 2: W. J. Williams, Amarillo newspaperman, mentioned, Worked for Abilene Reporter-News, Returned to ministry (1914), Became telegraph operator for railroads, Returned to Amarillo as managing editor of Amarillo News (1917), During World War I, a German was hanged in effigy in Amarillo, In Abilene, was examiner who hired people to work in powder plant and ship yards (1918), Knew man who started flu epidemic (1918), Recalls being hired to work on newspaper in Ranger.

Tape 2, Side 1: Working for Ranger newspaper (continued), Credits Porter A. Whaley with idea of West Texas Chamber of Commerce (1913), Tells about witnessing two murders, One in Ranger, oil boom town, One in Buda, near Austin, WTCC organized (1918), Moved to Stamford to work for WTCC (1919), Took trip to Mexico to advertise United States (1923), Reason Fort Worth Record went out of business, J. Frank Norris story told, First editor of West Texas Today, Tells of reporting on Carlsbad Caverns, Joined Texas Tech locating board as a reporter, Viewed two towns a day, Members listed, Lists towns viewed.

Tape 2, Side 2: Description of choosing location of Texas Tech, Visit to Lubbock remembered, West Texas A & M College proposed (1917), Great disappointment when not approved, Homer D. Wade mentioned, Attended laying of cornerstone, Left Fort Worth Record, owned by William Randolph Hearts, when it merged with the Star-Telegram, Conflict between Amon Carter and Hearst, Carter wanted the Reporter.

Tape 3, Side 1: Conflict between William Randolph Hearst and Amon Carter (continued), Reason he could not work for Amon Carter, Carter tried to hire him away from Reporter, Returned to work for Lindsay Nunn on Amarillo News, Burglary of campaign office of Thomas L. Blanton, State Congressman (1925), Anecdote about mistake in an article, Story of Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger, J. Frank Norris described, Personal experience with Norris, Went to work for Stamford Chamber of Commerce as manager (1925), Returned to ministry (1926), Located in Lamesa as a circuit preacher, Sandstorm on Thanksgiving (1926).

Tape 3, Side 2: Organized several churches, Story of conversion in Three Leagues, Texas, Went to Draw, Texas, to preach, Subsequent career in ministry outlined, Argument with congregation at Turkey, Texas, In Jericho, Texas, worked as railroad agent and minister, Moved to Abilene as a reporter (1943), Began to preach again, Children named, First wife died in 1952, Married first wife’s sister, who died in 1972.

Tape 4, Side 1: Porter Whaley credited with developing concept of West Texas Chamber of Commerce (1914), Traveled with Texas Tech location committee reporting for Fort Worth Record (1923), Editor of Ranger Daily Times during Ranger oil boom, First work with West Texas Chamber of Commerce in Stamford, Activities of Porter Whaley, Employed as press agent for WTCC, Reason for businessmen to join WTCC, Ownership of Fort Worth Record traced, WTCC magazine West Texas Today, Trip to Mexico with WTCC (1923), Threat of Pancho Villa.

Tape 4, Side 2: Discussion of danger in Mexico (continued), First woman sheriff in Texas, First WTCC convention in 1920 recalled, Involvement of WTCC in small towns, Bands organized, Convention of 1921 in San Angelo, Exploration of Carlsbad Caverns, Jim White mentioned, Impression of early Carlsbad Caverns, Special assignment for WTCC, Story of shortcut from Colorado City to Lamesa, Well in Farwell, Texas, Lindsay Nunn mentioned.

Tape 5, Side 1: Locations of West Texas Chamber of Commerce conventions, Wrote brochure on establishment of Texas Tech, Change of WTCC, No conventions, States opinion that Porter Whaley was best WTCC manager, Early presidents of WTCC named, Clifford B. Jones mentioned, Role of Fort Worth in WTCC, Rivalry between towns, Role of WTCC in formation of other regional chambers of commerce, Arthur Brisbane, newspaper columnist of 1920s, mentioned, Edmund J. Clapp, economist, noted, Death of Porter Whaley, Anecdote about WTCC meeting, Threat to him by another man in WTCC, Value of having WTCC convention in a town, Traveling with Texas Tech locating committee.

Tape 5, Side 2: First work with Western Union, Learning telegraphy, Lost first job as a telegrapher, Took test in Oklahoma, Went to work at Comanche as a telegrapher (1907), Worked in Indian Territory, Explanation of railroad agents, Worked at Taylor, Texas, After work in ministry, returned to railroad (1943), Opinion given of various religions.

Tape 6, Side 1: Evangelism discussed, Revivals, Concept of hell explored, Social activities of churches, Chain of command of Methodist Church, Trying persons guilty of doing something against church rules, Recalls woman being arrested for wearing short dress, Work on Lamesa circuit, Preached at revivals.

Tape 6, Side 2: List of places where he was a preacher, Current interests, Writes for newspapers, Discussion of past correspondence and personal memorabilia.

Range Dates: 1904-1975

Bulk Dates: 1910-1943

Access Information

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