Oral History Collection

MAIN ENTRY: Twichell, W. D. Family
DATE OF INTERVIEW: May 7, 1973
LOCATION OF INTERVIEW: Lewisville, Texas
INTERVIEWER: David Murrah
LENGTH OF INTERVIEW: 3 hours
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: The children of W. D. Twichell discuss their father’s early career, relating his surveying techniques and procedures, and remembering anecdotes concerning his activities. In addition, they also discuss the prohibition campaign in Amarillo, the development of oil leases on Twichell’s holdings, and a description of the "vacant strip" problems in Texas surveys.
TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE: 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 ONE, SIDE TWO 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 TWO, SIDE ONE: 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 TWO, SIDE TWO: 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 THREE, SIDE ONE: 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 THREE, SIDE TWO: 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