Couch, Mr and Mrs Joseph E and Mrs J C Wilson 1975-09-24

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Mr. Couch relates his personal history and discusses his work with the Red Bluff Power Control District. Mrs. Couch and her sister, Mrs. J. C. Wilson, then relate their Armstrong family history, and Mrs. Wilson discusses her husband J. C. Wilson’s work with the Pecos River Compact Commission.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Couch and Mrs. J. C. Wilson

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: September 24, 1975

Location: Pecos, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Carpenter

Length: 2 hours, 25 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Family background, Father's early life and teaching career, Father came to Reeves County in 1899, Mother's background, Irrigation district formed in early 1900s, Barstow Company built a rock and brush dam on the Pecos River, Flume was built to convey water, Organization of Red Bluff Water Power Control District, Law of Beneficial Use became dominant in control of water usage between Texas and New Mexico, New Mexico pumpers taking water without permission, Red Bluff Dam built during the Depression under government agencies, Hand labor used in building dam, Dam was filled for first time in 1937, Dam site located near town of Orla, Lab tests to keep salt from entering river, Salt water sold to oil companies, Amount of land farmed became very small

Tape 1, Side 2: Family background and personal history, Early neighbors, Born in 1908, Sister Mary Catherine's life and family, Attended school in Pecos 1914-1926, Enrolled in Agriculture at Texas Tech 1926-1930, Taught and helped father farm after graduation, Father was first president of Red Bluff District, Elected as director of one of the seven component districts, after father's death, Elected to present position of secretary in 1938, Raised alfalfa and cotton, Met J. C. Wilson at his gin, C. E. Armstrong, father of Mrs. Couch and Mrs. J. C. Wilson, Excavated the spillway for Red Bluff, Married Jessie Armstrong in 1937, Daughters Suzanne and Christina, Administration of Red Bluff District, Possibility of records being microfilmed by Southwest Collection, Present oil and gas production in the district, Future improvements of the canal system

Tape 2, Side 1: Records of Red Bluff, J. C. Wilson helped finance area farmers in 1940s, Mrs. J. C. Wilson and sister, Mrs. J. E. Couch discuss their Armstrong family background, Reasons parents moved to Grandfalls in 1904, Beginning of area towns, including Grandfalls, Imperial and Royalty, Leonard Simon and Santa Rosa Ranch, Names of Armstrong family members, Drought of 1917-1918 caused move to El Paso Valley, Moved to Pecos in 1919 to operate gin owned by R. N., Couch, father of J. E. Couch, Pecos River flooded in 1922, C. E. Armstrong started contracting business, Cattle shoot program of 1933

Tape 2, Side 2: Cattle shoot during the Depression, Buck Jackson, J. C. Wilson's personal history and family, Began buying cotton in 1925, Went broke in 1926, Then founded Big Bend Gin Company, Former Texas Cotton Industries in 1935 with I. H. Kempner, Gins operated by T. C. I., Financed farmers, Wilson's work led to organization of Trans-Pecos Cotton, Association, Contract labor, Reason for the drop in cotton production, Pumping water with natural gas, Wilson sold gins and other property to Western Cotton Oil Company in 1948, Last farm lands sold in 1968, year of Wilson's death, J. C. Wilson appointed Pecos River Compact Commissioner for Texas in 1949, Served for 19 years, Emil Rassman, legal counsel for PRCC

Tape 3, Side 1: J. C. Wilson was Commissioner of PRCC 1949-1968, Goal was to increase quality and quantity of water in Pecos River, Red Bluff Water Power Control District hosted a dedication ceremony at Malaga Bend, Salt Cedar Eradication Program instituted to increase quantity of river water, Reasons for the program, Opposition from environmentalists prevents completion, Wilson cooperated with Texas Water Conservation Association, Royce Tipton, engineer and close associate of J. C. Wilson, Texas and New Mexico worked together on PRCC

Tape 3, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1899-1968

Bulk Dates: 1899-1968

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


Thank you for your interest in this oral history interview. Our oral history collection is available to patrons in the Southwest Collection's Reading Room, located on the campus of Texas Tech University. For reading room hours, visit our website. Please contact Reference Staff at least one week prior to your visit to ensure the oral history you are interested in will be available. Due to copyright issues, duplications of our oral histories can only be made for family members. If an oral history transcript has been made available online, the link will be provided on this page. More information on accessing our oral histories is located here. Preferred citation style can be found here. [Category: Great Depression]]