Limestone County Historical Commission
Limestone County Historical Commission

Dr. Paul Culwell

Conducted by Bill Ferris


May 21, 2008



Bill Ferris:  It is May 21, 2008, and we are in downtown Tehuacana, Texas. My name is Bill Ferris and we are talking today to Dr. Paul Culwell of Wortham, Texas, who just recently, I’m going to shake your hand and congratulate you on a 96th birthday that you had, what 3 days ago.

Dr. Culwell:  Sunday a few days ago.

Bill :  Sunday he was 96 and the reason we are talking to Dr. Culwell today, in addition to him being a good friend of my family all my life he’s known many Bounds come through, but he was also a principal of the high school at the time.

Dr. :  I was the last principal of the high school here.

Bill :  Of the actual high school

Dr. :  They closed in 1936.  I was the principal at that time

Bill:  When it closed.

Dr. :  When the high school closed

Bill:  Now that was 1936.

Dr. : 1936. 

Bill:  And we were talking right before we started the camera, and a member of that class was Jeffalynn Stuver and you remember her in that graduating class.  My grandfather went there, Floyd Bounds.  Did you have, was Floyd at the school when you were there?

Dr. :  No, Floyd was out of high school when I came. I came in 1931 and he was already out of high school, he and JT.

Bill :  There were both graduated at that time cuz I know he graduated from high school there.

Dr. :  As far as I know, JT was at Texas A&M.

Bill :  That’s right.

Dr. :  And Floyd went to Trinity University.

Bill : That’s correct. In Waxahachie

Dr. : In Waxahachie, yep, but they were both lifelong friends of mine.

Bill :  mmm hmmm.

Dr. : I, uh, knew them, associated with them, from 1931 up until the time they died.

Bill :  31.  Now, you don’t remember the building that’s there now, was the building you taught in

Dr. : That’s right.

Bill :  And you don’t remember the old wooden building at all, do you?

Dr. : No

Bill :  Although, Uncle JT had told me he remembered when it burned cuz they were dancing around, thought they’d never have to go to school again.

Dr. : Yes

Bill :  And he also told me at that same school when World War I ended they made a parade and they went from the school all the way to the highway and back with pots and pans, beating on pots and pans when World War I ended and I believe the building was built on the same site wasn’t it?

Dr. :  I imagine it was.

Bill :  I know it was the old school block.

Dr. :  I remember, in fact I’ve never even seen a picture of that old building.

Bill :  When you were hired, the building was there

Dr. : As it is now

Bill :  In a usable condition

Dr. : That brick building was built in about 1924 I think.

Bill :  It says 23 on the front and probably finished 24

Dr. : So it was built 7 years before I came

Bill:  Right

Dr. : And was still there and was continued to be used up until, I suppose for 50s

Bill :  Or early 60s or late 50s, I believe you are correct on that.  How old were you when you became principal?

Dr. : 19

Bill :  You were 19 years old and you had graduated from where?

Dr. :  Southwestern University.

Bill :  In San Marcos? Southwestern?

Dr. :   That’s Georgetown.

Bill:  And what year was that?

Dr. :  1931

Bill :  1931 you graduated

Dr. : I graduated in June, came here to teach in September

Bill :  Were you familiar with the region before then?

Dr. :  No

Bill : Where were you from originally? You told me this, but I’d like to hear it again.

Dr. :  My father was a Methodist minister, and I lived, uh, he did not enter the minister until I was about, uh, 7 years old, so we had lived on a farm up close to Rising Star, Texas.

Bill : Rising Star, Texas.

Dr. :  And then we had moved around over to what is known as the as Central Texas Conference and one time we were stationed at Kirven, Texas.

Bill :  That’s right over here.

Dr. :  Over here

Bill :   uh hmm

Dr. :  And later, after I, uh, came to teach here, my father came as the pastor to Prairie Hill, and, uh, they had two other churches in that area, but I, uh, lived all around over Texas.  I graduated from high school at Weatherford High School. We lived at Weatherford 2 years.

Bill:  But you were not that familiar with this region when you took the job?

Dr. :  No

Bill :  It was just a job to come to.

Dr. : I never been to Tehuacana until I came to apply for the job here long about, uh, the 1st of June.

Bill : Uh, was the railroad already defunct by that time?

Dr. :  No

Bill :  The railroad was still going?

Dr. :  The railroad was still going until around 1940.

Bill :  And that’s the TNBV?

Dr. :  The TNB

Bill : The Trinity Brazos Valley

Dr. :  I’m not sure whether it’s the TNBV or not, the TNBV ran through, uh, Kirvin over there. I don’t know whether this was a branch of the TNBV or not, but John Bounds and I had a peach orchard out there by the old railroad station, by right over there by the railroad.

Bill :  The Tehuacana railroad station

Dr. : Yes.

Bill :  The John Bounds that owned this house.

Dr. : Who owned this house. And we had 30 acres a piece

Bill :  And that is over, the old station, I know where it was, uh, the Thorntons have a house over here now.  It’s right on the highway. The building has been gone, but I think you can still see the old tank where they would fill the engines with water.

Dr. :  That’s probably true, and the road has changed. The highway from here to Mexia, uh, circled around over that old overpass that’s still there

Bill :  Over that bridge, mmm hmm

Dr. :  But the new highway has cut right through the middle of what was our orchard.

Bill :  Oh, That’ s the property you were on

Dr. :  It cuts right through

Bill :  What they call the Don Johanson road now. It’s the old overpass really. My mother told me when she was a girl, she thought that was the highest bridge in the world when they’d come up here. And that is very rarely used nowdays, even though it’s still over there. Well, I am about ready to go, would you mind taking a trip over to the school and just taking a look real quick?

Dr. :  I’d be happy to, we’re ready.

Bill :  Alright.  I might add that, uh, being 96 years old, Dr. Culwell drove himself over from Wortham this morning and, uh, might drive us over to the school. Let’s see. Here we go.

Dr. :  Yes, I’d be willing to.

Bill : (???) he said I think the East(???)

Dr. :  Well it’s Reynolds.

Bill :  Reynolds.

Dr. :  He had a Gulf station, I believe it was

Bill :  Right down the street

Dr. :  On the corner over there

Bill :  Right across from Shorty’s .  That’s right, that’s what he told us. Since you’re behind there would you mind driving over there?

Dr.  :  No

Bill :  Oh you’re filming. Linda’s filming.

Linda Ferris:  And you know, I’m not going to remember a thing of this unless I look at it.

Bill :  Cuz I remember Mike Wolfe was telling about peaches back in that area

Dr. : Yeah well, not that I know

Bill : Ok. Well things have probably changed a lot over here since you were, used to live around here.

Dr. :  Yes, I,uh, right about here is where we had our basketball court.

Bill : Really?

Dr. :  Right along there

Bill:  In the little park, here

Dr. : Where the park is now

Bill : So y’all were across the street with basketball?

Dr. : Well it might have been right about in this street here

Bill :  Ok

Dr.  : Very likely I remember we worked one Saturday with teams of mules, people working mud driving, pulling out big ole rocks, and leveling it, and, uh, fixing up a basketball court there.

Bill :  Isn’t that something?  Now was that road there?

Dr. : No, there were no roads thru.

Bill : Ok

Dr. : Now right along here is where the little merry-go-round sat.

Bill :  You know there’s a pipe over there I want to show ya. We were thinking it might have been a flag pole, but it could have been the merry-go-round, about a 4 inch pipe in the ground.

Dr. : The uh, the uh, oh yeah, yonder is where you’re burning.

Bill :  Yes, sir, I’ve got some smoke.  That’s the old seats.  When Yelverton bought, he just dumped them out in the old field over there.

Dr. : Ok

Bill :  There’s not a lot, not a lot left.

Dr. : Is that seats you’re burning? I see wood there.

Bill :  Well, there’s mainly just old lumber.

Dr. : OK.

Bill :  All this plaster here, I pulled it out with a wheel barrow and the level of the dirt had been accumulated so much, it probably got a foot and a half over the side walk, you couldn’t see any of that. That’s where all this dirt right here came from.  Now I’m sure these sidewalks were here, weren’t they?

Dr. : I can’t remember the sidewalks being here (unintelligible)

Bill : We got those. They’re over here.

Dr. :  They went to the restroom.

Bill :  Right. Got the restrooms in the back.

Dr. :  Yeah.

Bill :  I was going to ask you something.  I forgot what I was going to ask you.

Dr. :  There was a water trough

Bill :  There’s a little water fountain here. That’s not, is that more recent?

Dr. :  More recent

Bill :  mmm hmmm

Dr. :  We had a, a long fountain that had about 4 spouts

Bill :  Was it up against the wall?

Dr. :  No it was out even, right between here and that fountain yonder

Bill :  If you can, can we walk over here real quick? I want to show you that chunk of pipe I was talking about.  It looks like something important.

Linda:  Watch that sidewalk.

Bill : This little bump right here.  Here they put a gas meter in many years later. You can see the level of the dirt here.  It was this high everywhere. We had to get a tractor in here to find the sidewalk.

Linda : Bill, those twigs on the ground.

Bill :  She’s , she’s scared of ya.  This here’s the old water meter here, but right here we get this and it obviously a well-grounded piece of pipe.  It could have been a flag pole, but it could’ve been your merry-go-round.

Dr. : It could’ve been the merry-go-round.

Bill :  The trees were not here.

Dr. :  This tree was not here.

Bill :  Was not here

Dr. : (????)

Bill :  OK. Probably the merry-go-round then. That makes sense. And of course it was solid rock when you were here.

Dr. :  The rocks were up to the top of the ground

Bill :  And the back was just like that right now. Let’s step inside.

(Chain saw starting up and running)

Linda :  You might have had a little brick walkway to match the school.

Dr. :  That room right there was a book room. 

Linda :  Was that a library or is that where you stored the textbooks?

Dr. :  Where we stored the textbooks.  We kept textbooks over from year to year.

Bill :  That’s the previous owner. Said we paid the taxes on the wrong property.

Linda :  What?

Bill :  Well we’ll find out about it. Now let me tell ya. This got busted out real recently.  We had the original plaster and where going to restore it.  Some kids got in and knocked that all out. I’m pretty sure now these are the same doors.  They probably had little panes of glass in them. 

Dr. : Now I don’t remember that.

Bill :  These are some mighty big doors here.

Dr. : Yeah

Bill :  We just kind of pieced them back together.  I think you told me

Linda :  Bill clear the floor as you go

Bill :  OK. It’s pretty smooth. 

Dr. :  Now this was the office.

Bill:  This was your office.

Dr. :  This was my office right there.

Bill :  OK. And where was your desk?  Over here?

Dr. :  There was 5 or 6 feet  space between the desk and the window.  And over here was the record room, more or less.  And there was, uh, I don’t know whether that, uh, shelf was a, I know there was a closet, uh, that had doors on it and I thought it was metal but (???)

Bill :  It looks pretty original

Dr. : But that’s where we kept the records.  Everybody’s uh uh

Bill :  Grades and attendance?

Dr. :  Grades, and had their record card that showed the year by year progress of each student.

Bill :  mmm hmmm And you said this room was for textbooks, I believe.

Dr. :  Textbooks

Bill :  Over here, I thought it was funny.  I actually said is that your secretary’s office, and you said what’s that? (laugh) What’s a secretary uh?

Dr. :  But that was full of books.  We had lots of books so, they were state-owned textbooks.

Bill :  mmm hmmm

Linda :  I wonder where those books went to, Bill.

Bill :  City dump, I bet ya.

Linda :  Too bad.

Bill :  Well Dr. Culwell, I tell ya the truth.  When we bought the place, I didn’t realize it had the cement floors, everything looked like this in here and I got a shovel and I’ve dug down to it, and then I realized it had concrete walkways.  Now the actual classrooms had wooden floors.  But the walkways that you walked on were all concrete.  Now you remember the stairwells to the left and the right.  You probably went up those a few times.

Dr. :  Yep, my classroom was right there.

Bill :  Right, up there at the top left here?

Dr. : Right up there.  That was the mathematics classroom.

Bill :  mmm hmmm

Dr. :  And here this room, when the high school was here, was the social science room, and there was the 5th, and oh, 6th and 7th, or the upper grades were in there or upper elementary.

Bill :  Right.

Dr. :   Here was the, uh, the uh, typing, bookkeeping room

Bill :  Ok, and was there a cafeteria?

Dr. :  Uh, later there was a cafeteria after the high school was gone, and uh, the cafeteria was back in there.

Bill :  OK

Dr. : And dining room was right over here. Back yonder was, uh, the grades below whatever was taught over here.

Bill : Primaries?

Dr. : In that corner, and this corner over here was the 1st, and 2nd, and 3rd, or whatever that kind of arrangement we had.  Ms. Campbell taught in that room a long time.

Bill : Ms. Campbell.  I’ve heard of Ms. Campbell

Dr. : Mabel Fowler taught in that room a long time.

Bill : Ms. Fowler

Dr. : Jessie Delo Thornton taught in this room a long time.

Bill :  Jessie Delo

Dr. : And then there were others

Bill :  Now, uh, was Ms. Ballew there the time you were there?

Dr. : No, she, uh came after I left here.

Bill :  Gervis. She was a long time teacher here too.

Dr. :  She was at the elementary school after I was gone from here.

Bill :  How many years were you associated with the school here?

Dr. :  11.

Bill : So you were here from 31 to 42? Right before the war then.

Dr. :  Yes.

Bill : Ok. did you leave, did you serve in the war then?

Dr. : No. I left here to go to Wortham.  The Wortham principal and coach was joining the army, and they called me to come over there and take his place.

Bill :  I’ll be darn.  So you were affected by the war then.

Dr. :  That was the beginning of the 42 school year. And (???) went up the stairway a good many times.

Bill : And you remember the auditorium was above us.

Dr. :  The auditorium was right up in here. The stage was in this area.

Bill :   And there was a simple hallway. I remember a hallway in front of these windows that went from classroom to classroom.

Dr. :  Yeah, but kind of behind the stage.

Bill :  Behind the stage, correct.

Dr. :  I guess all that upper part from here on was an auditorium, there was a classroom over there.

Bill :  Right

Dr. :  And a classroom over here.

Bill :  Right

Dr. :  The classroom up there was English and language

Bill :  English and language

Dr. :  Mathematics

Bill :  This was social studies here

Dr. : This was commercial subjects (???)

Linda: Secretarial skills

Bill: mmm hmm

Dr. :  And so bookkeeping

Linda : Right

Dr. : typing

Linda:  mmm hmm

Dr. :  And so on. And over here social science, and uh, mathematics up there.

Bill :  You already mentioned the bathrooms were out back

Dr. : The bathrooms out that door yonder

Bill : Right

Dr. : Go right there to park (???)
Bill:  No which one was girls, which one was boys?

Dr. :  Girls over here

Bill : To the right, on the East

Dr. Boys over here

Bill :  Now did you have your own executive washroom or did you head out to the back with everybody else? 

Dr. : Everybody else.  We had no lavatory or what not for anyone

Bill :  No separate facilities, huh?

Dr. : No separate facilities

Bill :  It was a different world back then.  Now, uh, was it wood heat when you were here? Or was it gas heat? You remember?

Dr. :  umm, I trying to think now whether it was a central gas, not gas, coal, coal heater, and it heated water and had radiators.  Every classroom had radiators that hot water ran to and that’s the way the rooms were heated.

Bill :  Well obviously when this building was built, probably before you came, I think there’s about 11 chimneys, flues still in it so it must have been a wood heat at one time and then they swapped over to gas or coal.

Dr. :  We had a house out there, a coal house.

Bill :  I meant to ask you if there were any other out buildings, do you remember on the campus?

Dr. : Only one was our coal house

Bill :  Like a storage shack?

Dr. :  Yes, a little wood building probably about as long as this is wide and about twice as wide.

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. : And that’s where the coal was stored.

Bill :  Coal storage

Dr. :  We had switched over, I believe, to gas before I got here.

Bill :  mmm hmm.  You can see where they fit a gas meter in and kind of fit all the gas pipes in afterward.

Dr. :  Gas, but they started out with coal.  I remember I used to have to buy coal for the Negro school. The district had two Negro schools.

Bill : Two black schools? Yall had to buy coal from them.

Dr. :  For them. 

Bill : For them. Oh ok out of your budget.

Dr. :  Well the budget included the expenses for those two schools.

Bill :  Where were they/

Dr.  :  One was located right here very near what is known as the old rock crusher pit.  You know the old rock pit.

Linda : Right out here

Bill:  Yeah, sure, it’s still there.

Dr. : Out there right beyond it.

Bill:  Now there’s a little black church there, New Hope

Dr. : That may be on the same property right on the right hand side. That’s probably near the same location.

Bill : mmm hmm

Dr. : And there was one out on Dave Bounds property there just the other side of the crossroad out here after you cross 27. It sat in a field out there about a quarter of a mile from the crossroad.

Bill :  And it was on Dave Bounds’ property?

Dr. : On Dave Bounds’ property

Bill :  hmm I had never heard about that

Dr. :  And it sat right out, it was about 100 yards back off the road, right up the middle of the field.  And that’s black dirt.

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. :  You can imagine walking up to that

Linda : So were you purchasing clerk for those little schools as well.

Dr. :  Yeah

Linda:  Like this was a central hub

Dr. : Yeah, I hired the teachers for them

Linda :  Was that under the Mexia or the Tehuacana school system?

Dr. : No this was an independent school district and we had our own board of trustees.

Linda : mmm hmmm

Dr. :  And our own independent tax rate.

Bill :  Do you remember some of the board members when you were there? Some we might remember?

Dr. :  Well there was Jud Cogdell, who was

Bill :  Starley’s dad or uncle?

Dr. :  No, grandfather

Bill :  Grandfather, ok

Dr. : Guy Yelverton

Bill:  Charles Dana’s grandfather

Dr. :  Let me think.  I think Mr. Higgins was on the school board, and Jace Floyd, was on the school board.

Bill :  Jace senior

Dr. :  Jace senior, yeah.

Bill : Right

Dr. : And uh

Bill :  Any Boundses you remember?

Dr. :  I’m not sure whether Dave was ever on the school board or not

Bill :  It doesn’t sound his style

Dr. :  I think he kind of shied away from, from, uh getting involved with meetings and, uh,

Bill :  Public stuff

Dr. :  Like being mayor and such.  Now John, John was the mayor for, oh, 10 or 15 years

Bill : I knew John had been mayor

Dr. :  It was a long time

Bill :  But Dave wasn’t that public of a man

Dr. : Uh, Jace was on the board, and, uh, those are the only ones I can remember at the moment.

Bill :  And what was the largest staff you had here, when you were here. You and two other teachers?

Dr. :  Naw, the largest when I came here the staff was about 8 people. 

Bill :  Really?

Dr. :  7 or 8 teachers, I don’t remember

Bill :  Was there a custodian or were you it?

Dr. :  I was trying to think about that yesterday.  I don’t remember a custodian.

Bill :  Maybe parents came in and helped or something?

Dr. :  I don’t remember a parent ever coming up here and helping.

Bill :  Maybe you did it.

Dr. :  The teachers may have swept their own room for all I know.

Bill :  That’s what I’m thinking.

Linda :  Who hired you, Dr. Culwell?

Dr. :  Uh, the Board of Trustees hired me.

Linda : Ok

Dr. :  A fellow by the name of Cecil Moore was the Superintendent at that time and I guess he probably recommended me, I don’t know, to the school board, but the board, and I interviewed board members around, and I had to go out to the country

Bill :  To their homes?

Dr. : To their homes. I believe, Higgins filling station, I went to visit him there.

Bill :  This was the late 30s wasn’t it?

Dr. :  It was in 1931.

Bill :  Early 30s.  This was pretty much a brand new building, wasn’t it?

Dr. :     Fairly new

Bill :  Yeah, still in good shape.

Linda :  Who built the building?

Dr. :  Well it was built by the district.  They issued bonds, they voted some bonds, and uh, uh, used the bond money to build it with. 

Bill :  Uncle JT remembers, he said he was a boy, he watched the men plaster the walls.  He can remember the actual construction of it.

Dr. :  He should.  What did I say, it happened in 1924?

Bill :  23 or 24 The signs says 23 but probably finished it in 24.

Dr. :  They issued bonds and, uh, I don’t remember how much the bond issue was, but I recall we paid it off during my tenure here.  I don’t recall what year we paid it off.

Bill : I’m curious to know what the building cost.

Dr. :  I think the year we paid it off, we may have paid it off 2 or 3 years in advance of its final date. I know we did pay that off.

Bill :  You get up to 7 on the staff here.  I didn’t realize it was that big.

Dr.  :  Well, you remember we had a secretarial studies teacher, mathematics teacher, language teacher, I’m talking about high school now

Linda:  Yeah

Dr. :  And one other, one other high school teacher.

Bill : You didn’t mention any science.

Dr. :  Uh

Linda : History and

Dr. :  Seems to me we taught Biology, that would be in the Lab room right there.  Seems like we did do that. But anyway, I think we did have the four high school teachers and then the elementary school teachers.

Bill :  I know the later books I’d seen right before it closed down had gotten down to only elementary had seen your principal and had gotten down to two teachers, had gotten down to three right before they closed it up. And you were here when they went down to just junior high what was it was up to 9th grade yall taught here? Or 8th?

Dr. :   Thru the 7th.

Bill :  7th grade then they went to Mexia after that.

Dr. :  That’s right.

Bill :  Talking to Linda Crim and she said it was such a traumatic event, you know when you are born and raised you know, and you stay in Tehuacana, go to school in Tehuacana, all of a sudden you are shipped away to a big city, and she said you felt like a step-child and a half there.

Dr. : In a way they were sort of step-children children, they felt a little out of place over there for the first year or two.

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. :  For the first year or two

Linda :  Now, Mr. Culwell when you went to Wortham, wasn’t the city kind of oil boom days, or was it?

Dr. :  No, it was past the oil boom

Linda : mmm hmm

Dr. :  Oil boom days in Wortham were in the 20s

Linda :  The 20s

Dr. :  I went there in 1942, so it was settled back down about where it is now.

Bill : How long were you principal over there in Wortham?

Dr. :  Oh, 2 years

Bill :  Just 2 years.  Now, when did you go back, you went back to school though, did you? To get your doctorate? Or did you have your doctorate at that time?

Dr. :  No I did my, uh, Master’s and Doctor work.  I did my Master’s work during the summer and had finished it in 42 I think.  I think I finished about 42.  Umm, my PHD I just worked on it in, uh, uh, in various ways.  I, uh, started out, I went from, uh, Wortham up to A&M to teach during the War ???, basically, and I taught Mathematics there.

Bill :  at college level?

Dr. :    Yes

Bill : ok    

Dr. :  And I taught introduction to electricity

Bill :  oh really?

Dr. :  I taught in electrical engineering school

Bill :  I had no idea

Dr. : So, I went from Wortham to there, and then I got a call wanting me to come for an interview at Trinity University in San Antonio                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. : I went down and interviewed em and I took a job there teaching Chemistry at Trinity University

Bill : How long were you there?

Dr. : I was at Trinity for,oh, 4 years.  I moved, uh, after about 2 years, 2 or 3 years, I moved over into the mathematics department at Trinity.  I was Chairman of the Mathematics Department at Trinity for several years.  Then I moved from Trinity over to San Antonio College where I, uh, taught Mathematics, and was Chairman of the Mathematics Department there for several years. Then I was Dean of the college for, oh, 14 years.

Bill :  Good Gracious!!!

Dr. :  With a faculty of 1100 people

Bill :  Oh my gosh…

Dr. : That was just the faculty.

Bill :  And here you are back in, and where did you retire?  What city were you in?

Dr. :  In, uh, San Antonio.

Bill : San Antonio

Dr. :  I retired in 1975 and moved to Wortham

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. : And I been there ever since.

(Chainsaw cutting)

Bill :  There went that tree.

Linda :  That tree.

Bill :  There went that tree.  They been cutting on that thing all day.

Dr. :  Well, that’s my

Bill :  Quite a career

Dr. :  My career

Bill :  Quite a career

Dr. :  I was, uh, Chairman of the Texas section of the Mathematics Association of America for one term.  That includes all of the Mathematics teachers at colleges and universities in Texas.

Linda : Oh my goodness.

Bill : Pretty intimidating.  I can’t add my way out of a paper bag.

Linda :  And you learned to add and subtract here, didn’t you?

Dr. :  I don’t know whether I learned that much here or not.  I learned a lot of things.

Linda :  Oh yes, oh yes.

Bill :  Let me ask you one more question.  Were you the main discipline giver here at Tehuacana?

Dr. :  Yes

Bill :  Were you the spanking man?

Dr. :  Uh, huh, yes I was.  And I got ahold of one spanking job that was pretty tough.

Bill :  And what was that?

Dr. :  Well I won’t name any names.  He was a stout little boy.

Bill :  Uh oh, did he get the rod from you?

Dr. :  Well, he uh, uh, well I shouldn’t recount this for people to hear.

Bill :  Record this?

Linda :  Sure.

Bill :  Back talked her and she stood up and slapped him and he stood up and slapped her back.  ??? came home crying that day and she said we don’t talk about that anymore.  That was back in his teenage years ???

Dr. : Leoma (?) was our substitute teacher and I remember when I, uh, ??? in the middle of the night and my brother Jack was living with us and he had to walk from the house here over the hill down to Leoma’s house.  He said that was the coldest morning he had ever seen.  The temperature was in the teens or below. I don’t know it might have been in the single digits.

Bill :  Oh my gosh!!!

Dr. :  It was a cold time. And I had to get up and take Martha Nell to the hospital

Bill :  What’s the birthdate on that?

Dr. :  Well Jane was born on the 19th, but

Bill :  Of January?

Dr. :  Of January, but, uh, she was in the hospital about 2-3 days before, so we must have gone about the 16th, the night of the 16th of January.

Bill :  Mid January and it was freezing.

Dr. :  And Paul had to walk against that North wind.

Bill :  That’s what he remembers about it.

Dr. :  And nearly froze to death.  Anyway,  Leoma was the substitute.

Bill :  Anyway, speaking of it, you’re one of how many brothers?

Dr. : 5

Bill :  5 brothers. Were there any sisters?

Dr. :  1

Bill :  1 sister, 6 children.

Dr. : 6 children.

Bill : Now I’ve met at least 2 of your brothers I think.

Dr. :  I’m the ????

Bill:  Now, Y’all look very similar. Yall all look alike, right?

Dr. :  Not all, no.

Bill : Well the ones I’ve met look just like ya.

Dr. : They was one who looked very much like me,

Bill : Uh huh.

Dr. : And then the others didn’t look like me.

Bill :  Well maybe it’s just the one I’ve met, but he looked a lot like ya, just like ya. He came to church one day.  Now, which one was that?

Dr : That was James Clarke.

Bill : James Clarke.

Dr. :  He was 2 years older than I.

Bill : Ok.

Dr. : And, but we looked very much alike.

Bill :  Oh very much alike.

Dr. :  In fact, I’ve looked in the mirror in a restroom, in a public restroom, somewhere and looked in the mirror and seen that and thought, “Well, there’s Clarke.”

Linda: Well there he is.

Bill :  Talking to yourself.

Dr. :  And I done that looking in the mirror

Bill :  Looking at your own self.

Dr. : In the mirror, looking at myself, and seeing him.  So we did look a lot alike.

Bill :  Uh oh, I guess I’ll admit that.  I want to show you something over here. This

Linda:  Oh ok, I have a question.

Bill : Oh I’m sorry.  Go ahead.

Linda : I had a question about Martha Nell.  Your stepping on a stick.  Did you meet her here in Tehuacana?

Dr. : Yes, she was a

Bill :  She was  a Moody, wasn’t she?

Dr. : She was a Moody.

Bill :  Moody. Right, one of the many.

Dr. : And she was in high school when I was teaching.

Linda : Mmmm

Dr. : High School here.  She, uh, I think she left high school.  She left high school, well, actually before she graduated.  She never did graduate from high school.  She was in high school for three years, and she uh, took enough subjects, she almost had enough, just lacked one subject, English.  And her Uncle Wayland got a lady to teach her English, and, uh, up at the college one summer so she could enter, uh, so she could go to college.  So she was just 3 years in high school.

Bill :  Oh. Well she was a smart lady.

Dr. :  She went up there a couple of years and then she went to Baylor University.

Bill:  Now she’s not one of the ones, there was 13 Moody kids. Now she’s not one of those.

Dr. : Oh no. Well she’s the daughter of one of them.

Bill :  Wayland was one of the 13. Her uncle.  That’s right.

Dr. : Wayland was one of the 13. Martha Nell’s father was Duward Moody. One of the 13.

Bill : Duward, yes.

Dr. : Martha Nell went from here over to Baylor University, and it was not until after she had, well we started actually dating when she was a senior in Baylor University and married after she had graduated from Baylor University.

Bill : And you were living here at the time/

Dr. : I was living here.

Bill :  Where was your home in Tehuacana?

Dr. :  Uh, I lived in 3 places.  First, I started with Obe Milburn in a place, in a house up there where the brick building, the president’s home up there

Linda : Yes

Bill :  mmm hmmm

Dr. :  It was located right about there Obe Milburn

Bill : O-L-B

Dr. : Ob. O-B

Linda : Was it right around the corner? Like where the

Dr. : No, no. It was right, right in there, a little bit behind where that brick building is.

Linda : Oh.

Dr. :  Not very far behind it, just right in there, and, uh, then I lived with Bertha Posey, and you know where Bertha’s house was?

Bill : Down by the Cottons.

Dr. : Down the

Bill :  Further down the Main street before you get to Richard Johnson’s house.

Dr. :  I don’t know Richard Johnson, but it’s the first house beyond where you put that little house.

Bill :  Mike and Don’s.

Linda : Oh

Bill :  Mike and Don’s.  The Posey house.

Dr. : Yep Posey, Bertha Posey.  And I lived with Dave and Jesse Bounds.

Bill :  In their home over there?

Dr. :  Yeah, in their home over there. No, not in that home.

Bill :  The one before.

Dr. : In the one they tore down to build that one.

Bill :  mmm hmm and I used to know the name of that one and I’ve seen it in films and it faced Pearson’s house.

Dr. :  Yes, and naw it really didn’t face Pearson’s house. It faced, it faced where Beth’s house is.

Bill :  Yeah, it was on that corner, though and it faced Beth’s house.

Dr. : Yeah, it was right there where they built the brick home now.

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. :  But, uh, I don’t remember, I was I lived there with a fellow by the name of Mondale that taught Chemistry at the college

Bill :  There was a lot of boarding back then, huh?  I mean people put up a lot of people.

Dr. :  Uh, but, uh, Mondale and I lived with Dave and Jesse for 2 years. Then he got married and I moved back down to the uh, the Posey place, Bertha Posey.

Bill :  Was it any restaurants in town at the time or any other businesses?

Dr. : Big restaurant, a hamburger joint

Bill :  I’m trying to think…

Linda:  There was one

Bill :  Needham’s

Linda : Yes

Bill :  Needham’s hamburger joint.

Dr. :  Needham had a business.

Linda:  Was that the café’ right behind here?

Bill :  That was the College Inn.

Linda:  Oh ok.

Bill :  I think.

Dr. :  Uh, the, Needham’s was right next to the what used to be the Gulf Station there on the corner. Needham had uh, had uh hamburger and what, soft drinks.

Linda:  Was it behind Mike’s?

Bill :  I think it’s where Bertha Posey.

Dr. : A nickelodeon, where everybody put a nickle in the

Bill :  Juke box

Dr. : juke box and set and listened to the jukebox.  College kids came up in there and set around and drank soda water and listened to the juke box.

Bill:  What a town.

Dr. :  Then Needham had a dry cleaning place right next door to that and then he had a dry goods store, a clothing store next to that.  He

Bill :  Now did Mr. Russell (???)

Dr. : Now Asa, he sold that out a year or two, he quit that business a year or two after I got

Bill :  Is Mr. Wright still here?

Dr. :  Wright came after I came; he was here when I left.

Bill : Right, Ok. Wright Drug Store?

Dr. : Yeah, the bank was there when I came.

Bill :  Ok, It’s still here.

Dr. :  And, the bank building is still here. 

Bill :  I mean, but was the bank still in business?

Dr. :  Oh, yes.

Linda :  Oh really?

Dr. :  I deposited money in that bank. What little I had. I didn’t have much.

Bill :  Well, I’ve seen checks from that bank for a quarter written in pencil.

Dr. :  Yeah, I’m not surprised.

Bill :  Any my great grandmother, no my great-great-grandmother wrote one of them

Dr. :  Anyway, that bank was up there and I don’t remember how long it lasted, a year or two after I got here; it didn’t last long.

Bill:  mmm hmm

Dr. :  And then we moved to, uh, a bank in Mexia.

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. :  And I recall, uh, that one of the things that I had to do was, uh, to check up on the audit, the tax collect, we had our own district tax collector, and I had to audit his books.

Bill:  mmmm

Dr. : And I found him a good bit short.

Bill :  You did?

Linda : mmmm

Dr. :  Yes

Bill :  Oh ok.

Dr.  :  So I had to tell the School Board about that.

Bill :  Oh my gosh.

Dr.  :   That he was, you know

Bill :  Skimming or something.

Dr. :  I think it was somewhere around 1500 and 2000 dollars.

Bill :  That’s a lot of money back

Dr. :  It was lots of money back then.

Bill :  Good night.

Dr.  :  So I had to handle that deal through the Board

Bill :  You had to blow the whistle on him.

Dr. :  Uh, I had to go talk to his man and the family about restitution, but it never was paid back. 

Bill :  Oh, man, you had quite a controversial set of duties, fighting fathers and collecting taxes.  Mild mannered educator here.  Out there wrestling the cages up.

Dr. : But, uh, no that was one of the unpleasant duties I had was deaing with; that man had been a tax man. I think he had been on the School Board at one time.

Bill :  Gosh.

Dr. : and, uh,

Bill :  Temptation got too great.

Dr. :  He got too poor.

Bill :  mmm

Dr. : And, ummm, you know how people, you know how people are when they are handling other folks money.  If it’s there in the house, and I’ve got to have, got to have something to eat.

Bill : Yeah,

Dr.  :  I haven’t got any money; I’ll get it out of that pot over there.

Bill :  And pay it back later, sure.

Dr. :  And it just grows from there

Bill :  Accumulates, and accumulates.

Dr.  :  You get it and you don’t pay it back.  It begins to grow in small amounts.

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. : He didn’t mean anything harmful about it; except he was just so poor and this money just kept coming into his house

Bill :  That’s a shame. What a temptation.

Dr. :  And, uh, he just couldn’t, couldn’t stand it.

Bill :  All the metal frames.

Dr. :  All the metal frames.

Bill :  Really?  Is that a summer time project?

Dr. :  Yeah

Bill :  Y’all did close during the summer, didn’t ya?

Dr. : Yeah in the summer we were closed.   No school  going on from until the end of May.

Bill :  Was yours a year around job or did it close down with the school?

Dr. :  Uh, it was year round the latter, uh, from 36 to 42, it was year round, but, uh, before then it, uh, it was just nine months.  So, I didn’t have any income in the Summer time.  I don’t remember what I did for money.

Bill :  Pick cotton.

Dr. : Pick cotton.  I did some of that.

Bill :  Got your principal out there picking. But there was a superintendent over you.

Dr. : Yes

Bill :  You were not the superintendent.

Dr. :  I was not the superintendent of the high school.  I was the superintendent after the high school departed and we had just the elementary school.

Bill :  Ahh.  You became Superintendent then.

Dr. :  I became superintendent then.

Bill :  But, before when it was still the high school, you actually had a boss that was above you.

Dr. :  I had a boss above me.

Bill :  Ok. And was that his only job, uh?

Dr. :  No, he was the Social Science teacher.

Bill :  Ok.  The boss was a teacher.

Dr. :  We all were full time teachers.

Bill :  That’s kind of a strange arrangement.

Dr. :  Can you imagine, can you imagine an administrator of any public  school now teaching.  Think of the number of administrators they have at public schools now.  You’ve got a superintendent, two or three assistant superintendents,  you’ve got principals, assistant principals, and, uh, I was the one and only coach, and the coach and the mathematics teacher and the principal, the high school principal.

Bill : And later the superintendent.

Dr. :  Now instead of having one coach, high schools have 20 or 30 coaches.

Bill :  Wortham’s got 5.

Dr. :  Uh, More than that I think.

Bill :  Alright now, not counting the assistants and everything.

Dr. : Yeah.

Bill :  Coaching staff.

Dr. : Yeah.

Bill :  And that’s a little tiny school.

Dr. : Yeah, and when I went to Wortham, I was the only coach in the system.

Bill :  And you were principal also over there.

Dr. : I was principal qoer at Wortham.  It was a much bigger school than this, but I was the principal, and the mathematics teacher, and the coach.

Bill:  You have a good horse you ride ‘em huh?  I sure appreciate it Richard.

Richard:  You bet.

Bill:  Burn the heck out of it.  Well can we get a ride back with you Dr. Culwell?

Dr. :  Get in.

Bill :  Oh it feels good to sit.

Linda:  What a beautiful day.

Bill :  It’s incredible. Now, you keep a dog, don’t ya?

Dr. :  Yes, I do.

Bill :  I thought you had a dog last time I went there.

Dr. : I did.  Still got a dog.

Bill : How is your dog?

Dr. :  Aww, he’s happy as can be.  Happy as he can be.

Bill :  Got the best job in the world.

Dr. :  Well, let’s see, straight ahead that was the John Black house

Bill:  Was that the valley Blacks?

Dr. : No, that wasn’t. Uh, John was Olena Black’s, remember Olena Black of Tehuacana, of Wortham?

Bill:  mmm hmm

Dr. :  She married the son, this man had been superintendent of the schools here back when the building was built I believe.

Bill :  Oh gosh.

Dr. :  And then he went up to Blooming Grove and after he retired from there, he came

Bill :  So that was Olena’s father-in-law?

Dr. :  Olena’s father-in-law. And, uh

Bill :  Now, I’m trying to think…Linda what was the lady in the wheelchair lived up here, uh, real pretty?

Linda:  Ms. Dorsett?

Bill :  Ms. Dorsett, she was a Black. Now I bet that’s the same family. Genevieve Dorsett, did you know her Doc?

Dr. :  Genevieve Dorsett was, uh,

Bill :  She was a Black, wasn’t she?

Dr.  :  She was a Black. And she had a sister name Georgie.

Bill :  Georgie?

Dr. :  Yeah, Georgie died just recently.

Bill : Genevieve was a very intelligent woman.

Dr. : Genevieve

Bill:  You can take a left here.

Dr. :  And, uh, uh, well let’s see the Dorsett’s lived off down that road there and that,s where the Trotter’s house is.

Bill:  mmm hmmm

Dr. :  That’s where the Dorsett’s, she married Bo Dorsett, and, uh, Bo had a brother Jack.  Jack Dorsett was killed during the 2nd World War. 

Bill:  This is where your house was?

Dr. :  Uh huh, on the side.

Bill :  Maybe to the left of it.

Dr. : Where I lived was just almost where that house is.

Bill :  Yes, I know which one. The sidewalk is still there.

Dr. : Almost where that house is.

Bill:  And they moved that house and I’m trying to think where. It’s still here.

Dr. : Yeah,

Bill:  It’s, uh, which one is it? Shoot.  I’ve seen it.  It’s a real simple house.

Dr. :  Yeah.

Bill:  It’s one of the college houses.

Dr. :  It’s uh, it had, uh, I don’t know how many bedrooms.  It was a pretty good size house.

Bill :  I’ve seen an aerial photograph of it.

Dr. : Cuz I had a room there, two of the uh, of the uh, women teachers had a room there together. So, there were three teachers living there, room and boarding, and I lived right down yonder in that Posey house, looking at it yonder.

Bill:  Yes, it’s still there.  uh, what was on this lot here where that mobile home was? Right here, was there anything there?

Dr. :  When I came here a men’s dormitory, not as large as this one, it was 2 or 3 stories.

Bill:  Was this? So you remember that building?

Dr. :  Yeah, it was standing right there.

Bill :  Was it kind of fancy?

Dr. :  Uh, no, it was pretty well run down.

Bill :  Ok

Dr. :  They hadn’t kept it up very well.

Bill:  Did it burn?

Dr. :  I think it burned.

Bill:  Yeah, I…that…it was a women’s dorm for a while.  You say it was a men’s dorm.

Dr. :  It may have been, but I never knew it as anything but a men’s dorm.

Bill :  I think originally it was another women’s dorm.  I knew it had burned.

Dr. :  Any way, that’s…

Linda:  And you don’t have any pictures of all this, do you?

Dr. :  Nope.

Linda:  No…

Dr. :  I didn’t have a camera.

Bill :  Rich people had cameras.

Dr. :  Rich people had cameras.

Linda: Yeah

Bill:  I was going to ask you. You don’t have any old, uh, Tehuacana, uh annuals, uh uh, books from the school, do ya?

Dr. :  Yes I did have. And I think I gave it away just a few days ago.

Bill :  A few days ago?

Dr. :  I might could retrieve it for you.

Bill :  You don’t have to retrieve it.

Dr. : Well, I did.  Now the telephone office was right here.

Bill:  Right here. It moved down to Camp Crow. You remember Camp Crow?

Dr. :  Uh, yes.

Bill:  He moved it down near the Reese’s. 

Dr. : I see.

Bill: And it’s still there.

Dr. :  Now this is the John Bounds’ house.

Bill :  That’s correct.  Still haunted by him.

Dr. :  And yonder is the bank building.

Bill:  mmm hmm

Dr. :  And right straight across from that was Needham’s, uh confectionery.

Bill: Confectionery?

Dr. :  And hamburger joint.

(Looking at old newspaper article)

Linda:  Well that’s Maude

Dr. :  Maude Bain

Linda: yes

Dr. :  There.  Polly Campbell and Mabel Fowler

Bill :  That was just the elementary, wasn’t it?

Dr.:  Yes, this was just the elementary.

Bill :  mmm hmm 36-37.

Dr. :  I was the elementary school, after the high school was departed

Bill : mmm hmm, It’s got quite a few, oh, Teddy Dozier is in there. I didn’t even notice that.

Linda:  You see how high up those windows are?

Bill :  Yeah, I’m looking for, I’m wondering if this could be on the west side.

Linda: On the west side

Bill :  Not the west side, I meant the East side.  It goes down some.

Dr.  :  I don’t know where it was made.

Bill:  It’s in front, but you can’t tell if the door is here or over there.  It’s just these two windows and  you’re in the middle there.  You don’t look too happy at the time either.  People say how you feeling, and I say I’m overworked and underpaid, but at least…

Dr. :  It’s hard to recognize from those faces

Bill :  mmm hmm

Dr. : Hard for me to recognize

 Bill :  Oh, I’m sure.  They look totally different.  Your sister, Lady Leoma, is supposed to be in there, but I couldn’t even see her.

Dr. :  This looks like a Spakes right there

Bill :  A Spakes?

Dr. :  A Spakes, but I’m not sure.

Bill :  You’re probably right.  Look it says Bobby Spakes kneeling left or right.  Yep, that’s a Spakes, Bobby Spakes.

Dr. :    And that’s their brother probably.

Bill:  That’s a Spakes for sure.

Dr. :  Bobby Spakes’ still living.  And Charlie Bounds over here on the right.

Bill :  Where’s Charlie Bounds?  Right there?

Dr. :  On the bottom right. 

Bill:  Right here.

Dr. :  Yes, yes.  And that’s a Moody next to him.

Bill :  I think that’s Lawrence.  That’s his brother.

Dr. :  I don’t think that’s Lawrence.

Bill :  It’s not?

Dr. :  I don’t think so.

Bill:  There’s some Hornbeck’s in there.

Dr.  :  That’s Lawrence Bounds. I know it is.

Bill :  It’s got some Mathises in there, Ms. Campbell, Russell, I’m look at the names.

Dr. :  Billy Joe Moody

Bill:  Moody, that’s

Dr. :  That ought to be

Bill:  Is it Gifford?

Dr. :  Willard

Bill:  Sutton?

Dr. :  Sutton.

Bill:  Sutton, Eddie Is the last name.  There’s Calame, Bernals,

Dr. :  John Russell, Bubba, Bubba Pearson, Bubba and sister.

Bill:  Bubba and sister still come up.

Dr. :  Yeah

Bill :  She says we’re the only people that call her sister anymore. Bubba and sister.  That’s a great shot. And that’s what I am looking for.  If you have anything like that at home that I could by at church and just take a picture of or something

Linda:  He said he didn’t have any pictures.

Dr. :  Heck no.

Linda:  I wonder where that picture came from.

Bill:  Sister?

Dr. :  That came out of the Daily News.

Linda:  Yearbook?

Bill:  Did they have yearbooks back then?

Dr. : Yeah, we had it in high school we had yearbooks.

Bill:  See, Jack Floyd’s in here, there’s Bubba Pearson.

Linda:  That’s a lot of kids in that school.

Bill:  mmm hmm and that’s just the elementary see.

Dr. : Ummm, I believe we had an annual every year in high school.  I gave away, or I did have a, I gave it to, uh, probably gave it to Paul, cuz I’m trying to uh.

Linda:  Your son, Paul?

Dr. : get rid of

Bill:  a head of white hair

Linda:  there ya go.

Bill:  96 years old

Linda:  Happy Birthday, 2008.

Bill:  2008

Linda:  I’ve got 4 minutes left on my tape

Bill:  That was a good interview Dr. Culwell. We got a lot of good…

He’s waving.  Get the fire in the background there.


Print | Sitemap
© Limestone County Historical Commission