Documenting the past is often not thought of until it’s too late. Thankfully, the Southlake Historical Society is a step ahead. As part of its mission to “Preserve the Tradition,” its members began collecting oral histories in the 1990s from longtime Southlake residents.
According to Connie Cooley, 1st vice president for the Southlake Historical Society, the labor of love has been a joint effort between the organization and the city.
“The Southlake Library has been an exceptional partner to the Society over the years. As we completed a transcription, Kerry McGeath and his staff catalogued and shelved
the interview for us,” she says, noting the next step is to transfer the oral histories to CD and DVD formats, and make them available online.
Currently, there are five oral histories available for check-out at the Southlake Public Library. Each set contains a cassette tape and transcript; the most recent oral history also contains a VHS tape:
1. Claude Shivers was born 1917 in the Dove community where his family had farmed since his great-grandfather arrived in 1854. Alno Bailey’s family had settled in the White’s Chapel community by 1860 and owned a dairy and grocery store. Alno was born on the family farm in 1909. The two met while attending school at the 1919 Carroll School and married in 1927. They farmed land that still belongs to their descendants here in Southlake.
2. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Day Higgins was the daughter of long time Lonesome Dove Baptist Church pastor, William Day, who traveled to the Dove community in 1911 from Tennessee to follow the call into the ministry. Lizzie Higgin’s recollections include the day to day activities of farm life in the early 1900s here in now-Southlake.
3. Joseph Holt Hicks was born in 1912 and moved to Grapevine with his family when he was five years old. He recalls the comings and goings of Bonnie and Clyde, including that Easter Sunday morning in 1934 when they, or members of their gang, gunned down two motorcycle patrolman on Dove Road in now-Southlake.
4. Ralph Evans and his wife, Linda (Sipes) Evans, moved to Southlake in 1965 when the population was about 600. The couple joined White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in 1970 and continue as members today. Ralph was elected to the city council in 1988 and served five terms before retiring in 2004. His recollections give a clear picture of how Southlake became the city it is today.
Cooley adds there are several more oral histories that have been done and are currently being transcribed. They will be added to the collection at the library:
“We hope to continue to do oral interviews and have a list of people we’d like to document. There are still a few old-timers around,” says Cooley.
For more information about the oral histories, go to www.southlakelibrary.com.