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Oral History of Minnie Powell Bowers

From the Vertical Family Files of Montgomery County Memorial Library

Transcribed by Vera Meek Wimberly

I transcribed side two of the tape first, not knowing, there was anything on the other side (the way the tape was marked). When I checked it to be sure, I found that there was more, so I began the page numbers over again. There are 28 pages in all.


In some instances when all were speaking at the same time or there was tape confusion, it was garbled and very hard to pick out the different voices. I did the best I could.


Since I did not know the name of the man when I transcribed side one, I referred to him as simply "Male".


It would be my suggestion that Mrs. Elmore and Mrs. Stewart read this along with the tape and perhaps they can fill in some of the blanks that I could not understand and be sure the names were interpreted correctly or make any corrections. I tried to transcribe verbatim. [These additions are listed in red. jhs]


It's a shame voice inflections couldn't be transcribed, for I have never heard a more appreciative and responsive audience than Mrs. Elmore and Mrs. Stewart.


I enjoyed transcribing it, and am sorry that I do not have the time to abstract and write up the history.


Vera Wimberly

June 19, 1978


Oral History of Minnie Powell Bowers
March 1978 Interview by
Mrs. Inez Barkley Elmore & Mrs. Rosamunde Stewart

Minnie Jackson Powell Bowers in  March 1978
just a few days before her 95th Birthday
Born March 4, 1883 in Willis, Texas,
daughter of Dr. William P. Powell
and Mary Eugenia Thompson

Side One: (The first part has to do with setting up the tape.)


Stewart: The first thing is I want a complete little medical history of Montgomery County and I'd like to know about your father.

MPB: Well, all I can tell you, Jeff, get me that little black book over there. [List of babies delivered by Dr. Powell ca 1910. This was zeroxed and put in MPB File. RSS.]

Jeff: She wants you tell her something about your father.

MPB: Well, give me that little black book.

Jeff: What little black book?

MPB: Right there on top of those things...about him and...babies.

Stewart: Do you remember my father? Will Strozier? (?)

MPB: No, I remember old man A. B. Strozier.

Stewart: That's my grandfather.

MPB: Was it? And John Strozier

Stewart: That's his brother.

MPB: I remember those. Now, the Stroziers we were all good friends: Now this is just a book (Tape blank)...I don't know whether you'd be interested...

Elmore: or Stewart: Yes, could we zerox that? Could you trust us with that to take it have it reproduced?

MPB: Well, I guess so...

Stewart: Your nephew, would you rather for him to have it.

MPB: You may just as well take it. I don't know whether there is any loose papers in here or not. Look and see. I don't know what that is.

Stewart: But, that's a record of his...that would be very valuable...see, for our history library. Could you drop by sometime my husband's office at 402 W. Phillips and zerox it or let somebody there zerox it or call me you're going to meet me there and I'll zerox it.

Jeff: I wonder if you could do it though.

Stewart: Yes, it'll reproduce.

Jeff: It's so light (Everybody talks at once)

Stewart: That's very valuable for history reference here.


Page 2


MPB: Do you want to save you that job and let them take it.

Jeff: Let them take it with them.

Elmore: We'll do it tomorrow, can't we Rosamunde?

Stewart: Yes, cause they're not working down there. Mr...Elmore: I can't do it tomorrow...

Stewart: Oh, that's right, you're having company.

Elmore: It'll be a few days.

Jeff: As long as we know where it is.

Stewart: We'll take real good care of it. That's a very valuable piece of information. When did

your father come...were you all from Old Waverly or where was your father born?

MPB: Wasn't it Alabama?

Jeff: Don't ask me about family.

MPB: Alabama, I think.

Stewart: He was born in Alabama.

Jeff: He come from Alabama originally, supposedly, I always heard as a child that he come in a covered wagon. Course he was in the Civil War.

Stewart: You're not kin to the Powells that were at Old Waverly.

MPB: ....was kin to Trav Powell and my daddy were brothers.

Stewart: Who now?

Elmore: Trav Travis Powell. Was Travis Powell the father of Luke or Albert (Alvin?).

MPB: Luke, and Minnie and Annabel and Mamie and Pearl (?)

Elmore: I knew all of those girls because they used to come and visit here. Now Alvin Powell's father was a brother...

MPB: ...a brother to John Powell. He was the crippled man you know.

Elmore: Yes. And Bud Powell...

MPB: Bud Powell was Uncle Trav Powell's father, born in (Tape Blank)

Stewart: ....your father. My father started to read medicine in your father's office. But then he went on to medical school, so I've always heard about Dr. Powell.

MPB: Well I think one paper over there, Jeff, some of it tells something about Pa.


Page 3


Jeff: I haven't been through that stuff that you have over there.

MPB: That paper is so old...

Jeff: ....got lots of pictures.

Stewart: Well, sometimes when you go through all of it and bring what you think what is valuable and let us reproduce it.

(Tape Blank)

MPB: ....glance through it right here.

(Tape Confusion)

Jeff: ...she died. I was not interested in it. She would have the bed just loaded with all her things and she was working with this Mrs. Ruth Bimbo (?) in Fort Worth who was a great researcher. She had a multitude of stuff, traveled all over the country. She died...

Stewart: Ruth Bimbo died?

MPB: Oh, Ruth's been dead a long time.

Elmore or Stewart: Oh....

Jeff: What happened to her tremendous records, I don't know but she and...

Elmore: I tell you, I bet she put them in the Fort Worth Genealogical...

Jeff: ... but all that stuff that Clara had...

Elmore: ....library

Jeff: ....was given to somebody. Her son was here. He was never interested in this, then I think all this stuff was given to somebody. She had just a pile of...

(Tape blank)

Jeff: ....tremendous background.

MPB: Clara and Ruth worked together you know.

Elmore: Well, Ruth Bimbo came to my house one time...

Jeff: ....cousin of mine and her grandnephew, Walter Foul (?) he in the meantime is searching for family records and he has written me about my father, wanting to know about my father and he has traveled from one end of the country...he is a retired insurance man. He and his wife have a motor home and they travel and they may sit...be gone for a year. They go to every library, every research center, every State Capitol...


Page 4


Stewart: Cemetery?

Jeff: Cemetery, all over this United States and he says someday he hopes to publish a book. It'll be many years off. He had...

Stewart: How old is he?

Jeff: ....a voluminous amount of material...

MPB: Oh, Walter (?) is bound to be in his 60's...

Jeff: .... that he and his wife have accumulated. But this old family round here. See I wasn't born.... was born in Huntsville. I left there with (?) my father when I was five years old. You see Alex went to_______ in World War I. I was a child. He lived in Huntsville. I think he was born some where around Old Waverly. I don't know. I knew nothing about my Daddy. I was very small when he died and he never was home. He traveled so much. He used to say Old Waverly. I knew my grandmother, her name was Betsy or Bets, but that's all. But I never did know (his?) father.

Stewart Elmore: I don't know much about the Traylors, but I know that Frank's grandmother was a Traylor. I don't even know who...what...her parents name were.

PMB: Now, Pa...they lived...they must...I don't know whether they married in Old Waverly or where they married.

Stewart: Who was her mother?

MPB: Mary Eugenia Thompson...

Stewart: Thompson? Were they from Old Waverly? There were some Thompsons out there.

MPB: They were from up New Waverly. The picture of Grandma and Grandpa Thompson is right over here on the wall.

Stewart: We'd love pictures of those. We can zerox them. Just turn them upside down and on the machine...

MPB: That's my mother and daddy...

Jeff: Dr. Powell's parents...

MPB: And this is a Powell...

Jeff: ...and these are... [These pictures were reproduced [zeroxed jhs] , identified, and included in MPB File. RRS.]

MPB: ...right here on this wall.

Jeff: ...grandpa Thompson. (Paul or Pa?) father and mother. The woman you are asking about now...it’s her father and mother.

Stewart: Do you have the names of these people on the back of

Page 5


the picture?

Jeff: Yeah. I put them on there because my ex ____ gave me all this information.

Stewart: Could you take those down to the library and let them…and they'll reproduce them…they’ve got... they'll make a good reproduction on the zerox machine.

Elmore: Rosamunde, he just doesn't have time, I don't imagine.

Jeff: I don't know when I'd ever have time to do all that.

Stewart: Well, we'll take them, but if he works...he works in Houston.

Elmore: In Houston? You still...

Jeff: No, I'm retired, living here, but I'm tied up with...

Elmore: I'll tell you what we'll do. We won't do this all at one time...

Jeff: If you could come by and pick this stuff up…

Elmore: ...we'll take what papers and things you have and zerox that then...

Jeff: You're welcome to have it.

Elmore: ...then we'll bring them back and if Minnie doesn't mind, we can take them down some morning and I can bring them right on back, as soon as we get through.

MPB: Now my Daddy...they married on Jan. 1, I do not know what year and he went straight into the war and he was gone three years.

Jeff: He's got all kinds of stuff...

MPB: And there was a letter. I said I wasn't going to tell you about it. But there's a letter. I cannot find it high or low. Jeff thinks I've given it to somebody but I have not. Well, one of the Traylors and my Daddy walked from Houston to Old Waverly.

(Background voices - Jeff says, the one we call Jim...)

MPB: And I don't know whether they said in a day and a night or something like that but which ever...I don't know which Traylor it was, but I cannot find the letter. It's here some where.

Jeff: ........advertising this Buckalew, or something in Conroe advertising a complete car tightening up a $1.75, so


Page 6


that may be some of the history they had then in Conroe. That's the old Willis index 1896.

Stewart: They'd love to have a copy of that.

Jeff: There's one paper in there over a hundred years old.

Stewart: Oh, my gracious. Ohhhhhhhh. I think I've had this [tape recorder] upside down. If there is anything or way, to do it the wrong way, I'll do it. I had it lying on this side.

(Jeff is talking in the background but unable to decipher)

Jeff: I think they're very sensitive. They'll pick up very easily. This is where it's going in anyway. This is for ventilation. [about tape recorder]

Stewart: Is this where it picks up? Oh

Jeff: So whatever you were doing, it was all right. It was all right because the voice...

Elmore: Is it still on?

Stewart: Yes, it's still running.

Elmore: Of course that just helps us to not have to keep taking notes.

Jeff: You don't have to remember so many things.

Stewart: And here they...he...she has this old newspaper.

MPB: There's some pictures back over there about something.

Stewart: This newspaper... that was...

Jeff: He's got pictures of the old Beard Mill here where they all going (?) out. Those are very old papers there.

Elmore: Over on one side, General State News...

Jeff: This is another paper...I think it is an old Conroe paper in there somewhere.

Stewart: 1896

Elmore: Well, cousin, now...now, you were born in Willis.

MPB: I was born in Willis.

Elmore: ...and your father was a doctor here all those years, wasn't he, I mean...he died here.

Jeff & MPB: Yes, he died here.

Elmore: ...and now what about...were you, I guess this was before you time when they had the tobacco factory here.

MPB: Oh, no they had the tobacco factory in my day…

Jeff: There are pictures in there...

MPB: My Daddy raised tobacco and we worked in tobacco out there.


Page 7


Elmore: Now what about the little college. They had a male and female college here once.

MPB: That's right and I got a book here somewhere with all the students and everything in it.

Stewart: I hope you can find it. We want to reproduce that too.

Elmore: You know, if we don't get this stuff together in our library in a few years it is going to be destroyed and lost and then we will...keep our grandchildren and great-grandchildren

will never know anything, you know. I've made pictures of everything I got a hold of that was _______And the Elmore's and the Lewis'. We've got a lot of the Lewis'.

MPB: Now don't let me forget there’s something over there that ____Lou brought here to give back to you.

Elmore: Yes, he just gave it to me. It was a picture of H. M. Elmore. The first one you know and his wife.

MPB: No, Inez, I was born right here. Right over the old home place.

Elmore: And it was just over on the next street, wasn't it.

MPB: Right in the middle of this block, right here.

Elmore: How many were in your family?

MPB: There was twelve children born and three was raised, two of the boys died young.

Elmore: And they raised them...

MPB: And they're buried over at Old Waverly.

Elmore: Oh, are they?

MPB: The two boys, and Ma & Pa buried at Old Waverly.

Elmore: And they are all Powells.

MPB: All Powells.

(Background - Jeff and Stewart talking)

Jeff: She's got all kinds of thins here. You’ll just have to go...

Stewart: I have my daughter coming tomorrow for Friday and Saturday, but I can come up here Monday and pick up some things, if it's all right.

Jeff: That'll probably be best...Mrs. Stewart, you know, to pick up the stuff that you think you might want copied.

Page 8


Because you can spend hours going over that...some of that...you would like...

Stewart: What I'd need to do is bring the librarian, if she can come and let her -go through it with me and see what she wants, instead of carrying everything down there. Would that be all right?

Jeff: As I say, there is some of that stuff that you might want to look...

Stewart: Yes, Mrs. Kennedy, she's a young person and realizes...

Jeff: Some of it will mean nothing I'm sure because some of it is just old family...

MPB: Now Pa came here in Willis in 1872 when the railroad tracks first came through here. He and old Capt. Smith, I think were some of the first ones that come into this place. Now Pa wanted to buy up here where they had the school house, but they wouldn't sell it to him, so he bought this block down here ...just a block  (Between?) (he?) and me and he's been there ever since, and that's where he died right there.

(Jeff is talking in the background and it was hard to transcribe this part.)

Elmore: And the Smiths, they came in here all about the same time.

MPB: About the same time and you know that Smith [Capt. T W Smith House owned by daughter, Mrs. S A Crawford (Leila) and granddaughter, Mrs. Jas. Sykes. Crawfords always lived in it. Sykes did not live in it. RSS.] was the big two story house that burned up younder.

Elmore: What I always knew as the Crawford home.

MPB: Yeah, the Crawford home. They came in here about the same time, I think...in 1872. I don't remember...I don't know what month, now. But the railroad had just come in...(Everybody talking at once)(Several sentences no can understand.)

Jeff: .... baptism ...a colored folks baptism right out of Willis...at old Beard's mill. That was an actual thing that they did right outside of Willis here.

Elmore: Well, I'll declare.

Stewart: I'll tell you, suppose I call next week someday and make an appointment with you all when I can get Mrs. Kennedy to come too. How would that be? And bring her and let…

MPB: That'll be all right but you'll have to get in with him....       ...        time...


Page 9


Jeff: This is her mother and father on the old homestead.

Stewart: Isn't that cute? Oh, look at that.

Jeff: old Dr. Powell.

(Much laughter)

Stewart or Elmore: Oh, how...Oh, isn't she the cutest thing?

MPB: I think there's one paper in there there's some write up about him, I think.

Jeff: There's all kind of stuff in here, Aunt Minnie. Some ….

MPB: Inez, I can't see.

Elmore: No, I know it. I just wish you could.

Stewart: Well, Mrs. Kennedy, if we could get her to come with me...

Elmore: I'm going to be out of town three days next week so I couldn't come, but if she could come, she would just...could go through there and take ...

MPB: Now, you'd have to make it a day that Jeff's going to be here.

Stewart: Yes, I'll call and make an appointment.

MPB: You'll have to with him.

Stewart: Yes.

MPB: That's the reason I put him on the phone, Inez, the other day to talk to you because I cannot make decisions? to see.

Elmore: I know it.

MPB: I don't know what he's going to do.

Elmore: Well, you're just mighty lucky to have him to make those decisions. I'm so glad you have him....

MPB: ...it's hard for me to do.

Elmore: That's right.

Stewart: Find another old Willis paper?

Jeff: That's one ...

Stewart: There's one Conroe.

MPB: When all this gets through, I want to show you something.

Elmore: All right.

MPB: And I want to show you a telephone out here in the hall.

Stewart: Oh, yes, I want to take your picture too. Do you mind if I take your picture?

MPB: No, I don't mind it. There's a telephone out there. Don't know whether either one of you ever seen one like it.


Antique Telephone

Page 10


(Background noises background talking)

Stewart: Your mother was pretty. Wasn't she pretty? And he has the sharpest little eyes.

Jeff: Well, we'll have to look through it, Mrs. Stewart.

Stewart: Yes, well, I'll make an appointment with you when she can come and when you can be here and get it all together and I'll bring her..

Jeff: This is Aunt Minnie. This is her....this is the old...sitting over there on my Aunt Jody's house, that's the old Montgomery home over there on the next street.

Stewart: Oh.

MPB: Where did you get that ______ for?

Jeff: ...all that hair she had as a young woman.

Stewart: Oh, isn't that something.

MPB: Inez, I had just washed my hair and walked across the street. Now that was made in days when we wore high top shoes you see I've got on. There was a wild...a wild stretch over there end of the porch, were vines, and I walked over there and sat down there and stuck my feet through those meshes about this big square.

Elmore: Oh, I'll declare.

MPB: But I had...and Ruby Wilson had that picture made from a small one that I had.

Elmore: You know your eyes still look a lot like this. You look real good right now.

MPB: I'll let you see them without these glasses.

Elmore: 95th!    [Birthday of MPB in a few days]

(Tape confusion and background talking unable to decipher.)

MPB: Now this eye...

Stewart: I'm so dumb, I can't even tell...

MPB: ...this eye is covered with cataracts that's never been moved at all.. because...

Stewart: This is a new camera

MPB: because arteries hardened....

Elmore: Tomorrow is her ninety-fifth birthday.

Stewart: Oh, well, that's wonderful.

MPB:...and this one the arteries hardened in the middle and the one blood vessel has ruptured and caused bloody spots in it and that blood....I have glaucoma.


Page 11


(Much background talking and laughing)

MPB: Now, last Saturday ...don't take my picture. Wait.

Elmore: She wants her glasses on.

MPB: Last Saturday....

Jeff: Shut up for a minute. (Laughs)

MPB: Shut your mouth. I don't like a picture of me.

Stewart: You said I could take a picture of you. Now I want a picture.

MPB: I don't want you to have it


Stewart: You really don't?

Jeff: You're joking.

MPB: Yeah.

Stewart: Well, it ought to be good.

MPB: Yeah. Get that envelope in this left hand drawer over here and let me have it. With those pictures in it.

Elmore: Well, I've heard of Dr. Powell when I first married...they'd say, "Oh, you know Dr. Powell did so and so." You remember we took him to Dr. Powell....and another thing I wanted to ask you, I found a letter of Miss Julia's. It was written to Miss Julia and Unk...you know the old uncle that they called Unk...Frank P. Hill had come to Willis to drink the water. Had you ever heard of anything like that?


Elmore: Well, he wrote that he must have been out here several weeks...

MPB: But, you know it’s always claimed that people...well, maybe you talking about this thing, maybe I didn't quite understand you. They always talked about the Willis water. That if you ever come here drink it, you'd want to come back. Something of that kind.

Jeff: Pure iron.

Elmore: Well, it's...

MPB: Now, Inez, these are my 92nd birthday outfit that Velma pulled on me.

Elmore: Aren't they good. Aren't they good? Ummm...

Jeff: (background) ...and there's twelve of Dr. Powells... [children] and she's the last one of them...


Page 12


Elmore: ... and going to be 95.

Jeff: ...the youngest one died...  (background)

Elmore: Minnie, that's a good picture there

Jeff: (background)        ...she was the nurse...

Stewart: ...she saved my life.

Jeff: She's the one that lived in Conroe.

(Stewart and Jeff continued to talk...not decipherable)

Elmore: Have you seen Mrs. Love lately?

MPB: Yes.

Elmore: She asked me about you also.

MPB: Now you'll find a picture of a Negro in there. Well, that's old Kate Golden and she's just died and was buried last Sunday, I believe.

Elmore: Ohhh

MPB: They claim she was a hundred years old, but Kate at one time had told me her birthday was on the 3rd of March and mine is on the J4th of March, and Kate (Cake) at that time decided that she was two years older than I am but right now they's telling that she was 100 years old but she was buried last Sunday.

Elmore: Well, an old colored woman.

MPB: Her picture is in this bunch.

Elmore: Well, these are wonderful pictures of you. Who are these two cute girls? Are they nieces of yours?

MPB: Look on the back of them.

Jeff: Sue Ann Cargill (?) took those...

Stewart: Yeah, Martha Cargill and Annie Jo…

MPB: That's Bob Cargill's wife at the gun shop.

Jeff: She took this here. This is a picture of my aunt and Dr. Carroll in Conroe.

MPB: She was a...

Jeff: ...and he's up there at...they...he gave her a birthday party...92nd birthday party, so the Dr. was sitting over there talking to her.

Stewart: That's cute

Elmore: Margie...and this is...

(Everyone talking at the same time)

MPB: goings on with the Doctor...(laughs)

Elmore: Isn't he a fine doctor. I declare, he's just...


Page 13


MPB: He certainly is a wonderful person..

Elmore: He's so...

Jeff: If you ever get to see him, you've got it made.

Stewart: Yes, that's right.

Elmore: That's true, Rosamunde. This is Mrs. Cargill, you know. You know the Cargill boy that has the gun shop in Conroe...

Jeff: Bob Cargill in Conroe...

Elmore: She is your niece, isn't she?

MPB: Yes

Elmore: This woman...

MPB: That is Minnie ______, Josie's girl.

Stewart: Married a Cargill...

Jeff: ______ lived to be about 94.

Elmore: She's such a pretty woman.

MPB: Yes

Elmore: She was always so pretty when she was young.

Jeff: The way I look at all this stuff, there would be some things that you all are looking for and you mentioned this woman, you know, she could probably look through and see if she wanted a copy of this or that. Some of it, she may not want at all. She would know more or less what you all want.

Elmore: Yes, she will/

Stewart: She's the one we're doing it for. She's in charge of the Genealogical Library there and we're trying to get up a history of Montgomery County. You know, pictures and records and everything about these early people that made the country.

MPB: Well, to tell you the truth, I said all the time I didn't know just what you all wanted. All we could do was to just put that stuff out.

Stewart: I think that's great. Now, if you want us to take it on and get it out of your way for the time being, we could take it down there and leave it in the Library. We'll get there...

(Background) Jeff: ...she still remembers quite a bit...

MPB: Now there's some of those papers...

Stewart: If you want us to do that and just leave it and let her go through it. We'll take it straight to the Lady and


Page 14


have her go through it if you want to or would you rather me brink; her up here and let her see it here in your house.

Minnie Powell Bowers Home in Willis, Texas
 March 1978

MPB: Well, what do you think, Jeff?

Jeff: Well, some of those...as far as I'm concerned, Aunt Minnie, they can take it. They're not going to take anything.

MPB: Some of those things I've promised to _____

Stewart: I've got stuff I don't know what I'm going to do with.

Jeff: They don't want it, they just want copies of it; some of it they may not even want.

Elmore: Some of it, we may not even be able to copy.

Jeff: But they can take it and let them go through it. I don't mind that because...

MPB: I'm not afraid to trust either one of you as far as that is concerned.

Stewart: Well, it's just up to you...how you'd rather do it.

Jeff: Oh, you know what that is?...

Elmore: What is that? A dress?

Stewart: Yeah. We're not going: to take that...

Jeff: That's her mother's wedding gown.

Elmore: Her mother's!

MPB: This is what I wanted to show you girls...

Elmore: Her mother's wedding dress

Stewart: I Can take a picture of that. Reckon?

Antique Clothing

Elmore: She must not been as big as a little twelve year old girl.

MPB: Inez, I want you to look at that embroidery in there. This is over a hundred years old.

(There is much oh-ing; and ah-ing)

Stewart: Well, let's try to take a picture of that.

MPB: Now here's a little... there's this little sleeve, the band of it.

Stewart: That's a child's dress.

MPB: And I don't know how old she was. I could say she was 15 years old. When Ma died, she liked from Dec. until April being 92 years old.

Jeff: She died at 35.

MPB: Take 15 from 92 and that would leave her in her 80's.

Elmore: And did she get married when she was 15 you say?


Page 15


MPB: I have no idea.

Elmore: Then this was not a wedding dress, then...

MPB: But these dresses. This was her dress...

Elmore: Her little dress.

Stewart: Isn't that cute. Let's lay it on this chair, maybe I could take a picture of it.

MPB: Inez...

Elmore: These are baby things...

MPB: ...that's my dress

Elmore: This is Minnie's little baby dress. Isn't that cute.

Stewart: Let's lay them all around here propped up...

MPB: All handmade. Now there's another one that's mine.

Elmore: Little cap. Look at that little cap. Crocheted out of thread looks like.

MPB: Inez, look at these sleeves.

Elmore: Oh, aren't they tiny? Look at those little tiny sleeves.

MPB: There's one. I think that one's made out of large handkerchiefs...the skirt of it. This is out off...this is out of embroidery, you know you used to buy that was not cut loose separately, I think the skirt of it is. Somebody said it looked kinda like I had it on in that picture up there, but I don't have any idea. Inez, that's Uncle Johnny Thompson's, Ma's brother, little colt.

Elmore: Ohhhhhh. Her mother's brother's little colt. That's the cutest little thing and these are little Caps

MPB: that's...one of those caps must have been kinda...those caps..Inez...

Stewart: Is that padding?

MPB: Don't ask me.

Elmore: She can't see it.

MPB: That cap was somebody's. You know older people used to wear hats at night.

Elmore: Yeah, and isn't it just beautiful?

MPB: These two caps are mine, but I don't know whose cap that is. I couldn't tell you.

Elmore: Rosamunde, let's put this one kinda on the arm.

Stewart: You arrange them.

Elmore: Like this...


Page 16


Stewart: That's better.

MPB: You want this one?

Stewart: Yes, we'll get them all there.

Elmore: I'll move this. I picked it up. It's what goes on the arm of your chair.

Jeff: Is this something about the Civil War or paper...______ telegraph Houston, Texas 1862.

Stewart: Pick up those little pieces.....

Jeff: .......what went on back in the Civil War.

Stewart: Oh, my goodness...

MPB: Just dropping to pieces...

Elmore: Yes it is Minnie. I've got one of my little dresses at home and I don't know what to do with it. You know, I just have two grandsons and they're not going to be interested in that...

Stewart: ...that all of it?

Jeff: People aren't today, you know. Most families aren't today.

MPB: Now, is this light in your way?

Stewart: No, I have to get farther back to take it.

MPB: You want me to turn this light out?

Stewart: I don't know. Maybe that'll make it better.

Elmore: I've got some stuff...

Stewart: What do you think...

MPB: Just turn it out. Inez, turn this out and see.

Stewart: You think it's better to turn it out? Or leave the light on?

Jeff: I think you're going to need that light.

Elmore: I do too.

Jeff: You're going to need all the light you can get. And I don't have any more light.

Elmore: Well, I'll tell you, we will certainly take care of this.

Jeff: Just take it and...

Elmore: We'll handle it very carefully...

Jeff: ...to keep from tearing it up the papers. They're so old...

Elmore: That's right...

Jeff: Just take the stuff and let them go through it...


Page 17


Elmore: And then if anything happens, then we've got some records down there. See that's what we're trying to educate people to. A lot of people say, "Well, this is personal. We don't want to...but my goodness, what difference does it hurt, these people have been dead for a hundred years...

Jeff: Oh, Gracious, that's right...

Stewart: Oh, I forgot. That won't do. I forgot...the flash on.

Jeff: You didn't have your flash on? No, this way, you'll have to just keep coming back. Just take the stuff with you…

Elmore: Well, we'll have...

Jeff: ...and let them…

Elmore: We can't go down there and …

Stewart: Inez will keep it and help them.

Jeff: It'll be no ________ time.

Stewart: I'm going to have Inez keep it until we get...

Elmore: And I'm going to Dallas to a D.A.R. meeting...

Jeff: Yes

Elmore: ...Tuesday, and I won't be back until Friday and but...we have to go down there after Mr. Stewart's office hours, you know when h' s working day is over and then we work down sometimes for two hours.

Stewart: I'm going to try two... [Picture shots]

Jeff: Well, you are active in the D.A.R.? Huh?

Elmore: Well, I am active, but I haven't been a member very long...

Jeff: Oh, yes...

Elmore: ...I knew that I could be a member 15 years ago before my grandfather died...

Jeff: I think my sister-in-law..

Elmore: ...but...

Jeff: Vernon's wife, Ilene Traylor is very active in that...

Elmore: ...yes...

Jeff: ...in Houston, you know

Elmore: Yes, yes, oh, yes...

Jeff: Oh, she loves that…

Elmore: Well, it's a wonderful organization, Now they.....

Stewart: We'll. go to the office and start as soon as we get




back if the zerox is working in good order.

Jeff: You'll get.

Elmore: Oh, yes, I hope they do...

Stewart: Now we won't take them . .

Elmore: No...

Jeff: Let me put these others...

Stewart:...pictures don't work good, we might take another day and take them one at a time or something. We'll see.

Elmore: Oh, they're so sweet.

Stewart: Inez will keep these at her house...

MPB: Just put these on the dresser or either put them in that drawer one and it won't get lost.

Elmore: Minnie...

Jeff: I think it will be best if you just took these two boxes right here.

Elmore: Got it all there.

MPB: Do you have (Tape ends)


Side Two:

MPB: Well, I don't know what to say only to say my father practiced medicine here in Willis over fifty years...W.P. Powell.

Male: He was the chief surgeon for the I&GN for about 40 wasn't he?

MPB: Oh, a long time. If ever he set a bone here, Palestine didn't touch it.

Male: He was a chief surgeon...

MPB: Yeah

Male: ...for the I&GN Railroad.

MPB: Ruby Wilson (?) tickled me. Ruby said, "Dr. Powell, how did you do in the war?" Said ...I just chopped 'em off.”

Male: They wanted to get some information about this house. They didn't -let it all the last time. How long have you lived in the place?

MPB: I have lived here ever since May the 20, Let's see, no, I'll say it was June. Well, I came over here in 1920 and I been here ever since.

Male: Then you've been here that long.

MPB: I've been here that long.

Male: Now the house was built...

MPB: The house was built before that but I do not know who built it. Two boys, Bessie Hulon told me, built the house. It's built out of rough lumber, some planks would be that thick [about 2" shown by spread of her fingers. RSS.] and some of the cracks would be that big, and there'd be cracks in it that big.

Male: One by twelves.

MPB: One by twelves - rough lumber and all I know when Cap (?) [Bowers] bought the place from old Captain Chilton, Kendall was a school teacher living in this house in 1920.

Male: But you mentioned something at one time the house was built in 1800 and something.

MPB: Bessie Hulon said something; about 1894, but I couldn't swear to that.


Page 2


Stewart: Now this Captain Chilton is the same man that wrote the Hood's [yes] Texas Brigade.

Male: The Hood's ? Texas Brigade, that's her husband's ...

MPB: .Son-in-law.

Male: Son-in-law

Stewart: Well, I'm glad we got that connection straight

Male: Dr. Bowers was old Frank Chilton's son-in-law...married his daughter

Stewart: What was Capt. Bowers...

MPB: Capt Chilton married Capt. Bowers daughter

Male: Albert

MPB: Albert Bowers

Elmore: We wanted to write that on something this afternoon but we didn't.

MPB: He didn't have any other names Just Albert.

Male: That's a picture of him there in the corner of her husband. Capt. Albert Bowers. [A bubble glazed portrait too large to zerox.]

MPB: ...when we come up like that, why we kids…we didn't get around like children do today. We were kept at home.

Elmore: And how many were there in your family

MPB: Twelve children and ten was raised. Two boys died when they were babies. 6 girls and 6 boys.

Elmore: Are you the youngest?

MPB: No. My sister, Clara, that married Lee Holloway that had the ________in Conroe for years was the youngest. She's dead.

Stewart: I came up here with a lady that had bought your father's old place and she wanted to get a historical marker and she said in the early days he kept the patients in the house as kind of a hospital. Did you ever hear anything like that?

MPB: Clara first started working down at Larry Mary Swain's Hospital.

Elmore: But I'm talking about up here at your father's home? Did he keep patients in the house? ...that were sick from out in the country?

MPB: No, Sometimes. Some of the kinfolks come in and put up on them and stayed for a while but he didn't keep any other patients in the house. I don't know what he did with them. I just couldn't tell you.


Page 3


Stewart: Well, they probably couldn't get home. The roads were bad and they needed attention maybe the next day.

MPB: They always had some of the kinfolks from Old Waverly sick down here in the house taking care of them.

Stewart: I wanted to ask. Your mother was the daughter of A. J. Thompson of Old Waverly.

MPB: New Waverly, Yes.

Male: Old Waverly,

Stewart: Did your mother have any brothers and sisters?

MPB: No, they...she did have but they all dead long ago. There was R. A. Thompson, Robert Thompson. Ma had more half brothers and sisters than I knew anything about...no, now wait a minute, there was Aunt Dora, Bass (?), Lucy Bass was married to Will Triesv (?) TRICE. Do you remember, Inez?

Elmore: Yes, I heard that.

MPB: And Lucy Bass, Dick Bass, Joseph Bass...that was Aunt Dora's three children. That was Ma's sister.

Stewart: Well, I thought they were Paddocks.

MPB: Well, now wait a minute, I'm fixing to come into that. Then, Aunt Jo, Ma's whole sister married a Patrick, I believe and there was Minnie and Bell, and seems to me like there was a boy too and I don't remember and then Aunt Jo married old man Tom Paddock, and there was Mamie, Lenore, Melville. Trying to get them in order if I can, and I imagine Grace,

and Clareid (?) and Grover. That bunch of children...half sisters, half cousins and everything else.

Male: Oh, Lucy and Josie Trieste.TRICE..

MPB: ...and Betty (Dick?)

Male: ...and Dick were all full blood kin...

MPB: They were full first cousins to me.

Male: They were full blood kin. And they had a half-sister Ura (?) Paddock. That's were the half-sister comes in who lived in California always and died there this some years back.. She was a very learned person and very successful in the business world and she stayed out in California, but


Page 4


but Lucy and Jody (Josie ? Bass) Trieste TRICE married brothers, Will Jake[TRICE].

MPB: Dick never did marry.

Male: No, but Jake and Will were brothers and (tape crackly - couldn't understand) .... Well, it's confusing, I'm sure, to make connections. [Trice brothers married Bass sisters, Lucy & Josie whose mother married2 Paddock & Ura Paddock was their half sister. RRS.]

Elmore: Well, Rosamunde knows more of that than I do. I never could quite get the Powells, and the Hills straightened up, but I...Minnie has taught me a lot just being with her twice.

Stewart: You said you wanted to ask her something about the Hill's connections.

Elmore: I don't remember.

Male: The Hill’s. How were they kin to you? They were on my father’s side I know.

MPB: Wait a minute, Pa's sister, Aunt Emma Hill lived up here in New Waverly, Inez, married...which one of the Hill's...Boy, I lost that...

Elmore: I do know that Mrs ....

MPB: ....she married Tom Hill, I believe it was...New Waverly.

Elmore: Well, (Some confusion) she has her coat on, I imagine she has gotten too warm. I tell you what Mrs. Elmore's grandmother was a Traylor and her a Traylor sister married a Powell. Isn't that right? There were two Traylor girls that were sisters and one married a Powell and one married a Hill, I. believe now. John Hill, you know old John Hill was Mrs. Elmore's, her grandmother. But anyway, we don't need to.... (Tape confusion)

MPB: ....was a brother to him. That's the only two that I know of...Uncle Tray and Uncle Johnny. Uncle Johnny was the crippled one you know.

Elmore: And he just had two children, that was Alvin and Betty, and then how many children did the other one have? The other Powell. He had Luke and four girls...

MPB: Uncle Trav and Aunt Maggie, you're talking about. There was Annabel, Minnie, and Mamie. Now, I don't know how those boys come in. There was Luke, they always called him Bud.


Page 5


I don’t know what his name was. Did I name Mamie?

Elmore: Yes.

MPB: Well, there was Flora (?).

Elmore: Yes.

MPB: I believe that was all of them.

Elmore: Everyone of those names is familiar.

(Tape Confusion)

MPB: …there was something in between the ... crossing roads. There were bushes in there that grew and had little things on it that rattled like a bell. Used to go there and pick those things up. That marble topped table was Capt. Bowers' table.

Male: Came from Quintana, did it not'?

MPB: Yes, he brought it here from Quantana.

Stewart: Where is that?

MPB: Across the channel from Freeport. And right on the gulf down there just flat as this room and those chairs in the dining room...Cap's house was was at least that high off the ground. [RE: Galveston 1900 Storm House 3 – 4 ft. off ground]

Elmore: About three feet.

MPB: About three feet, unhuh. Those chairs in there, the water had been high enough in those Galveston storms that under the bottom when I brought them here was full of dead grass under there where the water had been up to his house. One storm; they had...it took a two by four through the roof through a wall, another wall and into a dresser drawer in that room. And it never did fade the house. It was still there and Cap had it rented out after we married and the people went off and left a fire burning in the fireplace and a coal rolled down and burned it up. The timber in it was just as bright and pretty______ wall as you ever looked at. All of this furniture, the dresser, the wash stand, the dining room table and chairs were all let down over the banisters out of the second floor in that house because it had a winding staircase and you couldn't get down with it. That was all let down by rope.

Elmore or Stewart: The buffet. Course it was already downstairs.


Page 6


MPB: The what?

Stewart: The Buffet - the sideboard in there.

MPB: No, no. That didn't have anything to do with it, now that Captain Chilton was death on buying old homes and that was in one of the old homes he bought and they gave it to me and the china closet, I bought the china closet. Those two pieces come out of somebody's home in Houston. Oh, he was death on buying old homes. He bought ...........south of here in town that has been torn down.

Male: Capt. Chilton is buried right over here, you know, in the cemetery not too far in the main entrance to the left.

Stewart: How did he happen to come to Willis? To live? Capt. Chilton?

MPB: Well, he came up here and bought a place and moved the family up here.

Stewart: Was this when he was old?

MPB: and they (moved?) back to Houston. Then they come and bought this place and they lived in this place and then moved back to Houston.

Elmore: Then it probably was before Conroe was much of a town.

MPB: Probably, I imagine it wasn't too much of a town.

Male: There wasn't very much in those days, you know.

Elmore: Well, it certainly is the prettiest location of the two places.

MPB: They started this place when the railroad track went through here in 1872. That's when Willis was started.

Stewart: When did your father come here?

MPB: He came here just as soon as the railroad track was put in. He and old Capt. Smith. That's the two families, I know. Now I don't know of any others. I'm sure there was others.

Male: That was in 1872.

MPB: 1872

Elmore: Your father had been living in Old Waverly.

MPB: Old Waverly. He got his schooling at...in Louisana...wasn't it?

Male: Tulane, I believe


Page 7


Stewart: You don't have his diploma, do you?

MPB: If he ever had one, I never did see it,

Male: Never heard him mention having one. If he had it some body else in the family could have it, She did write this niece of hers about this letter and she's to look and let us know. All this stuff her mother had on all these families is stored in her attic. She said it was too cold to go up there. She hasn't been well.

MPB: (both talking at once) But, that's bound to be in my cedar chest....

Male: ...it might be in her mothers effects. We might one day come on that letter and it would be interesting to see how they came from this point to this point…



Stewart: On this day, the 16th of March, 1978, Rosamunde Stewart and Inez Elmore have completed the second part of these interviews... Mrs. Minnie Powell Bowers, Willis, Texas and her Nephew, Jeff Traylor. The other side of the tape is of the first interview on March 3, 1978.



Male: They took a long walk and remained overnight in Galveston and then the following day they walked to Old Waverly.

MPB: and I don't remember what trail it was. But Eugenia has the letter.

Stewart: Have you ever heard anything how the Thompsons, that was your grandfather, or your great-grandfather, A. J. Thompson.

MPB: Grandfather.

Stewart: Have you ever heard anything of how they came out. They brought a lot of slaves. I've seen their slave record. Have you ever heard anything about it?

MPB: I never heard anything on the Thompsons family whatever, outside of a little old family tree we have that just gives their names of everyone of them.

Elmore: Are the slave records in Conroe on tape.


Page 8


Stewart: Yes. I’m interested in trying to find some anecdotes about what people have heard about the trip out when they brought the slaves. Of course, we do know about the sad

case of cholera …(tape confusion)…two people…white men died...in support (?) of slaves.

Male: She evidently doesn't remember. Grandmother Powell was great for telling us all kinds of stories in those days. Would tell us things of the family. She used to tell us about George Washington and how he was kin to the family cause everybody claims kin to George Washington. She knew the connections. She just went right on down the line. I was a small child about seven or eight years old, but she used to gather all her nephews and nieces around that large gallery at the old Powell home.

Stewart: Where was this'?

Male: Here in Willis. At the old homestead where the Jordy s (?) lived and she would tell us about George Washington and how he was kin to this family. She knew all that way back, way back in History, and how it come down but I don't remember.

Stewart: Well, was she kin to the Balls? In Huntsville? Was she related to them? I know they say they are kin to Mary Ball, the mother of George Washington.

Male: I don't know, the only Ball I know is (Tom?) Ball. Tom and Albert. I knew of them, cause I left Huntsville.  I was born in. Huntsville and I left there when I was about five years old and everybody today, Oh, you're from Huntsville, you know so and so, No, I remember the families, and old names there. My father was great in family. Oh, he could just sit down and talk for hours and days and tell you who is who and why. He never kept records, but he knew. He had a good mind on family history, knew all these old-timers.

Elmore: And his name was what?

Male: Alexander Traylor, and they called him Alex.

Elmore: I think, if I'm not mistaken, Alex Traylor was Frank's grandmother, Emma Traylor's brother.

Male: Well, I just don't know. I don't know anything about his family.

Elmore: Was he ever county tax-assessor and collector in


Page 9


Montgomery County?

Male: Not my father.

Stewart: Her brother was, so I guess it's not the same one.

Male: Not the same bunch.

Stewart: Or at least I've been told that. I've never checked to see if that's true.

Male: All I remember my father saying was that he was born somewhere over in the Old Waverly over there in the old piney woods.

Stewart or Elmore: That would be interesting.

Male: He was back over in that area. He had a sister. I knew my grandmother Traylor, his mother.

Stewart: What was her name, do you know?

Male: Betsy.

MPB: Betty was her name.

Male: Betty. Aunt Bet, because I had a cousin that used to call her Aunt Bet, but I always called her grandma and he had a a brother, no he had a sister, one sister Minnie Traylor who lived in Houston and she had two children, Robert Maxwell. What's the girl's name?

MPB: Was it Minnie?

Male: Minnie Traylor was his sister and she had two children Robert Maxwell and the girl. I can't think of this woman. The girl is dead, but the boy still lives, That's the only close relative that I have on my father's side that I know of, and he's been retired for years and is in very bad health. I got a letter from him around Christmas and that's the last contact I had of him.

MPB: Wasn't that Doug something?

Male: Doug was a Broils. He was a Traylor. That was another line on the Traylor Family, they were married in the Traylors.

Elmore: That was a large family, I've always…

Male: Around Riverside, Trinity ...vicinity, he come from that branch up in through there. ...California, he's tracing family history, has for years now, hopes to compile


Page 10


a book someday.

Stewart: What's his name? Could we get that…

Male: Walter Powell.

Stewart: Walter Powell, and where does he live now?

Male: In Seal Beach, California. He said this summer, they'd probably have a motor home. He's retired and they're traveling, the United States, and they stay in places, maybe for months, or six months wherever it is, and they go to all the libraries, and they go here and they go do all their research and he can sit down and talk hours. He knows all his line but they've put this all down in writing. He must have thousands of pages of information by now and they hope some day is to compile it and condense it and have it published. He has written me many times. He needs a link in there about my father. Well, my father died (?) as quite a young man and my oldest brother the one that survives (?) me, he don't seem to know much about my Dad either. His origin, where he was actually born, other then from around Old Waverly.

Stewart: That would be on the 1880. Was your father born before 1880? How old would he be, do you have any idea?

Male: My father was...1800 and something. So, it was in 1800 when he was born too because my mother, her sister there was born. Do you know when Emma was born, Mama?

MPB: Emma was born on June 30th, but I do not remember the year, and Emma was about three or little over three years older than I am. All I could tell you is get the family tree.

Elmore: She'd be about 98, if she were living.

Stewart: Well, I could just sit and listen to you talk about it all day, but you know...

Elmore: Wait a minute, that wasn't recording...

Stewart: Yeah, I had it on. I turned it off.

Tape ended...


Transcribed by Vera Meek Wimberly

June 17, 1978

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