Research Notes: “Ghost Story, Ghost Town”

Hopefully, you will be or were able to tune in to my 2021 Folklore in the Archives talk, “Ghost Story, Ghost Town,” covering a pivotal moment in Homer, Texas history and one of East Texas’ many ghost stories that has endured through the years. Here are a few supporting resources along with links to relevant archive collections for further independent exploring.

Archival information:
The History Center, Diboll, Texas
The Ruth Grant Homer History Collection, The History Center, Diboll, Texas
Portal to Texas History, The Banner, Homer, Texas


Photos:

Sarah Scroggins (right) with her parents and children in Old Homer, 1900. Shortly after Robert Scroggins was murdered.
Robert and Sarah Scroggins (seated) with their children and Sarah’s mother.

Digitized Newspapers:

Witness Testimony: Angelina County Press, May 4, 1900 via The History Center

Addendum:

This information appears in episodes 1-4 of Pine Curtain Confidential Season 1, an expansion and continuation of this story.

Prohibition and Temperance in Texas, Texas State Historical Association

“In the nineteenth century a movement against alcoholic beverages arose when some Americans, appalled by the social damage and individual wreckage that alcohol consumption too often seemed to cause, sought to persuade citizens to refrain from drinking liquor. This “temperance” movement enjoyed considerable success and continued parallel with the prohibition movement.”

Prohibition Party (PRO), Wikipedia

The Big Thicket of Southeast Texas, TexasHistory.Com

“These were pioneers that were looking for land of their own and looking for privacy. They were individuals that didn’t come to join the chamber of commerce. They were people who lived off the land and whatever they crops they could raise and whatever game they could hunt.” – Dr. Francis E. Abernethy

Contact Information:

Please get in touch if you have questions or comments, or if you would like for me to speak to your group on this or related topics. If you are interested in other topics like this, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter to learn when my podcast launches later in September.

All archival images, digitized newspapers, etc. are used courtesy of their holding institutions. Please do not copy or publish my presentation, slides or research notes pages without permission. This content is is free to share on social media with credit to Stephanie Khattak, Pine Curtain Project and a link back to this Website or the appropriate social media platform.

Stephanie Khattak, info@khattakstudios.com

East Texas Car Share

“Paper Mill Car Share.” Acrylic monotype, 18X24 by Stephanie Khattak.

This piece is based on another Farm Security Administration photo by John Vachon. It shows four Southland paper mill workers and their car share vehicle. I like that it also shows their work gear and lunch boxes. Reminds me of how my dad used to dress for work and the lunch box he carried for so many years. My mom always packed my dad’s lunch (or dinner, if he was on an evening or overnight shift) and used to put Mrs. Baird’s fruit pies in there for dessert. So, when I see these types of lunch boxes, I think of fried pies and those big metal clasps snapping shut.

The paper mill has been a theme in my work before and probably will be again. As I’ve mentioned, it had a huge effect for Lufkin and surrounding areas, too. It was one of the largest employers for generations, and when it shut down, it didn’t necessarily tank the economy because I feel at that time the town’s economic drivers were changing anyway. But it definitely caused a shift and left a lot of people displaced, professionally. It is integral to the larger East Texas story.

Tacky Party

This painting was inspired by a photo of my great-grandmother, auntie, grandmother, great-great-auntie and their church lady friends. I grew up in a small, unincorporated community outside a marginally larger town, so the people who are your friends as children are usually your friends your whole lives. These ladies were no exception, and neither am I. We are lucky like that.

We’ve had to say goodbye to most of these ladies over the years, and the ones still with us are in their late-80s, so time is a gift. I, like many in my generation, left home at 18 and only return sporadically. This gives time the illusion of stopping, then speeding up in fast-forward. I feel that the “Tacky Party” days were just yesterday, not 30+ years ago.

One of my favorite poets, Faith Shearin, articulates this feeling perfectly in her poem, “My Grandparents’ Generation.”

If there is a consolation prize for having so many wonderful people in our lives only to lose them, then it is that they are together wherever they are.