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Front of the New London School Before Explosion, 1937

The Texas Rangers
and the
New London, Texas, School Disaster:
The Day a Generation Died

by Robert Nieman


Ruins of the Front of the New London School, march 18, 1937

In 2000, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum received the personal papers of former Ranger Bob Goss. The collection was received from the estate of his friend Jim Clark and documented Goss' law enforcement career. The bond between Goss and Clark was a love of firearms. Goss is considered by many Rangers to be the greatest pistol shot who ever wore a Ranger badge, and Clark was a master gunsmith and champion pistol shot.

Goss' papers revealed that one tragic case stayed with him until the day he died—the 1937 explosion of the London, Texas, public school. Three hundred children and adults died, and it remains the largest single school disaster in U.S. history.

Ranger Bob Goss in the Kilgore Oil Field


Texas Ranger Hardy Purvis
Goss, along with Rangers Hardy Purvis and Leo Bishop, was at the explosion site on March 18 and 19, 1937. This is not really a very long period of time, but obviously it was lengthy enough to have made a lasting impression on Goss, a Ranger who saw more than his share of violence.

Texas Ranger
Leo Bishop

Bob Goss was raised around Honey Grove, Texas, near the Red River. In 1924, he joined the Rangers and served in most of the oil boomtowns during that period. He came to Kilgore in 1931, shortly after the more celebrated Lone Wolf Gonzaullas had arrived. Unlike Gonzaullas, who left the area in 1934, he stayed in Kilgore until his death in 1978. During that time, he served as a Ranger and as Kilgore chief of police.

Ronny Gaudet of the New London Museum and I interviewed Edwin Rasco, a National Guardsman who had been at New London when martial law was declared after the explosion. Rasco casually mentioned that he had also been in the Guard when martial law was declared in the oil fields in the early 1930s. We wanted to know more.

Rasco began by relating incidents occurring during the oil field boom. Times were so hectic that Guardsmen were stationed all over the oil fields in small detachments, and a Texas Ranger was assigned to assist several of the units. Rasco’s detachment was camped at Wright City, and the Texas Ranger in the area was a man who had an incredible ability with a pistol—Bob Goss.

Rasco, several other Guardsman, and Goss were sitting around a campfire on what Rasco described as an incredibly dark night. Naturally, the talk turned to Goss’s shooting ability. He was known to be able to shoot playing cards, sitting on edge, in two by bending over and firing through his legs while holding his pistol upside down! Not surprisingly, there were a few “doubting Thomases” among the Guardsmen who could not—or would not—believe that Goss, or anyone, was that good.

Finally, Goss had enough. He told one of the more vocal critics to take his cigarette and stick it in the bark of a nearby tree. He proposed to shoot the fire out of the cigarette—black night or not. This was too good to believe. The Guardsman jumped up and carried his smoke to set on a branch. Before he could lodge the cigarette securely in the tree, a shot rang out and the end of the cigarette disappeared.

There stood the soldier—probably needing to answer the call of nature—with half a cigarette still clutched between his fingers. To the men gathered around the campfire, this was about the funniest thing ever. The soldier did not join in their laughter.

Rasco also related another story about Goss, and this one was not funny. In the days of proration (allotment), oil production was limited in order to stop the glut on the market. In some places, this was forcing the price of a barrel of oil down to four cents a barrel, and a few men—known as “hot-oilers”—pumped more oil than was allotted. One day, the Guardsmen and Goss were chasing a “hot-oiler” through the woods, and it looked like he was about to get away. Finally, Goss yelled for the man to stop or he would shoot. The “hot-oiler” continued to run, however. Goss promptly drew his deadly pistol and fired one shot straight into the back of the fleeing felon’s head.

In his later years, Goss told his friend Wes Whatley that he had served as a machine gunner in France during World War I and that he had killed eighteen men as a Texas Ranger and as Kilgore’s police chief. When Goss died at Laird Hospital in Kilgore, Texas, Ranger Glenn Elliott escorted his body to Honey Grove for burial. He said about Goss: “He was double-tough.”

Yes, Goss was “double-tough,” but his scrapbook says that he was touched very deeply by the tragedy of the London School explosion. Perhaps the following story relates why.

The 1930s will be forever remembered as the decade of the Great Depression. All over America—indeed all over the world—people were starving. Few could get jobs, and once-proud men stood on street corners begging money in desperate attempts to support their families. Conditions in the Dust Bowl destroyed farms and ranches, and destitution ruled supreme everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except in the tiny East Texas community of Kilgore. While the rest of the world swam in a sea of poverty, Kilgore sat in a sea of oil. And oil meant money—lots of money—and money meant jobs.

On October 3, 1930, Texas wildcatter Marion “Dad” Joiner brought in the Daisy Bradford Number Three oil well south of Kilgore. On December 27, thirteen miles north of the Joiner find, the Lou Della Crim Number One came roaring in. Still farther north, Longview’s Barney Skipper brought in the Lathrop Number One on January 26, 1931. These three wells made the East Texas Oil Field the largest ever discovered in North America at that time. It was forty-five miles long, north to south, and at its widest, it was twelve miles wide, east to west. The colossal field was truly the “Great Black Giant.”[1]

As a result of the rich discoveries, the population of the sleepy village of Kilgore exploded from 800 to 8,000 in twenty-four hours.[2] Towns such as Arp, Gladewater, Henderson, Longview, Overton, and Tyler also experienced growth. Others, like Joinerville, did not even exist before East Texas struck black gold. But they existed now, and they were blowing out the seams. Not only were towns gushing forth population explosions like never seen before, but the wells themselves were also unbelievable. The Daisy Bradford came in at 6,800 barrels a day, the Lou Della Crim at 22,000, and the Lathrop at 18,000. Just think: these were considered only fair to average wells. Within a one-block area inside Kilgore, there were twenty-four producing wells, thus earning the nickname, “the world’s richest acre.” Land that had sold for as little as fifty cents to one dollar an acre before the boom now leased for five and six thousand dollars an acre for those lucky enough to find land not already taken.

Not all this new prosperity was good news, however. Before the oil boom, most of these towns were unincorporated and so small they didn’t even have the need for a post office.[3] The new influx of people, therefore, created immediate troubles. One major predicament for all the tiny communities in the oil fields was incorporating the children into the schools.

The small town of London was one of these areas experiencing growing pains. At the beginning of the boom, it had a small, four-room school that housed four teachers and about one hundred students. By 1932, London proclaimed itself as the richest school district in the world and, as such, the community decided to build a new, state-of-the-art school. No expense was spared in its construction. No expense, that is, except in the heating system. To save money, gas steam was substituted for a central steam-heating system. Gas systems were in use throughout the United States, but they required lines to be run under the school. These gas lines would prove fatal.

By the 1936-1937 school year, it seemed that nothing could dim the bright lights of the London School. No school anywhere in the country could boast of better teachers or a finer physical plant. Its manual training shop was the best that money could buy. The football stadium was the first illuminated field in East Texas, and the band had custom-tailored, gabardine uniforms.[4] Reminded that the students were still-growing boys and girls and they would be lucky to get more than one year’s service out of the uniforms, critics were told not to worry. If new uniforms had to be purchased each year, new ones would be bought. Indeed, things could not have looked better for the proud London Wildcats.

Then came Thursday, March 18, 1937. The community was looking forward to a long weekend as there would be no school on Friday because of an interscholastic meet in nearby Henderson. It started out to be an enjoyable day, but at 3:17 p.m.,[5] everything changed forever.

Thirteen minutes before school was to be dismissed for the week, shop teacher Lemmie Butler decided he had just enough time to check out “Old Sparky,”[6] a damaged shop sander that he had repaired. One of his students, John Dial,[7] saw Mr. Butler flip a switch that sent 220 volts of power surging to the sander. There was a spark, a flash—and the school was gone.

No one will ever know for sure, but the best estimate is approximately 315 students, faculty, and visitors were killed.[8] In the blink of an eye, the world was focused on the little community and its devastated school.

One question, then and now, dominates any discussion of the London School Disaster. How could this have happened? No expense had been spared in building the school. After all, was this not the richest rural school district in the world? Barely three years old, the London School was the pride of East Texas. What went so terribly wrong?

Besides the fatal decision of cutting costs with the gas system, the killing agent itself was the odorless, tasteless, natural gas. Early in the day, the main two-inch feeder line in the crawl space under the building had broken, filling the basement with deadly methane gas. When Butler threw the power switch, the immediate result was countless tons of debris and more than 300 lifeless bodies.


Rear of the New London School After the Explosion

All night and into the following day, rescue workers removed the dead while praying they would find the living. By noon Friday, all that could be done was done. Slowly, painfully, the job of identifying and burying the dead began. By midday Sunday, all the bodies were prepared for burial. All, that is, except one. The corpse of a young girl was at the American Legion Hall in nearby Overton, mangled so badly that no one could identify her.

By process of elimination, logic dictated that the body must be Wanda Louise Emberling. But A. P. Emberling knew that the girl in the American Legion Hall was not his daughter. Ever since the explosion, Wanda's father, like countless other parents, had gone from morgue to morgue and hospital to hospital throughout the oil field, looking for his little girl. Mr. Emberling was forced to do so alone because his wife Mildred had an even more tormenting task: she was keeping a deathwatch over their son George. The top of the young boy's head had been practically torn off in the explosion, and death would come as surely as the morning sun.

Wanda Emberling

Notices were posted throughout the area, asking people to come by the American Legion Hall to try to identify the young lady. All day Saturday, people filed by, took a quick glimpse at the horribly mutilated body, and rushed from the ghastly scene. Oscar Worrell[9] was among them. However, something familiar about the lifeless body forced him to return for another look. As before, he could not bear to look for more than a moment before rushing from the room, but he felt sure he knew the girl’s identity. He had to go back one more time to confirm it. This time, he asked to look at her left foot.

There it was: a scar under the left big toe. This was identical to one under Dale May York’s toe. In the pre-television days of the 1920s, children—especially farm children—occupied themselves the best way they could. Dale May had been no exception. While playing with a garden hoe, she had slipped and severely cut the underside of her left big toe, leaving a large, clear scar. There was now no doubt in Worrell’s mind as to the identity of this poor child. Being a cousin of the family, he had known Dale May all her life. He told officials the girl’s name.

“Impossible,” the officials said.

“No, there can be no doubt. The young lady is Dale May,” he replied.

“No,” Worrell was again told, “this could not be possible!”

The problem was that Dale May had already been identified and prepared for burial.

Dale May, the daughter of Jessie and Luna York, was born January 1, 1927,[10] in Genoa, Arkansas. She had two older half-brothers, J. T. and Grady York. Four years after she was born, a brother, Doug, arrived. Dale, a peculiar first name for a girl, was named after the doctor who delivered her, Dr. Dale. Her middle name came from her mother’s brother-in-law Bill May, in whose home Luna had lived in her early twenties. Dale May spent seven of her ten years on earth in several locations in Arkansas and Rusk County, Texas. On March 19, 1934,[11] Jessie and Luna moved their family to a farm they had bought in the Pleasant Hill community near New London. Jessie, a farmer, was one of the few men in the area who did not work in the oil field.


Jessie and Luna York

In 1934, children were not required to attend any certain school, but like most of the other children in her neighborhood, Dale May attended the one closest to her home, Farmer’s Institute. When the 1936-37 school year began, the Yorks were unaware that Farmer’s Institute had been consolidated into the London system. Therefore, on the first day of school, Dale May and her best friend Mary Lois King walked to school, as they usually did. When it was time for the girls to have returned home and they had not, Mrs. York and Mrs. King began to worry. Shortly thereafter, Dale May and Mary Lois arrived and told their mothers that a school bus had picked up all the kids at Farmer’s Institute and taken them to London School.

Mary Lois King

After investigating and finding out that London School and Farmer’s Institute had been consolidated, Luna asked the girls how they liked the new school. The answer was swift: they did not. It was such a big place that the girls had been lost all day, and they wanted to go back to Farmer’s Institute. Assuring Dale May that the problem was not as large as it appeared, Luna told her to take a piece of red crayon and mark the door of her homeroom. That way, she would not have to worry about being lost. The next day, Dale May came home and told her mother that she had followed her instructions and had found her way. (In the cleanup after the explosion, that doorsill was found. Dale May’s homeroom teacher Ann Wright showed the Yorks the red crayon mark, which was still visible.[12]

Dale May adapted promptly to her new surroundings and quickly excelled in her studies. She was exceptionally pretty, and it was not long before she had a boyfriend, fellow fifth-grader Preston Crim.

Dale May York

At the time of the explosion, Dale May's older brother J.T. was at his home in New London. Hearing the blast, he ran from his house to the ruins that had once been the school and miraculously found his sister’s body almost immediately. He knew his father, like other alarmed parents, would be on the scene shortly. He decided he would stand vigilantly over Dale May until then.

While J. T. stood guard over his sister, Luna and her neighbor Ora King were at the York home in the Pleasant Hill community. They had heard the explosion and assumed that it was another boiler exploding, a common occurrence in the oil fields. Ironically, Luna said to Ora, “Well, some poor old mother’s heart’s broken over something”[13] She just didn’t know at the time that her own heart would soon be devastated. Soon, another neighbor, Mrs. Will McClellan, arrived and told the suddenly alarmed ladies that it was not a boiler they heard: it was the school.

Dale May's father Jessie was frantic to get to the school, but he had a problem: he did not have any gas for the family car. (Not everyone had gotten rich off the Great Black Giant.) Faced with no other choice, the desperate father ran from his house to the main road connecting New London and Henderson. There he was able to catch a ride.

After seeing that Dale May had been correctly identified, tagged, picked up, and sent to Crim’s Funeral Home in Henderson, J. T. headed for his father's house. Along the way, J. T. and Mr. York unknowingly passed one another. Mr. York, after searching the ruins and not being able to find Dale May, returned home.[14]

While Jessie and J. T. were crossing paths, Ora King, Mary Lois’ mother, came running into the York’s yard. She reported that she had just come from the home of young Preston Crim, where Preston’s father told her that the school had blown up. Ora told Luna that they had to go back to the Crim’s. If Preston was home, Mrs. King felt sure that Mary Lois and Dale May had to be all right. Grabbing up six-year-old Doug, Mrs. York and Mrs. King set out.

Arriving at their destination, Ora and Luna were met by both Mr. and Mrs. Crim. Yes, their son Preston was home, but he had told them that Dale May was dead. Ora asked if she could see Preston. “[N]o, Mrs. York, he’s in no shape. . . . He and Dale May were sweethearts . . . . He always said he was going to marry her.”[15]

When J. T. arrived at the York home, he found neither his father nor stepmother Luna at home, so he raced back to the school. Shortly thereafter, both Mr. and Mrs. York arrived home. Not knowing that J.T. had found Dale May, they headed for the makeshift morgue at the American Legion Hall in Overton. Years later, Luna told Doug’s wife Cloe, “I never in all of my life seen . . . some with their heads off, some with their legs broke off, some with their feet gone. Oh, I never in my life. You’d have to raise the sheet. You see, they had sheets and put over ‘em. Bloody and . . . .”[16] The Yorks had probably looked at their own daughter and did not recognize her.

Later Jessie and Luna found J. T., and he told them that he had sent Dale May to Crim’s Funeral Home in Henderson. All the Yorks immediately left to see their daughter and sister. Arriving at Crim's, they asked for Dale May, but were refused because the body was too horribly mutilated to be observed. A schoolmate, Walter Freeman, who was sitting beside Dale May, reported that a large slab of concrete had crashed down on her.[17]

Not to be put off, Mrs. York insisted that she be allowed to see the body of her daughter. Again, she was turned down. She begged, but to no avail. Patiently, the funeral director explained that Mr. York could look, but Mrs. York could not. He told them that he could not have women fainting, as he felt they would surely do if they were allowed to see the smashed bodies that once had been their children. Since his wife was not allowed, Jessie declined to look. From that moment on, Mrs. York insisted that was not her baby Dale May resting in the casket.[18]


J.T. York at the Grave of His Sister, 1937

But time waits for no one, not even bereaved families. On Saturday, March 20, the Yorks, like dozens of other families, prepared to bury their child. At least the weather was cooperating. Dale May, her cousin Hazel Pearson, her best friend Mary Lois King, and seven other children’s caskets were lined up outside the west wall of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Their funerals were presided over by the Reverend John Buster Welsh.[19]

While the preacher was delivering his service, Bill May Jr., Dale May’s cousin, came over to his aunt and said, “Aunt Luna, that is not Dale May.”

Mrs. York sadly replied, “[H]oney, I know it’s not Dale.”

Later, as she left the graveside, Luna said, “Ya’ll can believe it [if you want, but] . . . it is not.”[20]

As earlier stated, Luna had once lived with her sister and her husband Bill May Sr. By 1937, the Mays were living in Winnfield, Texas, and were only able to get together with the Yorks once or twice a year. The Christmas before the explosion, the Mays were visiting the Yorks in Pleasant Hill. Billy Jr., Dale May, Doug, and some other kids were playing outside. Doug became angry at Dale May because he thought his big sister was paying more attention to Billy Jr. than to him. Angrily, he threw a rock at Dale May, hitting her in the mouth and chipping a tooth.[21]

Somehow Billy Jr. knew that was not his cousin in the coffin.[22] Unfortunately, everyone else—including Dale May’s father—thought it was Dale May and would not listen to Luna’s pleas. The Yorks buried the little girl who all but Luna and Billy Jr. thought was their loved one.

The late Billy May, Jr.

Meanwhile, back in Overton, Felton Waggoner, the junior high school principal of the destroyed London School, was asked if he could identify the one remaining unknown body. Entering the room, the first thing he saw was a little brown coat beside the sheet-covered body. [23]


Dale May York lies at the American Legion Hall in Overton, Texas.
The "little brown coat" is visible.

The first words out of Principal Waggoner's mouth were, “Does that coat belong to that body under the sheet?” He was assured that it did. Without ever looking at the body, Waggoner said, “Then that girl is Dale May York.”

He was told that this was impossible. Once again, Waggoner asked, “Does that coat belong to that body?” Yes, but it could not possibly be Dale May York; she had already been identified and buried. Exasperated, Waggoner slammed his fist into the palm of his hand and said, “If that coat belongs to that body, then it is Dale May York!”

Asked how he could be so sure, Waggoner explained that Dale May had been absent for two weeks with pneumonia and had just returned to school that week.[24] Before she could get into any classes, Mr. Waggoner had to issue her a pass. He distinctively remembered Dale May's little brown coat. He knew, without doubt, that if that coat belonged to the little girl under the sheet, it could only be Dale May York.

The awful truth began to settle on the community, one that had already experienced far too many awful truths. Everyone seemed to say, “Oh, please, don't let that be Wanda Louise Emberling in Dale May York’s grave. We've seen too much already.” There was only one way to find out for sure: Dale May's grave had to be opened. The court was petitioned and exhumation orders obtained.

On Sunday, the Emberlings, the Yorks, and Oscelo J. Reed of the Child Welfare and Health Bureau of Southwestern States arrived at Dale May’s grave. Both the Emberlings were mentally and physically exhausted. Having sat up with George for days, Mrs. Emberling was no longer able to stand and was on a stretcher.[25] Though equally spent, Mr. Emberling was still on his feet.

Mrs. York had been given a shot of sedative to soothe her nerves before going to the cemetery.[26] Throughout the exhumation, she prayed repeatedly, “Please Lord, don’t let me faint. Please Lord, don’t let me faint.”[27] Later, Mrs. York said that the Lord watched over her throughout the ordeal—she remained on her feet.

Once the grave was opened, Mrs. Emberling, unable to bring herself to look into the casket, asked Mr. Reed to look. She asked him if the toenails on the body were colored in red crayon. She asked because, the night before the explosion, Wanda had invited friends over for the night. Playing “make-up,” she had taken red crayons and painted her toenails. Mr. Reed sadly told Mrs. Emberling that indeed that was the case.[28] Mrs. Emberling immediately collapsed in a dead faint.[29] There could be no doubt that it was her daughter.

Wanda Louise Emberling’s casket was exhumed. A new grave was prepared near the main entrance gate, and the little body was re-interred. Later that night, Wanda Louise was joined in death by her brother George, who had finally succumbed to his injuries. Once more, the Emberlings made the terribly lonely trip to Pleasant Hill Cemetery to lay George beside his sister.

One mystery was solved, but another remained. How could the mix-up in bodies have happened? J. T. York had positively identified his sister at the school grounds, had stayed with her, and had seen to it that she was correctly identified, tagged, and placed in a hearse that he thought was going to Crim’s Funeral Home in Henderson. In all the confusion, however, she had gone to the American Legion building in Overton, not to Henderson. Also, the name tag was lost somewhere in the transfer.

Now that they knew for sure that the girl in the grave was not Dale May, there could be no doubt about the body at the American Legion building in Overton. Once more, Jessie and Luna traveled to Overton, and this time, Mrs. York was not denied the chance to look at her daughter. The Yorks personally made positive identification.

Imagine, if you can, the pain the Yorks suffered. Mrs. York, who had been convinced all along that it was not her daughter who had been buried, had to once again lay Dale May in the ground. The parents had already gone through the trauma of one burial; now they had to do it again. This time, however, Mrs. York insisted on a different grave site than the one that had been occupied by Wanda Louise Emberling.[30] A new grave was prepared, ironically only a few plots from Wanda Louise. In the case of the Emberlings, two children were laid to rest. It is said that time heals all wounds. Whoever said that is wrong. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. That wound never heals.

Later, the Yorks had another funeral for Dale May. This one was private and with no fanfare. Several years had passed, and Mr. and Mrs. York had finally come to grips with the death of their beloved ten-year old; it was time to put her completely to rest. One solemn day, the family gathered for this final act of remembrance to their daughter and sister. From a trunk of family mementos, Mr. and Mrs. York took the shredded, bloody clothes that their daughter had been wearing that fatal afternoon and joined the rest of the family who were gathered in the same backyard that Dale May had known so well. A small hole was hollowed out, and Dale May’s clothes were placed in the grave.[31]

If you are ever close to the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, located on Texas State Highway FM 323 midway between New London and Henderson, stop for a short visit. It will be a moving experience, and one you will never forget. Immediately after passing through the main entrance gate to the cemetery, the graves of George and Wanda Louise Emberling are on the left. A few feet directly south is the resting place of Dale May York.

This has been but two out of more than three hundred stories of the London School explosion, each tragic in its own way. Atop hundreds of graves in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, there are tombstones with a common notation: “Died March 18, 1937; Victim of London.” Many have pictures of children mounted on them. One is of a frail young lady, forever ten years old: Dale May York.

The ancient Greeks have a saying, “No one truly dies until no one remembers their name.” Hopefully, Dale May York and the hundreds who perished with her that terrible Thursday afternoon will never truly die.

Doug York--Dale May's brother.

 

 

 

 


Notes

1. James A. Clark and Michael T. Halbouty, The Last Boom, (Austin, Texas: Shearer Publishing, 1972), 109.

2. From a movie shown in the East Texas Oil Field Museum in Kilgore, Texas.

3. In 1938, when the community needed a post office, the name "London" could not be used as there was already a post office in a West Texas community named London. Therefore, the name "New London" was adopted. The tragedy is known to the world as the New London School Explosion, but as former students assert, the school’s nickname was the "London Wildcats"—not the New London Wildcats.

4. Interview with John Fuhr at his home in Denton, Texas, on July 15, 1994. Fuhr was a member of the New London High School Band.

5. Interview with Loyd Richardson, Henderson, Texas, in Mr. Richardson’s home in Henderson, Texas, on November 9, 1994. Richardson’s brother Roy worked during the night searching the wreckage for survivors. One piece of debris that he removed was a clock. It was stopped at 3:17 p.m.

6. Interview with Jack Strickland in Overton, Texas, on April 7, 1994. Strickland was in Mr. Butler’s shop at the time of the explosion. He remembered the nickname the students had given to the sander.

7. Michael Toon, The New London School Disaster, master of arts thesis, Stephen F. Austin State University, 1977.

8. Mollie Ward, a survivor, has extensively researched this subject and confirms that this is only an approximation. The exact number of dead will probably never be known.

9. Interview with Doug York, brother of Dale May York, March 19, 1994. York told me that Oscar Worrell first identified his sister.

10. Ibid.

11. Sometime before her death on June 5, 1988, Dale May’s mother, Luna, was visiting with her son Doug. Unknown to her, her daughter-in-law Cloe had turned on a cassette recorder. I am thankful to Doug and Cloe York for giving me a copy of this tape. During Cloe’s recording, Luna made the statement that she and Jessie had moved to the Pleasant Hill community on March 19, 1934.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Interview with Doug York.

15. Cloe York’s interview with Luna York.

16. Ibid.

17. Interview with Doug York.

18. Cloe York’s interview with Luna York.

19. Interview with Doug York.

20. Interview with Bill May Jr., first cousin of Dale May York, January 15, 1995, at Shepherd, Texas.

21. Ibid.

22. In both my interview with Doug York and Cloe York’s interview with Luna York.

23. From an interview with Mr. Waggoner at his home in West Monroe, Louisiana, on March 26, 1994.

24. Interview with Doug York.

25. Michael Toon’s master’s thesis, Stephen F. Austin State University, July 1977.

26. Cloe York’s interview with Luna York.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Today, Dale May/Wanda Louise’s grave is occupied by Perry Lee Cox. In many ways, Perry’s story is equally as tragic as that of the two little girls.

31. This story was related to me by Doug York.

 


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