Oral History Of Royce Weisenberger

Interview conducted by Angela Kay Leslie on November 30, 1997, for Professor Tom Forgey's class in Arkansas History at Southern Arkansas University. The interview took place at Weisenberger's home in Hope, Arkansas, and was part of "Golden Reflections," an intergenerational project organized by Nancy Bailey of the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas, Inc. The transcript below is an excerpt of this taped-recorded interview. The original audio tape is archived at Magale Library at Southern Arkansas University.


Angela: When and where were you born?

Royce: I was born in Harper County, Iowa, on December 11, 1907.

Angela: Who were your parents?

Royce: My mother was Stella Jane Stewart, of an old American family that had settled in New York, migrated through Ohio and ended up in South Central Iowa. My father was a full blood German. He and another young man about 17 years old came to the United States through Ellis Island. I've arranged to have his name put on the wall there, where they redid the immigration area there, and they sent me information on it, so I know he came through that way. He wasn't an illegal immigrant. He came over here to live temporarily with his mother's brother and family that were already at Burlington, Iowa. I remember visiting with my father up there. I'm a Democrat, a conservative Democrat now, but most Democrats say that there's never been any depressions except when Republican caused it. My father was just a young man learning the American language and working on a farm or factory or something and his family decided that they were better off in Germany, and they stayed there and he never saw any of his family after that.

Angela: What year did your father come over here?

Royce: I'm not sure. He was naturalized in 1899. The story is my grandfather Stewart was very strict, a successful farmer, then retired in a small town in Kura, Iowa, and he wouldn't let my mother get married. But when he died, they married after that.