Oregon State University
Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection

Lonnie Wilson Oral History Interview. 1980s

Lonnie Wilson Oral History Interview

Interview conducted by Michael Grice.


Location:  Location Unknown.

Lonnie Wilson was born in Paris, Texas on October the 23rd, 1906. He reflects on memories and the character of “Old Good’n,” Michael Grice’s grandfather who worked on the railroad as well. Wilson’s parents were railroad people; his mother was a matron at the Santa Fe Frisco station in Paris, Texas and his father was a porter starting in 1917 on the Frisco line. Wilson describes working for a private family, the Scott family, from 1925 until 1941 when he left for the railroad. Wilson also recalls working as field executive for Boy Scouts and serving in the US infantry before coming back to the railroad in Portland in 1945. There he started out operating the jitney, selling sandwiches, coffee, milk, fruit and candy in coach, and then worked on the dining car.