Oral History: Lillian Magill Gholson
Even as a young child, Lillian Rachael Magill was a figure about town, known by all the shop keepers and their clientele for her outgoing nature and loquacious style of engaging people. Traits that remained with her throughout her life.
She was unique in that her home was the Georgetown jail, where she lived with her family.
And so we find her on three occasions in the spring of 2012, as 96-year-old Mrs. Lillian R. Gholson as she agreed to participate in the Williamson County Historical Commission oral history project. It just happened to be the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts, which she pointed out, adding that she still had the Girl Scout uniform her mother had made for her.
She tells stories of growing up in the imposing old jail, as her dad, Wayne Magill, became jailer and deputy sheriff before she started school. During the day, he was the cattle inspector and her mother did the cooking for prisoners on a wood stove.
She considered the big stone edifice on Jail Hill with its unique architecture as a nice place, and for the most part, she knew all the prisoners to be good people, even Mr. Leahy who was sent to the electric chair. There were some women who came to be locked up, too.
The only time she was afraid was when a mob of Ku Klux Klan members showed up in their white robes, looking for a certain prisoner. On a tip, Sheriff Leahy had secretly moved him to Austin, but Lillian and her mother were the only ones there to deal with the Klan.
On a sad note, her dad was one of the first in Williamson County to be killed in the line of duty. It happened after he had been promoted to City Marshall, and he is memorialized on a monument in Austin and a brick at the courthouse.
Summary prepared by Jan Raesz, Williamson County Historical Commission appointee, 2018
Click here to listen to Lillian’s story – Part I – April 18, 2012
Click here to listen to Lillian’s story – Part II – May 4, 2012
Click here to listen to Lillian’s story – Part III – May 17, 2012
Click here for the transcript of the audio file – Part I – April 18, 2012
Click here for the transcript of the audio file – Part II – May 4, 2012
Click here for the transcript of the audio file – Part III – May 17, 2012
Click here for a summary of the transcript – Part I through Part III