DeWitt County History
DeWitt County is in southeastern Texas about 45 miles from the Gulf Of Mexico. It is surrounded by Victoria, Goliad, Karnes, Gonzales and Lavaca Counties. The county seat is Cuero, the county’s largest town. The Guadalupe River and its tributaries, drain most of the county. The various creeks are: COLETO, SANDIES, SALT, SMITH, McCOY, IRISH, CUERO, and CLEAR.
In April 1825 empresario Green DeWitt was given permission by the Government of Mexico to settle 400 families between the Guadalupe and Lavaca Rivers. Most pioneers settled at the mouth of the Lavaca or established farms along the banks of the Guadalupe River.According to research, ARTHUR BURNS and family established the first home in the county on Irish Creek. This area was later called Irish Creek Settlement. It is documented that colonists who held grants in the county by 1827 were: BYRD LOCKHART, JOSE ANTONIO VALDEZ, GEORGE W. DAVIS, VALENTINE BENNETT, CHURCHILL FULSHEAR, JOSEPH D. CLEMENTS, JOHN JAMES TUMLINSON, and GREEN DEWITT.
In 1840, a courthouse was built at Cameron, by 1850 Clinton served as the county’s main center, but finally in 1876, Cuero was permanently named as county seat.
Before the Civil War, grazing stock was the primary business in DeWitt County. After the war, agriculture and industry prospered. Corn, Cotton, and tobacco ,as well as sweet potatoes were grown. The livestock industry continued to grow. The development of “The Chisholm Trail” from Dewitt County northward encouraged more cattlemen to raise beef. The first cattle drive northward occurred on April 1, 1866. Also occurring at this time in history was the railroad. The Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific were the first railroads to enter DeWitt County. They extended to San Antonio. Three major “railroad communities” were established because of this link: CUERO, THOMASTON, and BURNS STATION. Soon a second line the SAAP ( San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway) extended from CUERO, YORKTOWN and NORDHEIM to San Antonio in 1887 and led to the development of Yoakum, a community to the north.
Since 1912, the County of DeWitt has celebrated the county’s turkey industry. This began with the annual “TURKEY TROT”. The county boasts of its heritage as the ” TURKEY CAPITOL OF THE WORLD”.
Cuero and its surrounding cities and towns remain friendly and extend a welcoming hand to all visitors to their communities.