“It is a real blessing to serve the citizens of this history-rich county. DeWitt County is smack-dab in the middle of the ‘Cradle of Texas Independence,’ and that pioneering spirit is ever-present.” DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler
How do you celebrate a dodransbicentennial? Just ask the DeWitt County Historical Commission.
This is the 175th anniversary of the creation of DeWitt County. A year-long celebration began in March with a Founders Day celebration next to the 127-year-old DeWitt County Courthouse. The Historical Commission hosted County Judge Daryl Fowler, who read a proclamation recognizing the importance of this event.
Horses, buggies, and wagons brought dignitaries and elected officials to the celebration, and those attending dressed in period costumes. County Commissioners Curtis Afflerbach, James Pilcheck Sr., James Kaiser, and Richard Randle arrived followed by the mayors or representatives of the cities of Cuero, Nordheim, Yoakum, and Yorktown.
The event included a conversation between historic ranching family descendent Jeff Steen and Empresario Green B. DeWitt, portrayed by Rev. Mark Collins. DeWitt signed a contract with Mexico in 1825 to bring 400 families to settle in this area. Each settler received 320 acres. By 1846, the Texas Legislature had created DeWitt County. Early court meetings were held under shade trees. It took four attempts to establish a county seat, but in 1876 Cuero was chosen. In 1894, the court financed the construction of the courthouse that still serves the county today.
The DeWitt County Courthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was approved for complete historic restoration as part of the Texas Historical Commission Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program in 2003.
DeWitt County Historical Commission leaders Mary Gayle Brindley and Peggy Ledbetter along with other members launched a fund-raising project to cover expenses of the 175th anniversary celebration. Chambers of commerce from surrounding towns assisted along with area museums. Activities included a youth art and essay contest for area students. Projects scheduled for the remainder of the year include historic home tours, museum exhibits, photography exhibits, and chuck wagon/food demonstrations. The celebration will conclude with a Founders Ball at the end of the year in Yorktown.
For more information on upcoming events, follow “DeWitt County Celebrates 175 Years” on Facebook.
By Glenn Rea
DeWitt County Historical Commission
Publisher, The Cuero Record