The old F. W. Bates - H. D. Sheppard home, which has been designated by the DeWitt County Commissioners Court as the DeWitt County Historical Museum, was erected by the late F. W. Bates in October-November 1886. The land was purchased from the Cuero Land and Immigration Company.
Mr. Bates' wife was the former Elizabeth Sheppard of Indianola, Texas, and her two brothers, Joseph and Henry Sheppard, left homeless and motherless by the great hurricane of August 20, 1886, assisted in construction of the Bates home. Further, together with Mr. Bates, the two Sheppard boys returned to Indianola, collected lumber from the remains of the Sheppard home, and brought the lumber to Cuero, where it was incorporated into the Bates home. Other material for the house was purchased from H. J. Huck and Co. in the amount of $383.50.
The house was remodeled in 1925 with the addition of an upstairs bedroom and two indoor bathrooms. The present kitchen was also added at that time. Prior to 1925, the single bathroom had been situated in a separate building connected by an extension of the open porch to the main house. One chimney served the kitchen cook stove, the coal stove in the dining room, and the wood stove in an upstairs bedroom. The rest of the rooms, including the living room and other bedrooms, were unheated. The house became a County Museum in 1973.
Outbuildings included a large barn on the lots where the former Stratton Hospital now stands, a three-room storage house, and a large chicken coop where the poultry for Sunday family dinners was kept. These outbuildings were removed in 1951. A one-car garage was added in late 1920 and has since been removed. The house was sold by the family in 1968. An authentic log cabin ca. 1865 was placed on the Museum grounds in 1968.
now on display through mid-March
Two whole files that belong to the Historical Commission, kept locked, but available on request.
One shelf of materials; does not circulate print materials; no appointment necessary; cannot assist with inter-library loans.
Visual reference collection: a few slides.
Gift shop - maps, books, cemetary books listing graves in DeWitt County, note paper and gifts. Regular scheduled tours for all grade schools.
A handout flyer is available for free. A DeWitt County History, published by the Historical Commission, is available for reference (in-house use only).
Resources available for sale
Reflections of DeWitt County, 1844- 2001 $15.00
DeWitt County History Book $100.00
DeWitt County Cemetery Books- Volume I, II, III- each $15.00
Wooden Replicas of Courthouse- $16.50 each
Legendary Ladies of Texas $17.95
Dance Halls Last Call Throughout DeWitt County $19.00
German Seed on Texas $19.50
German Texana $19.50
Best of the Best from Texas, Volume I $16.95; Volume II- $16.95
All materials have a 8.25 % tax and postage charge is extra
Approximately 2,340 square feet; 216 square feet exhibition area; wheelchair-accessible.
Docent program; not available for tour/loan. The DeWitt County Wildflower Association is headquartered in the Museum during the month of April. The Museum is open seven days a week during this month, displaying over 100 live specimens of DeWitt County wildflowers. There are guided tours throughout the countryside and city. More information can be gained at the website www.cuero.org.