Cuero Heritage

Cuero is named for "Cuero Creek." Cuero is Spanish for "rawhide."

The Cuero Story

History of Cuero

Early History of Cuero, TX

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Cuero is named for "Cuero Creek." Cuero is Spanish for "rawhide." The Spanish called it Arroyo del Cuero or Creek of the Rawhide. This was a reference to cattle that would get stuck in the mud along the creek bank.

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The Business Boom of Cuero

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In the late 1800s, Cuero grew almost overnight. Business and the railroad were booming. At this time, the population increases were due to the commerce, but also due to the destruction of Indianola, Texas from a hurricane in 1875. Indianola once rivaled Galveston as a gulf port. The first hurricane hit Indianola on September 15, 1875. The town was full because of visitors attending a trial that was a result of the Taylor-Sutton Feud and as such, fatalities were estimated at 150 to 300. Some families went so far as to dismantle their homes and rebuild them in Cuero. Only 8 buildings were left undamaged by the storm.

History of the Taylor Sutton Feud

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Possibly the most infamous part of the Cuero Story is the history of the Sutton Taylor Feud. The Sutton and Taylor families were pioneers of DeWitt County settlers. The sources and causes of their family friction are lost in the midst of time, but their family loyalties and the frontier ethic were expressed in the phrase, "I'll die before I'll run" and the feud resulted in the death of many good men on both sides before law and order was restored in DeWitt County by the Texas Rangers.

Cuero as the County Seat

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In 1876 the voters of DeWitt County approved the transfer of the County Seat from Clinton to Cuero. The City of Cuero was organized in 1873 and OL Threlkeld was elected the first mayor of the city. In 1886 another terrible storm hit the Cuero area and those people who still lived in Indianola moved to Cuero finally with their families.

In 1894 the old frame courthouse burned down and in March 1895, the corner stone of the present courthouse was laid. This same year, Mr. Jim Howerton established the Cuero Daily Record and managed it until his death in 1935.

The Turkey Trot Tradition

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The Turkey Trot, which has evolved into the present-day Turkeyfest, began in 1912. Traveling salesmen from the north began watching with great interest the droves of turkeys that were driven on foot to the Cuero Market.

In 1908 Cuero's first turkey dressing house was opened and turkey raising began on a large scale on DeWitt County farms. Early in November, the growers would drive their turkeys down country roads and through the city streets to the packing house and the northerners would marvel at the site. They expressed their interest to the locals and year by year the number of visitors would come to Cuero to watch the turkey drive.

In 1912 the Chamber of Commerce sensed the interest of the visitors and wanted to encourage the turkey raising industry for advertising South Texas turkeys, decided to stage a celebration with a turkey drive down the city's main streets. This celebration became an annual tradition attracting news writers, cameramen, journalists and thousands of spectators each year.

The tradition lives on but is now called Turkeyfest and is held every October. Today there is an annual race between turkeys from Worthington, Minnesota and Cuero. Also, there is a carnival, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and much more during the three-day event.

WWII Era History

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During World War II, Cuero Field was established at the Cuero Municipal Airport, two miles west of Cuero and was established as a U.S. Army Air Corps training field. All instructors and mechanics were civilian, though the Army supervised training. Thousands of pilots who graduated from Cuero Field went on to serve in World War II.

The Cuero Livestock Commission records show that Cuero was the largest shipper of cattle in the state in 1942 and 1943, with more than 800 carloads exported per year. The commission, established in 1940, sold $251,750 worth of stock that same year; sales jumped to $1.3 million in 1941, 3.5 million in 1942, and 4.7 million in 1943. Some people say DeWitt County is one of the largest producers of cattle in the State of Texas.

More history about the surrounding areas of Cuero, including Meyersville and Arneckeville, can be foundhere.

The Cuero Fightin' Gobblers

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The first public school was established in 1884. The Cuero Independent School District was established in 1911. The story of the district, board members and even students has created the legacy of the Cuero Gobblers. The first woman to be elected to the school board occurred in 1961, Mrs. Susan Wallis. The Gobblers even have an Olympian in their midst. In 1964, Fred Hansen won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in Pole Vaulting. The Cuero Gobblers have consistently led the way in athletic excellence, winning the football state championship in 3A in 1973 with a 21-7 win over Mount Pleasant. They would go on to win state another 2 years in 1974 and 1987. Today, Cuero still has a great football team and has expanded its excellence in athletics in golf and basketball.

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