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Cuero, Texas


Cuero Turkey Trot Vintage Photos
Collecting Cuero Turkey Trot Bottles

Courtesy William Beauchamp Collection

First Turkey Trot, Cuero, Texas  1912 photo
Turkey Trot in Cuero, Texas - 11/26/1912
Vintage photo courtesy William Beauchamp Collection

Cuero Turkey Trot

From "Get Along Little Turkeys..." by Mike Cox

... The first Cuero turkey drive to make the newspapers came in November 1910, when Rudolph and Oscar Egg of the small, German-rooted community of Meyersville drove 1,200-plus turkeys to the county seat for sale at the processing plant, which one newspaper indelicately referred to as a "slaughter house." It took the brothers and six hired hands on horseback two days to herd the birds 13 miles into town.

Soon, Cuero had two processing plants and cold storage facilities. Given the area's mild climate, abundant open land and natural food sources, turkey raising in DeWitt County took off faster than a startled Tom. By 1914, Cuero shipped more turkeys than any other place in the nation.

One turkey drive had 8,000 birds flapping and pecking their way along Main Street on their way to becoming holiday meals. But there would be larger herds.

"It took the drovers 30 hours to deliver the turkeys," a North Texas newspaper said of the 8,000-bird drive. "The birds took a notion to roost in a grove about four miles from town, and nothing would induce them to continue the march to the slaughtering pens."

On the other hand, the article continued, "When the birds are well behaved and meet with no strange obstacles on the road the drovers have no difficulty." Still, the unidentified journalist pronounced, "When a turkey drive becomes really frightened a cattle stampede is a tame affair in comparison."

The drives happened every November, and the spectacle of thousands of big birds strutting through Cuero began attracting locals and curious visitors. That did not go unnoticed by the editor of the town's newspaper, who pushed for a festival to coincide with the annual rite of passage. So, on Nov. 25-27, 1912, an estimated 30,000 folks showed up to see 18,000 turkeys on their way to becoming so many frozen breasts and drum sticks. Civic leaders even invited the president, but he had a previous commitment... read full article

Cuero Turkey Trot

From DeWitt County Courthouse by Lou Ann Herda, Ed. D

What does a turkey drive, a thirty-year feud, a lady in a clock, and a headless horseman have in common? The answer is DeWitt County..... As many as 20,000 turkeys have been driven down the streets of Cuero. Since 1908, these gobblers, which could have been our national bird, would trot from their roosts along main street down to the packing house. People soon started flocking to see them. In 1912, the first Cuero Turkey Trot was held... read full article

Turkey Trot
History cartoon by Roger T. Moore

First Turkey Trot Parade at Cuero, Texas  November 26,  1912 photo
Turkey Trot Parade at Cuero, Texas, November 26, 1912
Vintage photo courtesy William Beauchamp Collection

Turkey Trot Crowd, Cuero TX old photo
The crowded Main Street in Cuero during Turkey Trot
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp Collection

Tidbit on Collecting Cuero Turkey Trot Bottles
When traveling the roads of Texas and you're in that certain antique or junk store on the side of the road. If by chance you see an old pop bottle with embossed Turkey's on it GRAB IT! You're more than likley to have found a commemorative Cuero Turkey Trot bottle and a piece of Texas History! Cuero is famous for it's annual Turkey Trot Parade down main street and these bottles were made for the occasion. These parades have been taking place since 1912!

There are 4 distinct types known to have been made, Three being embossed and one newer style with a colored label. The most common embossed is a 4 sided green bottle with 4 Turkey's embossed(Pat'd 1923), then a round body bottle with one big Turkey embossed(Pat'd 1924), then the rarest of the embossed is a clear 4 sided with Turkey's with this bottle having the glass plant mark "3 RIVERS*" on the heel(mid-1920's). This was the mark of the Three Rivers Texas Glass plant(1922-37). The last bottle made was for the Cuero Centennial in 1972 and is what bottle collectors call an ACL bottle(applied color label). These can still be found in shops from time to time and some survived still full with the contents. These newer bottles held Cream Soda Pop.

As far as what is a fair value if you see one? The embossed Turkey bottles are very seldom found in shops anymore but a few of the green bottles would show up at the Houston Antique bottle show from time to time and fetch about $75+. The clear embossed is the most sought after and rarest and would bring quite a bit more if the seller knew what they had! Your 1972 green colored label can be found regularly on internet auction sites and in junk shops and should cost you about $5-$12. It took me 30 years of bottle collecting before I got my 4 set complete- Good luck Turkey Hunting!!! - William Beauchamp, April 17, 2009

Cuero TX Turkey Trot Bottles
Cuero Turkey Trot Bottles
Postcard courtesy William Beauchamp Collection

Cuero TexasTurkey Trol
Turkey Trot in Cuero
Photo Courtesy TXDoT

See Cuero, Texas

Cuero and DeWitt County Trip

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