(First entry, p. 25) Historical Sketch
A courthouse was constructed at Cameron, but before it saw much'use, the
county seat was transferred to the town of Clinton, near Chisholm's ferry.
From 1846 until 1850, the inhabitants of De Witt County must have wondered
where their county seat really was, for in four years the county seat was
moved four times, and each move was accompanied by an election, a recount
of votes, an appeal, or a supreme court decision. Finally, on November
28, 1850, the court met in Clinton, following the fourth re-location of
the county seat; and this time no one contested the fact that Clinton was
the official county seat of De Witt County.34 The little town of Cameron
died away, and today few persons can even point out its former site.
Clinton remained the county seat until the seventies.35
Soon after the organization of De 1lWitt County, German settlers began
to filter into) that vicinity, and gradually became one of the most important
elements of the population of the county, On April 1, 1848,
Charles Eckhardt, Theodore Miller, C. DeSchutz, and John L. Mueller
bought a tract of land from John York, intending to lay out a new town.
Under their agreement, York sold a half interest in his league of land
for one dollar in cash; the purchasers agreed to lay out the town at their
own expense, and allow York to keep each alternate lot, block, and acre
lot. The agreement stipulated that the town was to be named Yorktown. On
July 24, 1848, Eckhardt and his associates wrote York that they were sending
him a copy of the town plat. Shortly afterwards the first settlers began
to arrive. Among the first ones were Andreas Strieber, Peter Metz,
C. G. Hartmann, and Mrs. Hoppe.36 Some time in 1848, a German traveler
arrived in De Witt County and methodically recorded his impressions of
the countryside. He was delighted with the stately oaks, the deep black
soil, and the rushing streams. He was overjoyed with the beauties of the
Guadalupe, and chose his words well in describing it:
0, the Guadalupe, its water clear as day, flows ten to
twenty feet deep over the rocks. The rocks and green luxurious
plants and fishes and tortoises and alligators appear
not as if they were in the water, but rather as if surrounded
by green, transparent air. Charmingly beautiful! And the
trues and the clifrs, how picturesquely tnoy overhang the
stream and bathe their feet in the water' There is no more
beautiful stream than the Guadalupe! Who would consider the
turbid and slimy waters of the Rhine beautiful after he has
seen the Guadalupe? Here the legends of water fairies appear
natural; and crystal palaces resting on cliffs of glass are
34, Corn. Ct. Min., A, 18, 51, 63, 71, 81, 97; D, 209.
35. Cuero Record, Dec. 31, 1935.
36. Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas
(Austin, 1930), 57, 58.
37. Viktor Bracht, Texas in 1848 (San Antonio, 1931), 99.
Historical Records Survey. Texas. Inventory of the county archives of Texas : De Witt County, no. 62. San Antonio, Tex.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth25252/. Accessed March 12, 2014.