Mark in Texas History: Dewberry Plantation
SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - As you can imagine, back in the 1800s, East Texas looked very different, but you can take a trip back in time at the Dewberry Plantation.
The 1854 mansion, named for Colonel John Dewberry, is a rare surviving example of the architecture from that time period that can still be found right here in East Texas.
It was 1835 when John Dewberry came to East Texas. The war of 1812 veteran from Georgia settled on Saline Prairie, in what would become Smith County. He became a successful businessman and cotton farmer in Tyler.
After the creation of Smith County in 1846, Dewberry was one of five men appointed by the Texas legislature to locate the boundaries for Smith County and the new county seat of Tyler.
In 1854, Dewberry built his dream home on nearly 30,000 acres near Teaselville. It also served as headquarters for his large cotton plantation. The main Dewberry house was named “Myrtle Vale” because of the long walkway flanked by majestic crepe myrtles leading to the home.
Myrtle Vale is the only original two-story, pre-Civil-War house still standing in Smith County. The rare antebellum residence remained in the family until 1908.
These are just some of the reasons the Texas Historical Commission awarded the Dewberry Plantation a historical marker back in 1962.
Victoria and Ken Poppelwell bought the plantation in 2004 and reduced it to five acres. The mansion is now open for tours, receptions and other events.
To this day, the plantation is impeccable, and the grounds are manicured -- a great backdrop for a wedding or just a picnic.
If you’d like to check it out, the home is at FM 346 just south of CR 1353. The historical marker is on the front porch of the house.
While you’re in the area, you can check out Dewberry’s grave. He is buried in the Loftin cemetery at the intersection of FM 344 and 346. It is unique that his plot has what is called a “grave house” covering his raised tomb.
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