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.
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
County Courthouse by Lou Ann Herda,
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... Full
Tidbit on Collecting
Cuero Turkey Trot Bottles
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
Trot in Cuero
Photo Courtesy TXDoT