Green DeWitt history runs deep

As DeWitt County celebrates its 175 anniversary, members of the Gonzales Chapter of Daughters of the Republic of Texas held its meeting here recently at Green DeWitt Community Center and heard a definitive history of the county’s founder Green DeWitt.

With 21 members attending, chapter president Marjorie Kacir noted several of those at the meeting were descendants of the original colonists in the Green DeWitt Colony. She listed colonist George Washington Davis as her descendant and Louis Koenig as a descendant of her husband.

Before there were colonists and before there was Texas, Spain represented the first European country to claim the area. Kacir explained it was the Spanish conquistadors that occupied Mexico and much of Central and South America for 200 years.

After the American Revolution, the United States started expanding west. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Florida Treaty with Spain, the western border of the U.S. was established to be the Sabine River in Spanish Texas.

Soon after Mexico gained its independence from Spain, Stephen F. Austin and other men, including Green B. DeWitt began seeking land grants to encourage individuals and families to move to Spanish Texas. DeWitt was a native of Kentucky and his wife was a native of Virginia.

Kacir said, “Immigrants were required to prove their Christianity and good character, to swear to uphold the federal and state constitutions, and to observe the Roman Catholic religion. In exchange, the government guaranteed the security of their persons and property, permitted them to engage in any honest pursuit, and exempted them from taxes for a specified number of years. The settlers who came were overwhelmingly Anglo-Americans from the U.S.”

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