Plantation tours are designed to provide viewers with a complete
analysis of the architectural styles used in the construction of
the 1854 mansion as well as a comprehensive history of Colonel John
Dewberry (1794-1877) and his impact on the settlement of East Texas.
Accounts have the original plantation encompassing between 20,000
and 30,000 acres in Smith, Cherokee and Anderson Counties with the
main house, named "Myrtle-Vale" by its builder because
of the long walkway flanked by majestic crepe myrtles leading to
the house, serving as headquarters. Myrtle-Vale is the only original
two-story, pre-Civil War house still standing in Smith County.
will hear a detailed account of the impact of historical sites such
as the Neches Saline, a saline used by Indians and settlers until
it was covered by the waters of Lake Palestine, Saline Prairie,
and the Neches, Sabine and Trinity Rivers. Guests will also be informed
on the importance of the site as a campground for the officers of
the Army of Republic of Texas, led by Thomas J. Rusk and Edward
Burleson, prior to their final battle with the Cherokee Indians
and Chief Bowles. The tour will conclude with a full account of
the history of Colonel Dewberry and his family, who came to the
area in 1835 from Chatham County, Georgia. Before
arriving in Texas he served as a Colonel in the War of 1812. This
part of the tour will include excerpts from interviews with former
slaves and their living descendants.
has been meticulously restored in 2001 according to the Department
of the Interiors "Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines
for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings." All areas of the house
which could be restored were done so using the original materials.
In the few areas where water damage and rotting had occurred, cypress
lumber was hand milled and delivered from Louisiana to match the
original exterior. The house is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places as well as being a Texas State Historical Landmark,
and it is the sincere desire of the present owners to provide Americans
today with a glimpse into the life and times of Antebellum East