Built around 1867 by Col.David Browning Culberson, the Culberson House has a cherished place in Texas history and enhances the historic riverfront district of Jefferson.
The house is an exquisite example of Greek Revival architecture. You will notice that the Culberson House, with its symmetrical shape, low roof lines, columns and pediments was inspired by Greek temples - a tribute to the very concept of democracy. This style of architecture embodies the expression of nationalism and civic virtue while being free from ecclesiastic and aristocratic associations. From 1830 to 1870, nearly every new public building in America incorporated some Greek Revival elements. Culberson House is a stunning example of a political figure incorporating this style in a personal residence.
Col. David Browning Culberson, Jr. was a prominent lawyer, state representative, military officer, and US senator for 23 years. He had a brilliant mind and impeccable character, earning him the nickname “Honest Dave” Culberson. He once resigned his office because he refused to support secession, which his constituents supported. He continued to serve his home state by:
- A distinguished military career, during which he helped raise the 18th Infantry and saw combat, during the Civil War, in Vicksburg in 1862-1863.
- Served as the defense attorney in the Stockade Case of 1869, and helped defend accused murderer Abe Rothschild in the Diamond Bessie murder trial.
- Worked to obtain the acquittal for treason of the then-16-year-old William Jesse McDonald, of Rusk County, the later Texas Ranger.
- Was elected for ten terms to the US Congress, where he supported prohibition and opposed federal interference in state government. In 1876, he favored the repeal of the Specie Act, and in 1888 he introduced antitrust legislation in Congress. Though he was in sympathy with many of their political goals, Culberson campaigned against the Populists in the 1890s, attacking them as a divisive force in state politics.
- On June 21, 1897, he was appointed by President William McKinley to the committee to codify the laws of the United States. He served in this capacity until his death in Jefferson on May 7, 1900 and was buried in Girard Cemetery.
The Culberson family legacy of service to Texas continued with the election of Charles Allen Culberson, son of David B. Culberson, as Attorney General, Governor and service as a US Senator. His health and opposition to the KKK finally led to the loss of his seat in 1922. Current US Representative John Culberson (of Texas' 7th congressional district) is a distant cousin to Charles Allen Culberson.