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C.T. Rather House

Charles Taylor Rather, born June 20, 1855, in Huntsville, Texas, was the son of George Washington Rather and Mary Chamberlain Womack Seay Rather of Tennessee who came to Texas in 1852. He graduated from Austin College in Huntsville, came to Gonzales County when he was just sixteen years old and lived with his sister in Leesville. About 1878 he moved to Belmont, began work as a store clerk and later opened his own store there. He was an outstanding businessman and his ventures were always successful. On September 29, 1880, he married Ella Gurtrude Grubbs in Belmont. Ella was born in July, 1861, in Georgia. Charles operated his store in Belmont for about ten years before moving to Gonzales. Blessed by continued success, he became one of the largest land owners and bankers in this part of Texas. He was Chairman of the Board of the Farmer's National Bank for ten years before retiring due to ill health. Rather was one of the primary organizers of the Gonzales Cotton Oil and Manufacturing Company, which opened in 1899, and he served as manager and president of the company until his death. He was heavily involved in development of the Gonzales Cotton Mill, which opened in 1900, and was on the original board of directors. He was also a part owner of the Randle-Rather building located on the north side of Confederate Square in downtown Gonzales. In 1892 Rather had Louisiana cypress and Bastrop white pine carted cross-country and employed William H. Kishbaugh to build his home. The home is a Victorian rendition of the early Texas "dog-trot" or "dog-run" house and is built on part of the original grounds of the Gonzales College. The many exceptional Victorian features of the house have been carefully preserved. The longleaf pine paneling, window and door casements, as well as the intricate hardwood floors, still gleam. A brick cistern on the back veranda still operates and original Gonzales brick sidewalks continue to grace the large lawn.
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