This structure was built principally of lumber salvaged from ruins of the Indianola home of Morgan steamship Captain Henry Shepard (1826-1879). After a hurricane destroyed Indianola in August 1886, the late captain's son-in-law, Francis Walter Bates (1854-1930), shipped the salvaged materials here by rail and reconstructed the house on this site. Completed in the fall of 1886, it was occupied by Bates, his wife Elizabeth Sheppard Bates (1857-1904), her sister Mrs. Jennie Sheppard Luther (1860-1938), and a brother Henry D. Sheppard (1870-1951).
Bates was a hardware merchant in Cuero, 1884 to 1930. He was a Mason, a Knight-Templar, and (1887 to 1914) a city Alderman greatly interested in the volunteer fire department.
H. D. Sheppard, for years the Cuero agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad, was a local business leader. After 1904 Mrs. Luther was mistress of the house. Another Sheppard brother, Joseph, with his wife, children, and grandchildren also frequented the house as part of the extended family. Altered and enlarged in 1925, this Victorian house remained in the Bates-Sheppard family until 1968.