Tidbits of Shelby County History
History of James Truit Family

In today’s article I will try to share some information on the James Truit/Truitt family of Shelby County. James playeda very important part in the early history of this county. He has many descendants still living in the county. This history is from an article written in The Champion on May 24, 1973. It was written by Press Stevens with many corrections and additions made by Thomas Julian Taylor.

James Truit, oldest son of Levi and Susannah Morgan Truit, was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina (Asheville area) October 23, 1795, and died in Shelby County, Texas, June 11, 1870. He served his county in North Carolina as sheriff for about 10 years. He married Sarah Hall (July 29, 1796 – June 3, 1848) on the 23rd of January 1817 in Burke County, N.C. and was the father of ten children, namely:  Alfre M. (1817-1864), married Susan E. Todd; Andrew J. (1819-??); Mary, who married Julius Garrett; Sarah Caroline, who married L.H. Stephens; Levi Marion (1827-1905), married Louisiana Morris; Joshua Hall (1839-1916); Susan (1832-??), who died in North Carolina, Clarissa (1834-1899), married G. H. Stephens who died June 14, 1864 in the Confederate Army after the Battle of Mansfield; Cynthia L. (1836-1926), married Robert H. Richardson (1826-1857); then to E.J. Rushing; James M. (1839-1911) married Mary Redditt.

The Truit family left North Carolina in the fall of 1838 and entered Texas on March 3, 1839, at Pendleton Ferry. All during the period of traveling Mrs. Sarah Truit was not only helping with her children by was pregnant with child. Most of the trip was made by boat as they traveled on the Tennessee River and came down the Mississippi River, then up the Red River to Natchitoches, moving overland with the ox teams they had brought along. They lived on a rented place in San Augustine County in 1839 where James M. Truit was born on June 24, 1839. Later they moved to the Ashton Community in Shelby County late that year. They lived in the Ashton area until the Fall of 1840 and bought the place surrounding the present Truit Cemetery from a Mr. Crane. They resided there until both James and Sarah Hall died.

James Truit was ever active in the affairs of his country. He served as sheriff in his county in North Carolina before migrating to Texas. He also served in the 1st and 2nd Legislature (1846 and 1847) as Congressman of the Republic of Texas, as State Senator in the 4th (1852) 6th (1856), 7th (1858) and the 11th (1866) Legislature. His son, A.M. Truit served as State Senator in the 3rd Legislature (1850), and James Truit and one of his descendants, Wardlow Lane, are the  only ones from this District to serve more than eight years in the Senate.

Alfred M. Truit, James’ oldest son, was the outstanding member of the family. Alfred served  in the  military forces of North Carolina in moving some Indian tribes to the West. This was the reason Sheriff Lew Allen put him in command of the Sheriff Forces during the Regulators and Moderators War. He recruited two companies of volunteers for Hays Regiment inn 1846 for the Mexican War. Alfred served as a major in the regiment and was in a number of important battles, including Veracruz and Cerro Cordo. He had mercantile businesses at Willow Grove and Old Buena Vista, as well as accumulating large tracts of land. He contracted to clean out Sabine River from Logansport to Orange. His brother. Joshua Hall Truit, was overseer of the job which was done by Negro slaves recruited from plantations in Louisiana. This project took about a year (1856). On April 12, 1862, Alfred enlisted as a captain in the A.M. Truit Company, Randal’s Regiment of the Texas Lancers, Confederate Army, and served in this capacity until promoted to the rank of brigadier in the quartermaster where he served until he resigned in 1863 on account of health. He had contracted tuberculosis during the war and died about a year after he resigned.

A.M. Truit married Susan E. Todd of Shelbyville and they had four children. The sons were Jack (John H.) and Jim (James W.) and both were attorneys and founders of the Center Champion that was established in 1877. The daughters married Morris and Johnston. A. M. Truit and wife, Susan, are buried in the Truit Cemetery.

Andrew Jackson Truit, second son of James and Sarah Truit, was born in 1819 in North Carolina and moved with the family to Texas. He had an active role in the Moderators Forces during the Regulators and Moderators War, and it is said that in 1844 he killed one of the first men (Mr. Howell Hudson-buried in Jackson Cemetery) in battle during the struggle. Later he made the Gold Rush of 1849 to California.

Mary M. Truit, born in 1822, was the oldest daughter of the family. She married Julius Garrett. They spend their lives in Shelby County and reared a large family. Among the many descendants of this family are the Harrises, Fonvilles, District Judge Wardlow Lane, Same Lane, Crawfords and Garretts. Mary M. and Julius Garrett are buried in the Truit Cemetery.

Sarah Caroline Truit, born in 1824, was the second daughter. She married L.H. Stephens and they moved to Tarrant County, Texas in 1855. Later they moved to Amarillo. They had two sons – John Hall served as Congressman from the 13 District of Texas for twelve terms. James Truit became a medial doctor and practiced medicine for many years.

Levi Marion Truit, born in 1827, was married to Louisiana Morris. They spend their entire married life in the Truit Community. He operated a store and was Justice of Peace for about forty years. They reared a large family.  Levi Marion served as Captain in the Confederate Army (1st Reg. Texas Lancers-Col H. Randal). L. M. and Lou are buried in the Truit Cemetery.

Joshua Hall Truit (1829-1916) was born in North Carolina, as were all the other members of the James Truit family, except J.M. who was born in San Augustine County, Texas, on June 24, 1839. J.H. Truit served in the Moderators in the unpleasant civil war in Shelby County in 1843 and 1844. (Note: theModerator/Regulator warperiod was from 1839-1844). His brother. A.M. Truit was designated to take charge of the Sheriff Forces (the Moderators) and they were engaged in two minor battles. One battle was at Old Cedar Yards (Flat Fork areas between Center and Tenaha) where Andres Jackson Truit killed one of the first men (Mr. Howell Hudson) of the war. The body was hauled away on a slide to the present Jackson Cemetery as his mother lived near the spot where he was buried. It was the first grave in that cemetery. Another battle was fought in the canebrakes near Shelbyville.

Note: The remainder of the article will be shared next week.