Tidbits of Shelby County History
History of James Truit Family, part II
This is the second part of the history of the James Truit Family of Shelby County, Texas. This family played an important role in the early history of Shelby County and the Republic of Texas. 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.
Joshua Hall Truit (1829-1916) enlisted in the Confederate Army as a second lieutenant in Captain D.M. Short Company and served for two years. He was in the battle of Corinth, Iuka, Pea Ridge, Arkansas. After two years in the army, he was ordered back home by the government to see after mail contracts. (J.H. Hall served in the Moderators in the unpleasant civil war in Shelby County in 1843 and 1844. He enlisted in Shelbyville, May 12, 1847, in the Mexican War. His brother, A.M. Truit, took up two companies of volunteers (one of Moderators and the other of Regulators) for the First Texas Cavalry Regiment commanded by Col. John. C. Hays. Joshua served in CompanyE of this regiment. He was in several battles in this war, including Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo. Discharged, surgeon's certificate of disability- January 13, 1848. He was in this war and was gone almost 2 years.Joshua Hall Truit from 1840 and until his death in 1916 lived within a mile of the Truit home.)
J.H. Truit served as County Commissioner in 1866 when the county site was moved from Shelbyville to Center. He also served one term in the Texas Legislature in the 1860s. He set up a mercantile business in Logansport about 1870 and operated it until the late 1880s.
Joshua Truit was very active in promoting good churches and schools, and also in helping the less fortunate in the community. Most of his children were good citizens and served Shelby County and their communities well. Mr. Press Stevens stated that J.H. Truit, his grandfather, was also a patriot and a lover of his fellowman.
Joshua Hall Truit married Mary Jane Ross on December 2, 1852, and they had ten children, namely: Elizabeth (1855-1913), Mary Ellen (1858-1899), James W. (1861-(883), Josephine (1863-1951), Sam H. Truitt (1865-1944), Emaline (1869-??), Adaline (1871-1956), J.H. Truit, Jr. (1873-1961), R.A. Truit (1876-1935) and Noah Truit (1879-1931).
Susan Truit was born in 1832 and died in North Carolina as a young girl.
Clarrisa Truit (1834-1889), Press Steven’s grandmother on his father’s side, married G.H. Stephens who died in the Confederate Army on June 14, 1864, shortly after the Battle of Mansfield and is buried in that area. There were seven sons and one daughter that is good woman reared to be useful citizens. Six of the sons got enough education to become teachers in the public schools. Two of sons became medical doctors and one an attorney. The names of the sons are Albert J.; John; Sam H.; W.P., an MD; F.L; John H., an MD; and G.H. Jr., father of Press Stevens. The daughter, Cynthia, married Willie Fonville, Sr. and had one son. Clarrisa also reared two orphans – Willie Fonville and Bob Thompson. There were people of courage and were capable of taking care of themselves. Clarrisa is buried in the Truit Cemetery.
Cynthia L. Truit (1836-1926) first married to Robert H. Richardson, who was born in Tennessee in 1826 and who died in 1857, then married E.J. Rushing. R.H. Richardson served as a private in the Mexican War. Cynthia had one son by Richardson, named Fisher (F.O.B.) and Fisher is the father of Mrs. Evalena Richardson (Duke) Taylor of Center. Cynthia had a number of children by E.J. Rushing. Oscar J. Rushing is a grandson of the Rushing line and a number of grandchildren have filled important places in our state government. Richardson is buried in the Truit Cemetery by his in-laws on the Truit side..
James M. Truit (1839-1911) was the only member of the family born in Texas. He married Mary Redditt, and they had four daughters who lived to maturity. Laura (Larissa A.) married S.H. Truit(Note: son of Joshua Hall Truit) and was the mother of Dr. J.J. Truit and Brice R. Truit. Ruth L. married Joe Finley and they had three children. Mary married Wiggens, then Jess Ross; there were several children from this family. Violet married Phil Tucker and they had three children. James M. served in the Confederate Army for four years. He is buried in the Truit Cemetery.
George Harrison Stephens (1864-1936) and Adaline Truit (1871-1956), parents of Press Stevens, were the grandchildren of James Truit. They were noble people and struggled to better themselves and their community. They contributed the land for the present Pine Ridge Church and cemetery, as well as the land for the Pine Hill School. By their own efforts they were able to go to college and become teachers. George Stephens got his education at Asbury, Keatchie College, and finished at the University of Center. He started teaching in 1885 and quit in 1895 at Logansport. Adaline Truit Stephens early education was received in Raw Hide School, then she went to the University of Center in 1888-1889. She taught at Eagle Mill for a year and a half. She married George Stephens in December 1891 and joined his as teacher at Logansport. They began farming on Watery Creek in northeast Shelby County. Both are buried in the Truit Cemetery.
(Note: The membership drive for the Shelby County Historical Society is still in going on. If you haven’t joined for the 2023 year, please do so soon as this is the Museum’s main source of income for operating expenses. All utilities are nearly double since last year. We need your help.)