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  • Writer's pictureDonna Hechler Porter

A Very Colorful Fellow: Clementine Allen and William "Hi" Truett

On the 20th of August 1839, a hot summer day no doubt, Lourany (Taylor-Lewis) Allen was delivered safely of a girl child she and her husband, John, named Clementine. This was their second child, although the couple had children from previous marriages.

Clementine grew up in Jasper County, and on 9 October 1856 in Jasper County she married William “Hi” Truett. The Truetts had moved to Texas between 1841 and 1843, and William, at the time of their marriage, was 23 years old, having been born on 22 December 1833/34 in Simpson County, Mississippi. Clementine was seventeen. They made their home in Jasper County.

Hi was a rather flamboyant character, with a taste for adventure and a tongue to tell the tales afterwards. Imogene Pulleine, in her book Ancestors & Descendants of John William Truett and Priscilla Grisby, states that Truett must have been a very colorful fellow as there were tales of his adventures and misadventures that survived into this era.

Despite Truett’s flare for the dramatic, the Civil War still found him as it did all the others. Six years after his marriage, on 3 July 1862, he enlisted in the Confederate forces at Sabine Pass in Co. B, Spaight’s Battalion Texas Volunteers along with his brother-in-law, John Allen. William may have enlisted with an intent to serve in the artillery.

On 1 June of the following year he was transferred to Company G, 13th Texas Cavalry. He must have served the duration of the war, although there are only a few records in his file in the National Archives. He is, however, found on a company muster roll dated Jan and Feb of 1864 in the last months of the war.

William apparently did not come home during the war except to see his family, and on several occasions, Clementine went to Sabine Pass to visit him. On one such visit, Pulleine relates the following:

Supposedly, he came home during the War Between the States to visit his family and his wife [Clementine] hid him in a flour barrel when their home was searched A few years ago, a neighbor remembered a story that his father had told him about two men, on horses, who “looked” for Hi and that Hi led his horse down into a ravine. The terrain was new to the men and their horses were disabled when they plunged into the ravine. (This alleged ravine is on property that was inherited by Imogene Hamilton from her father, John W. Truett, and it is fairly deep; however, unless it was like a thicket at that time . . .well, it is a tale which has survived almost into the 1990’s).

Sometime after the war, and by 1900, Hi and Clementine were living in Angelina County. They then moved to Orange County, Texas. On 9 August 1897, after 41 years of marriage, Clementine passed away.

Oddly enough, two months after her death, William married a second time to Mary Frances Allen. She subsequently died in 1908 after only nine years of marriage, and he married that same year, and a third time, to Rebecca Mundine in San Augustine County, Texas.

On 4 January 1921 William died at his home in Veatch, San Augustine County, Texas. He was buried in Coleman Cemetery, San Augustine County, Texas. There is a CSA marker in front of his grave.

Source: Porter, Donna Hechler, Metes & Bounds III: John McQueen and Nancy Crews, Children and Grandchildren.

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