Restoration of East Texas Landmark
A Morris County landmark in Jenkins, Texas is being restored for historic preservation by fourth and fifth generation descendants of Republic of Texas settlers, John Wingate and Elizabeth J. Robinson Truitt. The Truitt family is holding their annual reunion this Saturday, June 1 at noon at the Jenkins First Baptist Church.
The Truitts, with six of their children, migrated to Jenkins in 1840, after living in Etowah County, Alabama and DeKalb County, Tennessee. The Truitts selected a home site on a knoll and built a “dogtrot” log cabin similar to those they had experienced in rural Tennessee. The cabin had two eighteen foot square rooms, one with a sleeping loft above, separated by a twelve foot wide dogtrot hallway, with deep porches stretching the full length of the cabin front and back.
A decade ago, the Truitt Cousins Reunion Association gained ownership of the cabin, with sixty percent of the original structure still intact and in useable condition. Since then, the John Wingate Truitt Log Cabin Restoration and Preservation Association was formed and, with over 2,000 identified descendants of J.W. and E.J. Truitt, sought restoration guidance from the Texas Historical Commission in Austin and began raising restoration funds through grants and their annual Truitt Cousins’ Reunions.
The Texas Historical Commission has designated the John Wingate Truitt Log Cabin Site a State Archeological Landmark. For several years, the Truitt Association has benefitted from the efforts of the East Texas Communities Foundation of Tyler, Texas, to process and invest charitable gifts for the benefit of the restoration project. Mr. Phil Jonson of White Mountain Construction in Jenkins has performed the work to return the Truitt Log Cabin back to its original 1840 condition.
To this point, over $60,000 has been spent on the restoration efforts, and another $20,000 is needed to provide the rock masonry chimneys, water connections, security system and period furnishings.
The John Wingate Truitt Log Cabin Restoration and Preservation Association wants this piece of Texas archeological history to accurately reflect rural life in Northeast Texas during the period Texas was a Republic. They also want it to benefit future generations of students and historians from all across Northeast Texas. The association is interested in connecting with other agencies and historical groups that would help open the Truitt Log Home for tours and planned visits.