CLEMENTINA BARTLETT MILLETT'S REMINISCENCES
This article was printed in the Houston [Texas] Chronicle
on Sunday, November 12, 1905, in columns 2 and 3 of page 22, section 1.
A paraphrased reprint is in the San Antonio [Texas] Express,
Sunday February 15, 1906, in column 3 of page 22,
in a feature entitled "Department of History."
Some of the facts as reported are not correct.
The most obvious error is the statement, in the final paragraph,
that her great grandfather, Joshua Bartlett,
was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.
Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.
Material in brackets was added for clarity.
MEMORIES OF PIONEER DAYS
Fort Worth Woman Recalls Inci-
dents of Mexican War.
Mrs. Clementina Millett, Aged Ninety
Years, Retains Vivid Impressions
of Incidents in Early History.
Special to The Chronicle.
Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 11—Mrs. Clementina Millett of this city is as truly a survivor of the Mexican war [Texas Revolution] as the old heroes who fought in the ranks. She is 90 years of age and retains a clear memory of the stirring times when Texas was achieving her independence. Mrs. Millett, who is probably the oldest living white woman in Texas, is also one of the oldest residents of the state, having come here in one of the original colonies brought to the Southwest by Stephen Austin.
She was born in Knoxville, Tenn., but moved to Illinois with her parents. With her father and mother Mrs. Millett and a party of 40 pioneers made the trip overland from Illinois to Texas, arriving here in 1832.
Her father, Jesse Bartlett, had already achieved fame for military exploits in the Seminole Indian war, being given the rank of major by Gen. Jackson for bravery in action. In 1833 the subject of this sketch was married to Samuel Millett, who came to Texas from Maine upon his graduation from Bowdoin College. With her husband she moved to Grimes county, where she lived during the Mexican war, excepting for a brief time in which the families were sent ahead by the troops while the fate of Texas lay in the balance before Santa Anna's troops.
Just prior to this temporary flight, Major Bartlett, while out scouting with a number of men, came across the survivors of Goliad, wandering without clothing and half famished in the brush. Dividing their clothing with the men who had been left stripped for dying, they brought them to the Bartlett home, where Mrs. Millett, together with their members of the family, spent the succeeding day tearing up sheets and all sorts of material to provide clothing for the men.
With the retreat of the family, an endeavor was made to keep the weakened survivors with the women and children concealed by friendly Indians a short distance from San Jacinto, where Houston elected to cast the final die. The men, however, declared a firm determination to have a fling at their captors, who had left them for dead, and the women and children were left together with a few wounded men. Just before the battle Mrs. Millett, then a mother, with her sister, wandered from the camp to the Brazos [sic; she probably meant the San Jacinto River or, more likely, Buffalo Bayou]. Here the two women took up their station at the stream with ears placed to the ground, Indian fashion, enabling them to hear plainly the sounds of battle.
"We took a position on a pine log extending over the bank of the river," said Mrs. Millett, in describing the event, "fully determined that if the Mexicans were victorious and appeared we would end it all by plunging in the stream. Soon, however, we heard the glorious news of victory."
Concerning the battle of San Jacinto Mrs. Millett gives some interesting information. The survivors of Goliad, she declares, burning under the recent outrage suffered by their comrades, shot and left stripped on the plains, were first to discover the personality of Santa Anna and were, with difficulty, restrained from wreaking vengeance upon the leader whose safety was later so instrumental in effecting the final independence of Texas.
Following the battle[,] with her husband she moved to Seguin, taking up their residence upon the headright of 640 acres granted to Mr. Millett and others who participated in the battle. Shortly after the death of her father occurred, a sudden attack from pneumonia preventing the signing of his name to the articles of independence for which purposes he had gone to Washington, then the capital, when taken ill.
Her husband died in 1863 at Seguin. Mrs. Millett subsequently went to Austin, and located near the present site of the capitol. She later moved to San Antonio and finally to Fort Worth, where she has resided many years.
Mrs. Millett recalls with accuracy the stirring times in Texas. Her knowledge of Texas history is wonderful and she does not hesitate to take issue with the historians where her personal knowledge shows them to be in error.
The celebrated grass fight at the opening of the war in 1835, she says, has not been properly recorded, the assertion that the Texans had no men killed, being an error. Col. Dick Andrews, she says, fell in this engagement, the famous one in which the Mexicans advanced behind donkeys, carrying grass and being fired upon by the Texans.
Mrs. Millett tells some interesting anecdotes of the fight at San Jacinto, her father at that time being quartermaster of Houston's army. Detailing with wonderful power of description, the detail of Deaf Smith to cut off the Mexican retreat, her eyes blazed as she described Houston leading his men with the declaration that they could not be harmed, falling the next moment, wounded, and later calling off the infuriated men from the pursuit of the fleeing troops. Passage of the river upon the bodies of dead men and horses, she declared, was possible at the end of one day's carnage.
Mrs. Millett is qualified to membership in the Daughters of [the American] Revolution—her great grandfather, Joshua Bartlett, being a signer of the declaration of independence
Two obituaries of Mrs. Millett, published at her death in 1907 in newspapers in San Antonio and Dallas, are transcribed here.