Johns, Clement Reed (1816–1886)

By: Lura N. Rouse

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

Clement Reed Johns, Indian fighter and politician, was born of Welsh-English parents in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on August 12, 1816. In 1836 he graduated from Jackson College, moved with his family to Texas, and began farming on the Red River. Between 1837 and 1845 he was active in the border conflicts that established the Texas claim to the Red River country. Under E. H. Tarrant, Johns rose to the rank of major and inspector of the Fourth Brigade in 1841. In 1840–41 he represented Red River County in the Fifth Texas Congress, where he secured legislation to clarify land titles in the Republic of Texas. In 1846 he settled on a farm on the Blanco River in Hays County, and in 1852 he married Amanda F. Durham of San Marcos. He was subsequently elected to the office of state comptroller in 1858, then reelected three times. While Sam Houston was governor, Johns argued with him over the administration of the comptroller's office. In 1861 he traveled to Washington to recover money owed to Texas by the federal government. On his return he found himself an ex officio member of the Texas State Military Board (see MILITARY BOARD OF TEXAS). Johns is reported to have been a lifelong Democrat and a Mason who never joined a church. He retired from public life in 1865, leased his farm to his former slaves, and moved with his wife and six children to Austin, where he established a real estate and collection agency. He died in Austin on July 30, 1886.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Lura N. Rouse, “Johns, Clement Reed,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995