Clement Letot, town founder and the only citizen of Dallas County to serve in the Crimean War, son of Sylvan and Colombe Letot, was born in Burgundy on October 22, 1836. There he learned the machinist's trade. His father and grandfather fought in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1854 he enlisted in the French navy and served as a machinist on a ship in the Black Sea during the Crimean War. He jumped ship in New York in 1860 and made his way to Chicago, where he worked for three years as a machinist. He then moved to La Salle County, Illinois, where he purchased a 640-acre farm on the Fox River near his parents and farmed for the next thirteen years. He married another French immigrant, Nathle (or Nathalie) Barnard, in May 1861. In December 1876 he sold the farm and traveled with his wife to Dallas County, Texas, where he eventually bought 1,200 acres, built a substantial residence, and established the town of Letot in northern Dallas County. He owned the general store, served as the postmaster, and built an interdenominational church that doubled as the schoolhouse. He had nine children. Two of his sons invented the two-row cotton planter, and one of his daughters married a member of the first Dallas school board. Letot died in Dallas in 1907 and was buried in the family cemetery.
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Sam Hanna Acheson, Dallas Yesterday, ed. Lee Milazzo (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1977). A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity, Vol. 1., by Philip Lindsley; Vol. 2., Selected Biography and Memoirs, ed. L. B. Hill (Chicago: Lewis, 1909). Rose-Mary Rumbley, "Fiery Frenchman: Clement Letot," Heritage News, Spring 1985.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 22, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
March 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: