Trueheart, James L. (1815–1882)

By: Kennard B. Copeland

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

James L. Trueheart (Truehart), Perote prisoner and diarist, son of George Washington and Fanny (Overton) Trueheart, was born on August 12, 1815, in Virginia. He moved to Texas in 1838 and settled at San Antonio, where he became clerk of the district court in 1841. When the entire court was captured in September 1842 by Mexican troops under Adrián Woll, Trueheart was taken to Mexico with other prisoners and incarcerated for two years. During the period he was held in Perote Prison he kept a diary that was edited by Frederick C. Chabot and published in 1934 as The Perote Prisoners. Trueheart reached Veracruz on his way back to Texas on March 29, 1844, and by September 1844 was again acting as district clerk. He also had a real estate business that represented eastern interests in San Antonio. He was elected county assessor and collector in October 1846, and in 1848 became county clerk, a post he held until 1850. He married Petra Margarita de la Garza on February 15, 1848. By the marriage he became owner of a tract on the San Antonio River on which was located San Francisco de la Espada Mission. He improved the land, built an irrigation system, and placed a number of families there on small farm plots. He died in San Antonio on November 30, 1882.

A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907).

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

Kennard B. Copeland, “Trueheart, James L.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995