Past Treasure of the Month – April 2012
The Rosenberg Library presented Texas Heroes: An Instructive Game as the April Treasure of the Month. The card game was produced in 1908 and was donated to the library by its creator, Mrs. Sally Trueheart Williams of Galveston, more than 100 years ago.
Sally Trueheart Williams (1871 – 1951) was the daughter of Henry M. Trueheart (1832 – 1914) and Annie Vanmeter Cunningham (1845 – ?). Williams’s paternal grandfather, John Overton Trueheart, was a well known lawyer, and some of her ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. Her father, Henry Trueheart, was born in Virginia and came to Galveston in 1845. He was appointed tax assessor for Galveston County in 1857 and held the post for ten years. With the onset of the Civil War, Trueheart joined the Confederate Army (he achieved the rank of Captain), and fought in the Battle of Galveston in 1863; he was subsequently wounded in a skirmish near Orange Courthouse in Virginia. He married Annie Vanmeter Cunningham of West Virginia in 1866, and the couple had five children. Henry Trueheart served as a member of the Galveston School Board for twenty-five years and ran a successful real estate business.
His daughter, Sally Trueheart, married Albert Sidney Williams, also from a notable Galveston family, in February 1895. With such a fascinating genealogy, it is hardly surprising that Sally Trueheart Williams took an interest in history. She was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Colonial Dames, and she had a passion for education. She founded and chaired the history committee of the Texas Federation of Women’s clubs. Additionally, Williams developed and copyrighted an educational trivia card game in 1907 and called it Texas Heroes: An Instructive Game. It was dedicated to the children of Galveston.
Texas Heroes covered a wide variety of topics related to the history of the Lone Star State. Its questions ranged from obscure trivia about important people (Who was “Three-legged Willie”?), to geography (What city was founded in 1838 by Michel B. Menard?), and literature (Who was the author of the first book about Texas?). The game was used widely in schools throughout the state to help teach Texas History. It was endorsed by then – superintendent of Galveston City Public Schools, John W. Hopkins; State Superintendent, R.B. Cousins; and history professor at the University of Texas, George Garrison.
Sally Trueheart Williams not only celebrated Texas’ rich history, but also fought to improve its future. She was a fierce advocate for education and belonged to a number of community organizations. She was a charter member of the Equal Suffrage club, the Wednesday Club, First Presbyterian Church, and the American Red Cross.
The Trueheart family papers are housed at the Galveston and Texas History Center on the fourth floor of the Rosenberg Library. Sally Trueheart Williams’ papers consist of her notes from DAR meetings and the journal she kept while attending the New Orleans Exposition with her father in 1885.
Oh, and before you go off to Google those questions — Robert M. Williamson was known as “three-legged Willie”, Galveston was the city founded by Menard in 1838, and Cabeza de Vaca wrote the first book about Galveston.
Note: Sally Trueheart Williams was the mother of Marjorie Trueheart Williams. A meeting room in the Rosenberg Library is dedicated to Marjorie and her husband, John W. McCullough.