Lee Clewis Family
William Stephen Johnston was born July 25, 1846 in County Louth, Ireland and arrived in Texas in January 1868. On December 16, 1869 he married Hannah Jane Durant in Leon County. Bethel Durant, Jr. had moved his family to Leon County from Horry County,South Carolina about 1855. At one time the Durants had owned a good deal of land near what is now Myrtle Beach but Bethel was the youngest of 6 children and chose to move to greener pastures. I remember great-grandmother Johnston tang me that she lived within sound of the seas but never saw it. Her maternal grandfather had drowned before she was born and she was seven when the family moved to Texas. W.S. Johnston was with the I. &G.N. Railroad and brought his family and his wife’s father to Grapeland about 1887. Hannah Durant Johnston and her father were charter members of the Grapeland Methodist Church and before her death in 1940; she was the last surviving charter member. The children of William Stephen Johnston and Hannah Durant Johnston were John Durant who married Owena Sadler in 1891; Sarah Ann married Marion Lee Clewis in 1896; Mary Virginia married Rev. J.M. Perry in 1898 (Rev. Perry was a Methodist minister and an early pastor in Grapeland); William Stephen married Clara Bell McGehee in 1926; Lillie married Sam E. Howard, Jr. in 1908; and Wood (never married). Several children died in early childhood. Marion Lee Clewis was the son of H. Marion and Matilda Denson Clewis. His grandfather, George Clewis, moved his family to Anderson Countyfrom Georgia about 1850. His mother was a granddaughter of Thomas Denson who was one of the signers of the petition for the formation of Houston County. Orphaned at an early age, he was for a time in the grocery business before entering the tailoring business in the early 1900’s. He sold his tailoring business and retired in 1948. Mr. Lee–as he was known to most people around Grapeland–was an avid gardener. He kept all of us in fresh vegetables most of the summer and always had plenty to share. Lee and Sarah Clewis reared five children in Grapeland. Arnold Steven married Lillian McMurrey on August 12, 1923; Thelma Lee married Harry Richards on June 30, 1923; Dorothy married Collin Aldrick Lockfield on December 15, 1923; Mary Lena married Frank Tooke on September 15, 1931; and Marion Leon (twin to Lena) married Alice Rose Mainer on May 19, 1939. Arnold Clewis was also in the tailoring business in Crocket and Baytown before returning to Grapeland to work with his father. In 1941 he was appointed postmaster and held that position from January 1, 1942 until he retired on December 18, 1964. Active in civic affairs, he was a longtime member of the Grapeland Masonic Lodge (at one time was Worshipful Master) and a charter member of the Lions Club.
Arnold and Lillian Clewis had one daughter, Betty Jane, who married William Montgomery Wilkins on October 8, 1955. Sam and Lillie Howard reared nine children in Grapeland. Mary Sam married 0. C. (Baker) Hallmark on May 12, 1929; Hannah (Pete) married Ira Rials on September 8, 1935; One (Snooks) married Monty Fan on March 9, 1941; George Herman (never married); William Earl (Bill) married Lois Lively; Stephen Edgar married Dorothy Barnes; Joe married Pantha Kate Edwards on December 15, 1946; Jean (twin to Joe) married Jord L. Hoffman on April 24, 1943; and Leila Joyce married George Ritter on October 5, 1951.