Tejano History

1850 Big Foot Wallace

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       Wallace was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1817. When he learned that a brother and a cousin had been shot down in the Goliad Massacre he set out for Texas to “take pay out of the Mexicans”, years later he confessed that he believed the account had been squared.

       Wallace was a magnificent physical specimen. In his prime he stood six feet two inches in his moccasins, and weighed 240 pounds without surplus fat. Wallace fought at the battles of Salado Creek, Hondo River, and Mier. Some of his most graphic memories were of his experiences in Perote Prison after having survived Black Bean Incident. Wallace later participated in the Mexican-American War Battle of Monterrey and the Comanche Wars.

       In the 1850s Wallace commanded a ranger company of his own, fighting border bandits as well as native Americans. He was so expert at trailing that he was frequently called upon to track down runaway slaves trying to get to Mexico. He drove a mail hack from San Antonio to El Paso, and on one occasion, after losing his mules to Comanches, walked to El Paso and ate twenty-seven eggs at the first Mexican house he came to-before going on to town for a full meal.

       During the Civil War he helped guard the frontier against Comanches. At one time Wallace had a little ranch on the Medina River on land granted him by the state of Texas. The later years of his life were spent in South Texas in the vicinity of a small village named Bigfoot. He never married. He was a mellow and convivial soul who liked to sit in a roomy rawhide-bottomed chair in the shade of his shanty and tell over the stories of his career. Wallace was personally honest but liked to stretch the blanket and embroider his stories. Wallace died on January 7, 1899, and shortly thereafter the Texas legislature appropriated money for moving his body to the Texas State Cemetery.