Ernest Wallace

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Ernest Wallace
Born (1906-06-11)June 11, 1906
Daingerfield, Morris County
Texas, United States
Died November 17, 1985(1985-11-17) (aged 79)
Lubbock, Lubbock County
Alma mater

East Texas State University
Texas Tech University

University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Historian
Years active 1942-1979
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse(s) Ellen Kegans Wallace (married 1926-his death)
Children One daughter
Parent(s) Thomas and Lula Barber Wallace
For nearly a decade after his retirement from the history faculty of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Wallace continued to research the southern Great Plains and in 1979 published The Howling of the Coyotes: Reconstruction Efforts to Divide Texas.

Ernest Wallace (June 11, 1906 – November 17, 1985)[1] was an historian of Texas, the American West and the southern Great Plains, who was affiliated with Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Historical works[edit]

His research focused particularly upon the Comanche Indians and the exploits of Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie in the Texas Panhandle. Wallace’s titles include Charles De Morse, Editor and Statesman (his doctoral dissertation, 1943) and The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains (with E.A. Hoebel, 1952),.[2] His other works include Ranald S. Mackenzie and the Texas Frontier (1964) and a related historical article "Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie's Expedition Across the South Plains" in Volume 38 of the West Texas Historical Association Yearbook.[3] In 1963, he and David M. Vigness co-edited Documents of Texas History. Other works are Texas in Turmoil (1965) and The Howling of the Coyotes: Reconstruction Efforts to Divide Texas (1979).[4] In 1970 and 1981, respectively, he co-authored the third and fourth editions of Texas: The Lone Star State with Rupert N. Richardson (former president of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene), Cary D. Wintz, and Adrian Anderson.[5]

Wallace edited the acclaimed Texas’ Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, written by Clayton W. Williams, Sr., father of the 1990 Republican gubernatorial nominee, Clayton Wheat Williams, Jr., who narrowly lost the race to the Democrat Ann Willis Richards. A paperback version was released in December 1982.[6]

Early years and education[edit]

Wallace was born to Thomas Wallace and the former Lula Barber in Daingerfield, the seat of Morris County in east Texas. His early education was procured in rural schools in Morris and neighboring Cass County. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce, then East Texas Teacher's College at Commerce. On April 10, 1926, Wallace wed the former Ellen Kegans (January 16, 1908–October 12, 1987),[1] a college classmate from Merkel in Taylor County near Abilene, and the couple had a daughter.[7]

Wallace began his teaching career in Linden in Cass County, where he was also a coach from 1927-1928. Thereafter until 1935, he was superintendent of the public school in the Cornett community in Cass County. From 1935-1936, he taught in Tulia in Swisher County south of Amarillo.[7]

University career[edit]

Wallace received his Master of Arts degree at then Texas Technological College in 1935 and began a Tech instructor of history in 1936. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1941, associate professor in 1943, and full professor in 1946. In 1942, he completed his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, under the supervision of Professor Walter Prescott Webb. From 1945 to 1949, he directed the Texas Tech summer school program and was the assistant dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 1945-1955. He was awarded fellowships in 1938 and 1952, respectively, by the UT Regents and the Ford Foundation. He served for a time as a consultant to the United States Department of Justice regarding suits filed against the national government by the Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, and Comanche tribes.[7]

From 1975-1979, he was consultant for The Great Chiefs and The Texans for Time-Life Books. In 1967, he was among the first four professors named a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, the highest recognition that the university bestows. He held the designation until his retirement in 1976. Horn was the first president of Texas Tech, having served from 1923-1932.[8] In 1954, Wallace was named a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and served as president of the association from 1977 to 1978. In 1968, the West Texas Chamber of Commerce presented Wallace with the "Cultural Achievement Award for Significant Contributions to Historical Literature". In 1969, he received the Minnie Stevens Piper Award. In 1971, the West Texas Museum Association presented Wallace with its Action Award for his "outstanding contributions to the enrichment and culture" of the South Plains.[7]

Among Wallace's colleagues at Texas Tech werer professors emeriti Paul H. Carlson and Alwyn Barr, who have also written extensively on Texas topics.

In 1975, Wallace received the Outstanding Teacher Award, which involved the establishment of the Ernest Wallace Scholarship in History, from the Texas Tech chapter of Phi Alpha Theta honor society. Though he suffered a heart attack in 1972, Wallace recovered to continue his academic duties and was still active professionally long after his retirement,[7] having maintained an office in Holden Hall, where the Tech history department is based.

[File:Wallace grave marker, Lubbock, TX IMG 4741.JPG|175px|right|thumb|Wallace grave monument at Resthaven Memorial Park in Lubbock, Texas]]

Wallace grave marker

In addition to the Texas State and West Texas historical associations, Wallace was active in the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, the Western Historical Association, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, and the Texas Association of Classroom Teachers.[7] The West Texas Historical Association offers the Ernest Wallace Grant for graduate student research at Texas Tech University.

He was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the Rotary International, and the Masonic lodge. Wallace died of a second heart attack at Methodist Hospital in Lubbock. He and Mrs. Wallace are interred there at Resthaven Memorial Park.[9] His scholarly papers are housed in the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ "West Texas Historical Association Publications". Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Ernest Wallace: An Inventory of His Papers ... at the Southwest Collections Library". Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Books by author Ernest Wallace". Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Texas’ Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-pecos". Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "H. Allen Anderson, "Ernest Wallace"". Texas State Historical Association, Handbook of Texas. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  8. ^ "List of Horn Professors at Texas Tech University". Retrieved September 13, 2009. The next historian at Texas Tech so honored was Allan J. Kuethe, selected in 1990.
  9. ^ Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, November 18, 1985
Preceded by
Dan E. Kilgore
President of the Texas State Historical Association

Ernest Wallace

Succeeded by
F. Lee Lawrence