William A. A. Wallace
|William A. A. Wallace|
Wallace circa 1872
|Born||April 3, 1817
|Died||January 7, 1899
|Place of burial||Texas State Cemetery|
|Allegiance||Republic of Texas
|Service/branch||Texas Ranger Division|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
William Alexander Anderson "Bigfoot" Wallace (April 3, 1817 – January 7, 1899) was a famous Texas Ranger who took part in many of the military conflicts of the Republic of Texas and the United States in the 1840s, including the Mexican-American War.
Wallace was born in Lexington, Virginia. 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 large man at 6'2" and 240 pounds in his prime.
Wallace fought at the battles of Salado Creek, Battle of 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.
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. The Big Foot Wallace museum is a local museum dedicated to Wallace, and houses artifacts related to Wallace, as well as, those of the community. http://www.bigfoottx.com/page8.html
Larry McMurtry included a fictionalized version of Wallace in his Lonesome Dove prequel, Dead Man's Walk. In this book, Wallace is one of the Rangers who signs on with Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call to go on the Texas Santa Fe Expedition. After they are captured by Mexican authorities, they are made to draw beans to decide who will live or die, a method borrowed from the Mier Expedition. Unlike his real-life counterpart, Wallace in this story draws a black bean, and is executed. In the film, he is played by Keith Carradine.
Part of a series on the
|History of Texas|
- The adventures of Big-Foot Wallace, the Texas ranger and hunter, hosted by the Portal to Texas History
- William Alexander Anderson Wallace from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Lone Star Junction page on Bigfoot Wallace
Duval, John (1871). The Adventures Of Big-Foot Wallace: The Texas Ranger And Hunter (1871). Amazon: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1167217551. Retrieved Sep 10, 2010.