Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Texas Tales...!

Today I want to tell you about "Bigfoot" Wallace!

A real person, he became a living legend who would gladly spin a yarn for anyone interested, and more than likely the stories would be true! You have to love this guy!

Apr 3, 1817:
Texas Ranger "Big Foot" Wallace born

The legendary Texas Ranger and frontiersman "Big Foot" Wallace is born in Lexington, Kentucky.

In 1836, 19-year-old William Alexander Anderson Wallace received news that one of his brothers had been killed in the Battle of Goliad, an early confrontation in the Texan war of independence with Mexico. Pledging to "take pay of the Mexicans" for his brother's death, Wallace left Lexington and headed for Texas. By the time he arrived, the war was over, but Wallace found he liked the spirited independence of the new Republic of Texas and decided to stay.

Over six feet tall and weighing around 240 pounds, Wallace's physique made him an intimidating man, and his unusually large feet won him the nickname "Big Foot." In 1842, he finally had a chance to fight Mexicans and joined with other Texans to repulse an invasion by the Mexican General Adrian Woll. During another skirmish with Mexicans, Wallace was captured and endured two years of hard time in the notoriously brutal Perote Prison in Vera Cruz before finally being released in 1844.

After returning to Texas, Wallace decided to abandon the formal Texan military force for the less rigid organization of the Texas Rangers. Part law-enforcement officers and part soldiers, the Texas Rangers fought both bandits and Indians in the vast, sparsely populated reaches of the Texan frontier. Williams served under Ranger John Coffee Hays until the start of the Civil War in 1861. Opposed to secession but unwilling to fight against his own people, Williams spent most of the war defending Texas against Indian attacks along the frontier.

During his many years in the wilds of Texas, Wallace had hundreds of adventures. Once, Indians attacked Wallace while he was working as a stage driver on the hazardous San Antonio-El Paso route. He escaped with his life but the Indians stole his mules, leaving him stranded in the Texas desert. Forced to walk to El Paso, Wallace later claimed he ate 27 eggs at the first house he encountered after his long journey, then he went into town to have a "real meal."

In his later years, Wallace decided he had enough of life as a fighter and adventurer. In exchange for his loyal service, the state of Texas granted him land along the Medina River and in Frio County in the southern part of the state. Always happy to regale listeners with highly embellished tales of his frontier days, Wallace became a contemporary folk hero to the people of Texas. As one of his admirers concluded, Wallace was the perfect symbol of "old-timey free days, free ways, and free land."

Wallace died in 1899 and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

Whenever you find a story like this, you have to be careful. Many times there are multiple versions of the facts, and you need to research all of them to see which one is closest to the truth. Makes for some good reading, that's for sure!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning, because it's trying to rain again. A cold front is supposed to be moving in!


BBC said...

No woman?

Sixbears said...

"Facts" get pretty slippery when investigating the life and times of a man known for his tall tales.

Gotta love those larger than life characters.

Anonymous said...

Definitely sounds like someone who didn't care to let grass grow under his feet - I've heard the name before, but did not know of his many adventures. He had an interesting life.

Ben in Texas said...

Seems to me I've seen the historical marker about him somewhere, but...

It took some larger than life Big Men to tame Texas back then.

Thanks professor.

HermitJim said...

Hey BBC...
Seems like he probably had an Indian wife, which wasn't uncommon back then!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Sixbears...
Boy, you got that right! The telling of a true story can really grow in the telling!

That's the trouble with history. Very few eye witnesses!

Thanks for coming by today, Sixbears!

Hey Anon 7:32...
I think there were a lot of "free spirits" back then! Good thing, too...as they were the ones that did most of the trail breaking!

I really appreciate the visit this morning!

Hey Ben...
I think you're right about that, buddy!

Real men were needed and some did show up!

Probably did see his marker. Lots of them around your area!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

JOJO said...

Really liked this story. Thank You as always.

I bet you get that cold front tomorrow we have it now. 1 day a/c next day heater. But a nice hot cup of coffee will work.

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
You are certainly welcome, sweetie!

I don't mind a little cool weather as long as it doesn't get too cold!

Spoiled, I guess!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Sometimes real true stories of the early days in Texas are better than most fiction about it. This is one of those stories.