MITCHELL COUNTY, TEXAS
The TXGenWeb Project and The USGenWeb Project
The Biography of
D. W. Wallace
Perhaps one of the most interesting stories of the cow country is that of D.W. (80 John) Wallace , Negro, who lives three and a half miles south of the town of Lorain in Mitchell County. The "80" prefix to Wallace's name comes from the fact that he came into this section of West riding in the dust of the drag of a herd of Clay Mann's cattle which had burned on their sides the numeral 80 from backbone to belly.
Wallace was born in Victoria County of slave parents in 1860 and began drawing wages as a cowhand when fifteen years old. At seventeen he made a long ride from Victoria through Indian Country to the corners of Runnels and Taylor Counties near the present site of Buffalo Gap!
His first job was with the late Sam Gholson , Indian fighter and cowhand. He worked for Gholson one summer, then started with the N.U.N. Outfit. After staying with the N.U.N's for sixteen months, he then joined Clay Mann's outfit, which was locating South Texas cattle on a ranch near the present site of Colorado City. These were the first cattle to come into that section. Wallace was with the Mann's for fourteen years and during that time he saw every phase of open range work, trail drives to Kansas and later to railheads, Denison, Gainesville, and Ft. Worth.
He saw the T. and P. railroad laid in that section and Colorado City grow into a thriving city and cattle shipping point. Among the cattle barons whom Wallace worked for were Winfiled Scott , Gus O'Keefe , the Slaughters , Rush & Tillar , Sug Robertson , the Ellwoods of Spade Ranch fame, the managers and ranch bosses of Scotch and English owned ranches to the northeast.
In 1885 Wallace put his accumulated savings into the section of land on which he now lives and continued to ride with the outfits until the country passed from the cowmen to the stock farmer. He acted on hunches he had heard around camp fires and shipping pens, that the day of free grass and open range were practically over and any man who expected to stay in the cow business would be forced to buy and fence his land. Since that time he has added twelve and one half sections of good land to his holdings. He also has from five to six hundred white faced cattle on his grass land. Twelve hundred of these acres are planted annually in cotton and feed and a great per centage of the pasture land is subject to cultivation. He has an eight room ranch home with all modern appliances. His barns, lots and his corrals are of the best. Remarkable about Wallace is that he owns every foot of this land with no lien or mortgage on land or cattle or any thing else, and with no past due tax bills. He has not received government aid in any form nor has he signed wavers on his cotton crop. He did buy during the depression, two sections of land adjoining him, paying cash for them.
Wallace's family life has been equally successful. He was married in 1888 to a Miss Laura Owens of Navarro County. Four children were born to them, Mary Wallace Fowler , Fula Wallace Harris , Hettye V . and Carson Wallace . Mrs. Fowler has received a degree from Colored College in Texas and is married to a professor at Texas College, Tyler, Texas. The husband of Mrs. Eula Wallace Harris was the principal of Ross High School of Greenville, Texas, but he is now in the insurance business. Mrs. Harris will receive her M.A. degree sometime in 1937. Hettye V. Wallace teaches at Colorado, (Mitchell County) Texas and will receive her M.A. degree from the University of Chicago shortly. The son Carson Wallace , forty-five years of age, also college educated, looks after the Wallace cattle interests.
Wallace has been a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association for the past thirty years and attends its conventions whenever possible. He is well thought of throughout Mitchell County, a member of the organization of pioneers of that section and is a financial advisor for many of the white citizens. He is a typical reminder of the old West.
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