Vintage Austin: William A. A. (Bigfoot) Wallace

Photo Credit: Austin Public Library

William A. A. Wallace, better known as "Bigfoot" Wallace, was a legendary figure in the history of Texas and the Texas Rangers. Wallace earned the nickname "Bigfoot" due to his large shoe size, which was said to be around a size 14, but the name stuck because of his imposing stature and larger-than-life personality.

Born on April 3, 1817, in Lexington, Virginia, it's believed he came to Texas to "take payout of the Mexicans" for killing a brother and a cousin in the Goliad Massacre. He later told John C. Duval that he believed the matter had been settled.

Wallace spent some time farming near La Grange but decided that wasn't for him. He then came to Austin, thought there were too many people, and continued on to San Antonio. Eventually he joined the Texas Rangers, serving as a scout and later leading his own team of Rangers. The Rangers were responsible for protecting settlers, tracking down outlaws, and defending the frontier from Native American attacks. Wallace was known for his skills in tracking and apprehending criminals and outlaws. Later in his career, he was tasked with delivering the mail from San Antonio to El Paso, accompanied by five escorts for added protection. Several attacks occurred on the round trip journey, some resulting the in the lose of mules and men.

In his later years, Wallace enjoyed a quiet existence in Frio County. He is now buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

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