History

Big Foot was a Texas Ranger: The Legendary Big Foot Wallace

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Big Foot Wallace was William Alexander Anderson Wallace, who got his nickname for having exactly what you think… big feet. According to Texas State Historical Association Wallace stood over six-feet tall and weighed about 240 pounds. His feet measured over 11 inches, which isn’t large today, but it was considered big in the 19th century. Wallace was believed to be a direct descendant of the clan from which William Wallace originated, and he fought with the courage of a highlander. He would become a soldier, Texas Ranger, and one of the most remarkable figures in Texas history.

Wallace was born in Virginia in 1817, he but traveled to Texas to avenge his cousin and brother who were killed in the Goliad massacre in 1836.

In 1842, Big Doot had his first battle against General Adrian Woll’s invasion in San Antonio. He also volunteered for expeditions against Mexico such as Somervell and Mier Expeditions. While serving with the Texan military force Big Foot was captured and imprisoned in Perote Prison in Vera Cruz. He served hard time for two years but was released to return to Texas in 1844.

Big Foot was a Texas Ranger: The Legendary Big Foot Wallace

Photo: @FotoArtist via Twenty20

When Wallace had paid Mexico back in blood for killing his family members, he became a Texas Ranger under John Coffee (Jack) Hays. After fighting with the rangers in the Mexican war, Wallace became a captain of his own ranger company. They fought mostly Indians and border bandits. Wallace remained a Texas Ranger until the start of the Civil War.

In his later years Wallace became a legendary stage driver. He fought off Indians while delivering mail on the dangerous San Antonio-El Paso route. After many years of fighting, the state of Texas granted him land by the Medina River in exchange for his service. Wallace never married, but he lived out the remainder of his days telling passerby’s his many exciting tales.

One tale he is most famous for, according to history.com, was the time his stagecoach was robbed by Indians. He escaped, but he had to walk through the desert on his route to El Paso. Wallace claimed when he finally found a house he ate 27 eggs there, and then went into town to eat what he called a “real meal.”

In 1899, Wallace died and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery. If you visit his tombstone, you’ll see it is right next to Stephen F. Austin and it reads, “Big Foot Wallace.”