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WALLISVILLE, TEXAS

Partly Included in Wallisville Reservoir
Townsite on the National Register of Historic Places

Texas Ghost Town
Chambers County, Gulf Coast / East Texas
I-10 and the east side of the Trinity River
About 20 Miles E of Baytown
42 Miles W of Beaumont
11 Miles NW of Anahuac

Population 452 (2000)

Wallisville, Texas Area Hotels > Baytown Hotels
US post office in Wallisville Texas
Wallisville Texas 77597
TE photo 2003
More Texas Post Offices

History in a Pecan Shell

The town dates from 1825 when Elisha Henry Roberts Wallis settled just east of what would become known as Wallisville. After San Jacinto, Mexican Dictator Santa Anna spent the night at the Wallis family home on his way to Washington, D.C.

Wallis’ sons platted the town in 1854 and three years later the community was granted a post office. It served as the Chambers County seat from 1858 through 1908.

In 1858 Wallisville tried to lure the railroad to pass through the town, but it chose Liberty instead. Wallisville did have a steamboat landing, however, which provided contact with the outside world.

The Chambers County courthouse was burned by arsonists in 1875. – the same year the community was struck by a hurricane. A substantial replacement was finished in 1886 and nine years later the town built a jail and erected a tower for the sole purpose of hanging criminals.

A newspaper valled “the Age” was first published in 1897 and was the first for Chambers County. In the opening days of the 20th century the town had all essential businesses including a skating rink and an ice cream parlor.

The principal industries of Wallisville were shipbuilding and lumbering until a 1915 hurricane seriously curtailed both.

Neighboring Anahuac sought a county seat election in 1906 and it was approved the following year but contested by Wallisville. In August of 1908 the county records were transferred to Anahuac. (See Wallisville Goes Hog Wild by Wanda Orton)

In 1979 the Wallisville Heritage Park was organized and five years later the townsite was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Photographer's Note:
Wallisville Heritage Park
It's just a short distance (less than 1/2 a mile) from the original townsite. The foundation of the jail is still supposed to be at the original site. The old schoolhouse is just to the right of the post office building and Wallisville historical marker.
Wallisville TX Marker
Old Wallisville historical marker on post office grounds
TE photo 2003
Historical Marker Text

Site of Old Wallisville

Settled in 1825 by Elisha H. R. Wallis, a pioneer from Georgia, on land in grant of Joseph Vehlein, a contractor working to place colonists in Texas.

Chambers County was organized in 1858; Wallisville was made county seat. A post office was granted in 1859, and town became a thriving retail market.

Many county records were burned in a courthouse fire in 1875. A brick and stone courthouse, with a jail and an unique hanging tower (for executions) was completed in 1886. By 1900 the town had 728 people, a shipyard, a lumber yard, a cotton gin, a skating rink, several stores and an export house. By land, there was daily hack service to Liberty; and sloops made regular runs from here to Galveston.

Chambers County's first newspaper, "Wallisville Age," was published here. the town remained county seat until 1908 when the courthouse was moved to Anahuac after the famous "County Seat Hog War" over issue of letting animals roam at large. In that year Wallisville lost few people, but in 1915 a storm almost destroyed the town.

Part of the historic townsite is now included in Wallisville Reservoir, constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
(1969)
Wallisville TX - 1869 Schoolhouse
"This restored 1869 school house, now sitting in the Wallisville Heritage Park, served as the courthouse after the county's first courthouse burned down in 1875." - Terry Jeanson, October 2010

The 1886 Chambers County Courthouse -
Wallisville, Texas

"The 1886 courthouse was constructed of brick and stone in the Renaissance Revival style by contractor August Baumbach. A brick jail was built nearby in 1894 with a tower for the gallows that was never used. The design of the jail was almost exactly the same as the historic 1892 Crockett County jail still standing in Ozona, TX. A dispute over roaming livestock in Wallisville, known as the "County Seat Hog War," led to an election that relocated the county seat to Anahuac in 1908. A 1915 hurricane almost destroyed Wallisville and severely damaged the courthouse and jail buildings. The 1894 jail was torn down and the 1886 courthouse was finally demolished in 1948." - Terry Jeanson
Wallisville Texas - 1886 Chambers County Courthouse

1886 Chambers County courthouse in Wallisville
Photo courtesy of the Wallisville Heritage Park.

Wallisville Texas - 1886 Chambers County Courthouse
A collector's plate in the current courthouse shows the 1894 Chambers County jail (top left) and the 1886 Chambers County courthouse (bottom right.)
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, October 2010
Wallisville TX Cenotaph
TE photo 2003
Historical Marker Text
Wallisville Cemetery

Early settler Albert Gallatin Van Pradelles (1808-1884) set aside land at this site for the burial of his grandson, William M. "Willie" Chambers, who died on his third birthday on December 10, 1878. the land surrounding the grave was established as a legal cemetery in county deed records the following month. Field notes by county surveyor Daniel B. Wallis along with other deed work set up a total of sixteen family lots in January 1879. Several locally prominent families were among those who purchased the original sixteen plots, including the van Pradelles, Chambers, Gordon, Wooten, Sisson, Mayes, and LaFour families. In 1884 a. G. van Pradelles became the fourth known burial in the cemetery he established. Among the stately monuments and shade trees can be found the tombstones of numerous elected county officials and pioneer settlers.

The Wallisville Cemetery has been expanded several times since Van Pradelles laid out the site in 1879. The cemetery land remained in the van Pradelles family for over 100 years until 1986, when a descendant entrusted it to the Wallisville Cemetery Association for care and administration.
1991

Chambers County 1907 Postal Map

1907 Chambers County Postal Map showing Wallisville
(Above "A" in "CHAMBERS")
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Wallisville, Texas
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Wallisville is featured in T. Lindsay Baker's "More Ghost Towns of Texas."

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