Included in Wallisville Reservoir
Townsite on the National Register of Historic
Chambers County, Gulf
Coast / East
I-10 and the east side of the Trinity River
About 20 Miles
E of Baytown
42 Miles W of Beaumont
Miles NW of Anahuac
Population 452 (2000)
in a Pecan ShellThe
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.
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
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.
1979 the Wallisville Heritage Park was organized and five years later the townsite
was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
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
Wallisville historical marker on post office grounds|
TE photo 2003
Marker Text |
of Old WallisvilleSettled
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.
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."
Jeanson, October 2010|
The 1886 Chambers
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
1886 Chambers County courthouse in Wallisville
Photo courtesy of the Wallisville
collector's plate in the current courthouse shows the 1894 Chambers County jail
(top left) and the 1886 Chambers County courthouse (bottom right.) |
Jeanson, October 2010
Marker Text |
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.
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.
is featured in T. Lindsay Baker's "More Ghost Towns of Texas."|
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos
of their town, please contact
Chambers County Postal Map showing Wallisville
(Above "A" in "CHAMBERS")
Texas General Land Office