Stephen F. Austin State University

E. H. R. and Sally Wallis (May 2012)

By Kevin Ladd

The history of the Wallis family of Chambers County, Texas begins with the person of Elisha Henry Roberts Wallis who was born in 1781 in Burke County, Georgia. Although much is known about his life, the history of his forbears is shrouded in mystery.

Wallis was married on October 17, 1814 in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana to Miss Sarah Barrow, better known as "Sally,' one of several children to grace the household of Reuben Barrow Sr. and his second wife Mary Jane Johnson. Their marriage record provides us with the only link to the young man's parents. The document required both the groom and the bride to list the names of their parents, and his are listed as Frederick Wallis and Gilleny Roberts. Family tradition is that E.H.R. Wallis had three sisters: Leodocia, Chrischaney and Adelaide. Having entered those facts and tradi-tions into the record, we have told pretty much all we know on the subject.

E. H. R. Wallis served in the War of 1812, enlisting in 1814 in the 16th Infantry Regiment, Second Division at Opelousas. He served through the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

Sarah was nineteen years old at the time of her wedding, and her husband was thirty-three years of age - not an unusual age difference for that day and time. The young couple began a family soon thereafter, with their first child, Rachel, born in 1816. A second daughter, Martha, came along one year later. A third child, another girl named Eliza, was born in 1819. Their first son and fourth child, a boy named Elisha W. Wallis, was born in 1821. Some family records say the family was living in a small town called Pick Pea, Louisiana at the time of Rachel's birth in 1816. The town does not appear in any records for that time period. A fifth child, Julia Letitia, was born in 1823.

This, therefore, was the size of the Wallis family when they set out for Southeast Texas in the fall of 1824. By the time of their departure, Sally Wallis was expecting her sixth child and was three or four months along in the pregnancy.

This journey, made in late 1824, is the pivotal event in the early history of the Barrow-Wallis family. E.H.R. and Sally Wallis loaded their four children and all of their possessions into wagons and set out for the Texas. It was not a particularly perilous journey, but it was arduous. There were lots of streams, bayous and rivers to cross. Mr. Wallis came with his three young brothers-in-law --- Solomon, Benjamin and Reuben Barrow, Jr. This was a practical way for a family to travel. All of the men helped in fording the streams and driving their combined livestock. They arrived in Liberty on Christmas Day in 1824 and then headed south into present-day Chambers County. Old legends say they skirted the woods to the east, camped along Turtle Bayou, and kept huge fires burning at night to keep away the alligators. In such manner did the first members of the clan find their way here. Wallis settled his family on a lovely piece of high ground, which was afterward known as Wallis Hill.

Sally gave birth to a daughter, Sarah Ann, in May 1825. Two other children, both sons, came along later. Solomon Barrow Wallis, who was called "Sol.," was born in 1829. Daniel Boone Wallis, called "Dan," was born in 1831.

Sally Wallis died on November 15, 1841 at the age of 46 years and was buried in what would become a small family cemetery at Wallis Hill. Her husband waited a year and a day before he remarried, his second wife being Martha Shelton. He and Martha had two sons, Francis Marion, who was born in 1843; and Hansel Roberts, called Robert, who was born in June 1846.

Elisha Henry Roberts Wallis died on July 3, 1846 and was buried next to Sally in the family cemetery.