Saturday, February 20, 2010

Daniel Webster "80 John" Wallace

The National Ranching Heritage Center(NRHC), part of the Texas Tech Museum complex, had a presentation (3 times) about Daniel Webster "80 John" Wallace (, as part of their black history month celebration...

Wallace was born into a slave family, but late enough in the 19th century to eventually become a free man.  At age 15, he left home to be a cowboy...In addition to being a cowboy, he saved his money, bought land and cattle, and by the Great Depression, was a millionaire.  He ran a large ranch, but also worked for other ranchers throughout his life... He went to school as an adult, to learn to read, and understand math.  He supported educational efforts in his community.  Last summer, his old ranch house was opened as an exhibit at the NRHC.  The curator who gave part of the presentation, said the family members who came from various parts of the country, are still part of the land that the Wallace family still owns...

The qualities of the man, as described by the museum curator, indicated he was hard working, temperate, frugal, and very smart. 

Wallace probably lived closer to Loraine, Texas, but Colorado City claims him.  There is at least one school named for him.  And a prison. The curator echoed what I thought as I heard about the man:  he may not think the prison was on honor. 

Years ago, I had an opportunity to speak to a Colorado City native who talked about Wallace.  She, apparently, had embraced him as a local hero, and it seemed she was reflecting the feelings of her community.


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