Forced to walk the rest of the way, Bigfoot told people later that he stopped at the first farmhouse he came to, was invited in by the Mexican family and sat down at the table for a meal of 27 eggs. Then he walked on to El Paso for "a real meal. Or so he said. The numerous frontier tales about Bigfoot Wallace approach the Bunyanesque Paul, that is. Like Davy Crockett, he was an outsized figure whose undeniably colorful life inspired outsized stories.
And, of course, he told a few himself. As folklorist J. Frank Dobie put it, in his Handbook of Texas entry for the Texas folk hero, "Wallace was as honest as daylight but liked to stretch the blanket and embroider his stories. I've written several times about this quiet little Frio County community where my mother grew up and where my grandmother ran the general store, but I've never written about the Texas hero who bequeathed his name to the Brush Country community. Bigfoot Wallace is worth knowing.
He's a representative, in Dobie's words, of "old-timey free days, free ways and free land. Bigfoot, who died in , lived out his last years with the Thomas family in the community that would come to bear his name. Most people called it Connally's Store in the early days. My grandmother told me years ago that when she and her best friend, Lizzie Thomas, were growing up - Lizzie would serve as Bigfoot's postmistress for half a century - Bigfoot himself regularly sent one of the Thomas youngsters to the store for a plug of tobacco, promising to pay a few days later.
The storekeeper scrawled "Bigfoot, 2 bits" on the chalk board so often that he eventually stopped erasing. The name Bigfoot became a permanent fixture - on the board and on the map. That's the story, anyway.
It could be, as the Handbook of Texas tells it, that James Connally secured a post office for the community in and named the village in honor of its most famous resident. As the years went by, and his body weakened, Wallace stayed close to home, where he lived alone, his wife and sons having been murdered by Indians soon after the family had moved to Texas. He died on January 7, The Texas Legislature put up money to move his body to the state cemetery in Austin. His friend and biographer John C.
The frontiersman proved his innocence by placing his moccasined foot inside the much larger footprint of the real culprit.
According to that story, that same friend was later killed by the Waco Big Foot. Howard, who is best known for his tales of Conan the Barbarian.
Back in the s, Howard kept up a correspondence with author H. But his life needs no myths to ring with breath-taking adventure and heroism.
- Touch Yourself: 30 Ways to Boldy Live, Love, and Let Go!.
- Meridon (The Wideacre Trilogy, Book 3).
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- Find a copy in the library?
- The Texas Ranger and Hunter!
More than one Howard chronicler has theorized that Wallace was a model for Conan the Barbarian—huge physically and a rough and tough adventurer with a personal code of honor. John C. Duval—later known as Texas John—came to Texas from Kentucky in and got involved in the Revolution. He was one of the few survivors of the Goliad Massacre his brother died there on Palm Sunday, The two became friends and spent many hours swapping stories. After serving the Confederacy in the Civil War, Duval turned to writing—mostly about the early days in Texas, including his Goliad escape.
Bigfoot Wallace - Tall Tale Heroes
The book was and is the primary source for all future Wallace biographies. Historian J. Duval for J. Agent Bruce Shane striving…. Keith Terry believes travel is an escape from the routine—combining new vistas and tangible history…. Skip to content.
My Account Blog. Wallace get his nickname? The Texans were greatly outnumbered, and the Mexican army was constantly reinforced. Finally, Mexican General Pedro Ampudia sent a captured prisoner to inform the besieged Texans that he had 1, men under his command with more on the road from Monterrey. Ampudia urged the Texans to surrender, promising to treat them as prisoners of war; if not, "no quarter" would be given. Bigfoot, remembering the fate of Brother Samuel and Cousin William at Goliad, bitterly opposed a surrender. He fully expected treachery from the Mexicans.
He hung back, becoming the last man to surrender at Mier. The Mexican loss at Mier was 2, men of whom were killed. The Texans lost sixteen of men, and thirty were wounded. Nearly every shot made by the Texans ended in the death of a Mexican, and the streets ran red with blood. The Texan captives were first marched to Matamoros. By January , they were on their way to Monterrey, on the road to Mexico City, under a heavily armed Mexican cavalry.
The wounded were left behind in Mier. It was one continual jubilee after another for the Mexicans in each town as they passed, but sheer torture for the captives. The army starved their prisoners and made them walk until the Texans were almost "barefoot and haggard. From Monterrey, they were carried by wagon to Saltillo, where they found six of the Texans who were captured when General Woll invaded San Antonio in September. Leaving Satillo, they journeyed to Hacienda Salado, about miles south of Saltillo. Here, they escaped.
Big Foot said they overpowered their guards, found horses and mules, and scattered to the hills in a desperate attempt to regain Texas. He rode a fine dun mule which belonged to Captain Arroyo of the prison guards. By the evening of the third day, they were skirting Saltillo in their mad dash to the Rio Grande. Passing Saltillo, they again took to the hills. It was a colossal mistake. The Texans did not know the country.
It was barren and lifeless, and after six days of terrible deprivation, they were reduced to eating their horses and mules and drinking the blood. They then survived by eating snakes and grasshoppers. Even this did not save them. Now on foot and wandering in the mountains, they became lost, disoriented, and disorganized. Many dropped in their tracks. Others just wandered off. Bigfoot had dried some of the mule meat in the hot sun and just barely survived by carrying the jerky on his back. But in a matter of days, his tongue had swollen to the roof of his mouth from his thirst, and he could no longer eat.
Five days later, when the Mexicans finally caught up with them, Bigfoot and three other men were within yards of a water hole. This time, the Mexican soldiers were compassionate.