Saturday, January 12, 2019

My Wallace Ancestry (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2 – Challenge)

Do you have a John Smith in your ancestry? How about a John Brown? Smiths. Browns. I’ve always been relieved that I didn’t have many names like that in my ancestral line – you know, the kind that are so prevalent that you find a gazillion of them everywhere you look.

Then I found out that having a William Wallace as an ancestor was just about as bad as having a John Smith. They are everywhere, and we’re not talking about “the” William Wallace of “Braveheart” fame. (As a side note, I will say that I am actually related to him through his mother’s line, the Crawford family. But that’s another story for another day.)

My Mother was a Wallace. Her father was Baxter H. Wallace (1895 – 1958), and his father was the Reverend William Pierce Wallace (1854- 1919), another William Wallace! But he always distinguished himself with the use of his middle name and the fact that he was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher. I’ve been able to find tons of information about him.

But going further down that rabbit-hole (uh, I mean ancestral line), I’ve discovered that the Right Reverend’s father was a Samuel Wallace (1826 – 1903), whose name was almost as elusive as William. I have, however, managed to find a good deal about him over the years. It took a quite a bit of digging, but his life has become a bit clearer to me as I find more documentation that he was indeed my 2x great-grandfather. And I know from researching this family that he is the son of Archibald “Archer” Wallace (abt. 1785 – aft. 1850). Do I have proof of that fact? No.

I’ve been able to find out some things about Archer, even a record proving his marriage to Henrietta “Ritty” McReynolds. The document completely misspells her name, but other types of documentation proves that she was indeed his wife.

So, who was Archer’s father? Supposedly, he was one William Wallace, my 4x great grandfather who may or may not have been born in Pennsylvania sometime around 1750. I know for sure that he lived in North Carolina (probably Orange County) and that he served in the Revolutionary War. He’s listed as a Patriot on the DAR website. He’s just not listed with my ancestor, Archibald, as his son - naturally!

I also know that he and Archibald and Harbart (the son verified by the DAR) lived next to each other in Sumner Co., TN on land that was most likely given to him for his service. His last appearance was on the 1824 Tax List of Sumner County. Now, I say “last appearance” as if I’ve really done a great deal of research on him.

The truth is, I have not! I’ve been a bit side-lined these last few years by family concerns, and my research on this family came to a standstill a while back.

My challenge this year? I’m going to find out more about those Wallaces. How can I prove that Samuel was really Archibald’s son and that Archibald was definitely the oldest son of William?

Just where was William born? The ‘family story’ has always been that we were Scots-Irish, so was he born here or in Ireland? When did his family leave Scotland and go to Ireland? When did they come to America? I lose him completely when I try to find him in his youth. It’s all a great big blur.

Yes, I have a huge challenge ahead of me. Wallace (from the Scots viewpoint) may as well be Smith or Brown.  But I truly do want to know more about that family, and I am determined to have that DAR Patriot from North Carolina as a supplement!

Yep, I think I’m up to the challenge!
Archibald Wallace & Ritty McReynolds Marriage Certificate
Copy of marriage record between Archibald Wallace and Ritty McReynolds (spelled as McRunnells) found on

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland


  1. I have a Wallace in my line too. Yes, they are a tricky bunch. I also have a couple of different, unrelated William Clarks. I feel your pain.

    1. It really IS painful! I have some Clarks, too, somewhere! LOL