H.B. Wallace, better known as “Squire’ Wallace, died at Dolores, Colorado. He was a pioneer cattleman in Southwest Colorado and probably carried more lead in his body that any other human being in the tri-county area. It is said that in his days he stopped as many as 26 bullets.
Wallace was born in Webster County, Kentucky, on Jan. 26, 1849. He went to Texas in 1859 and remained there for several years. Family lore said he served as a Texas Ranger, knew no fear and was a man who never lost his nerve when facing a gun in the hands of a foe. No doubt this is where he picked up a lot of lead. In 1873, he moved to New Mexico, where he resided until 1878. While in New Mexico, he started a herd of longhorn cattle, which he was later to bring into Colorado. Before leaving New Mexico, he and George Morrison were set upon by a band of Mexicans who didn’t take kindly to the cowboys moving into their territory. Squire was critically injured in the ensuing gunfight. Squire was a good friend of Clay Allison, the outlaw gunfighter of the Old West. Allison lived in New Mexico. Clay came into the fray, and transported Squire to a doctor, where he was treated, and ultimately survived to fight again. From New Mexico, Wallace came to Colorado and located at Pine River in La Plata County, bringing his herd of cattle with him. There he was married to Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dunham to which union seven children were born: Walter W. (born on Pine River in 1880); Harvey Clay (named to honor his brother, Harve, and his old friend, the “shootist” Clay Allison); Viola Pride; Ruby Parshall; Ivy, who was married to Tim Lynch; Dwight; and Loyd. From Pine River the family moved in 1882 to the Disappointment Valley, where he served as constable in addition to cattle rancher. In 1894, the family moved to the Dolores area.
After moving to Dolores, Wallace became involved in horse racing in the Mancos area. In 1900, Squire and Curg Williams, the owner of racehorse “Silver Dick,” took on the responsibility of building a race track with a 1-half mile course. They leveled and graded the land on Curg’s property located just south of Mancos, and built a grandstand and an 8-foot-tall fence. Squire was a rancher by trade, but the horses were his pride and joy.
Walter W. Wallace, Squire’s son, also was a cattle rancher down McElmo Canyon where Yellow Jacket and McElmo meet. Walter married Minnie Scharnhorst, and they became the parents of 10 sons. All the boys remained in the area and many became ranchers, raising cattle and horses. Their sons were:
Walter, a cattle rancher on Bear Creek, Hay Camp, and Priest Gulch. He married Wilda Prim.Lyle, a cattle rancher who lived near Bauer Lake above Mancos. He married Mary Porter.Donald, a rancher and horseman up the West Fork of the Dolores. He married Francis and then Margaret Wayne.Kenneth, a dude wrangler and assistant chief ranger and artist at Mesa Verde National Park where he helped build the dioramas in the museum. He married Thyra Dawson and then Geraldine Bauer. He was killed in a plane crash along with other members of the area school boards.Arthur, a cattle rancher at Stoner and Summit Ridge. He married Cordy Ortiz.Russell, who worked on the railroad until it no longer ran, then moved to Durango. He married Mona Porter and then Marie Thompson Paxton.Franklin, who was a photographer. He married Ruth Dunn. He and his family lived at Bauer Lake, where he had a commercial trout farm, and was superintendent at several national parks before his retirement.Bruce, who was a cowboy and worked for Lyle and Walter. He died as a result of being kicked by a horse.Steve, a rancher and irrigator. He married Mary Jane McClaskey. They lived up the Dolores River. He drove the mail truck to Rico and was the last person who fired the train to Rico.Wayne, who was disabled and in a wheelchair. He never married, and he died in California.H.B. “Squire” Wallace was well known as a friend. He traveled from Texas into New Mexico, came to the Pine River Valley in La Plata County, to Disappointment Creek in Dolores County, to Montezuma County where he died in Dolores of peritonitis in 1913. His wife, Lizzie, died in 1934, and both are buried in the Summit Ridge Cemetery at Dolores. The 10 sons of Walter W. Wallace were well known in our area. They married, and many of the descendants of “Squire” live in the area and are cattle ranchers. Squire would no doubt have been proud to know he had 10 grandsons and many carried on with “Wallace cattle ranch” just as he did.
Thank you to the daughters of Franklin (Jerrie Matthews) and Arthur (Dolly Gardner) for information and help in writing this article. Wilma Bankston’s book “Where Eagles Winter” provided information and photographs, and Fern Ellis’ book “Come Back to My Valley” gave information about Squire’s interest in horse racing.June Head, Historian for the Montezuma County Historical Society may be reached for comments, corrections or questions at 970-565-3880.