William Douglas Wallach, surveyor and newspaperman, was born in 1812 in Washington, D.C., the son of Richard and Ann Douglas Wallach. After studying civil engineering at Columbian College, he did survey work for railroad and canal companies before he moved to Texas about 1838. In Texas Wallach made some of the first surveys of the inland coastal waters. In 1839 he made a hydrographic survey of Matagorda Bay and was employed by the Colorado Navigation Company to make a survey of the Colorado River raft that hindered navigation on that river. Wallach was editor of the Matagorda Bulletin in 1839 and in 1840 purchased the Colorado Gazette and Advertiser. He was also correspondent for the Richmond Enquirer. He supported Sam Houston and after the annexation of Texas returned to Washington, D.C., and joined the staff of the Washington Union. He contributed articles to the United States Magazine and the Democratic Review. Wallach married Margaret Newton of Washington D.C. on September 8, 1840, and the couple had four daughters. In 1853 he purchased an interest in the Washington Evening Star and from 1855 to 1867 was its sole owner. He died on December 1, 1871, at his home, Montrose, near Culpeper, Virginia, and was buried at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
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Comer Clay, "The Colorado River Raft," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (April 1949). Samuel W. Geiser, "W. D. Wallach," Southwest Review 29 (Winter 1944). Washington Evening Star, December 1, 1871.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Clinton P. Hartmann,
“Wallach, William Douglas,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 02, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 1, 2019