CAPTAIN WILSON DeWITT WALLACE, attorney at law, La Fayette, was born in that city, November 19, 1838, a son of JAMES WALLACE whose biography is given elsewhere. As the subject of this sketch grew to manhood, in the town of his nativity, he assisted his father in the cabinet shop and in the work of the farm, forming habits of industry and economy. At the age of seventeen years he entered Waveland Academy, in Montgomery County, Indiana, but want of money compelled him to quit at the end of a year and resort to some employment. By teaching school he earned sufficient to enable him to continue his studies for a time, and soon he entered the sophomore class of Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, and graduated there in 1861. Hurrying home to enlist in the army, he was disappointed at finding that Indiana's quota was full. He then began the study of law at La Fayette, with Huff & Jones; but soon another call for troops was made, and Mr. WALLACE enlisted as a private, in Company C, Fortieth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. At the election of officers Mr. WALLACE was chosen Second Lieutenant of his company, and while in the field, his Captain having been promoted, he was unanimously elected to succeed him. After a three day engagement along Stone River, and while pursuing the routed enemy across the river, just as he gained the opposite bank, the Captain was struck down by a bursting shell, at the head of his company, his right elbow being shattered and his head being severely injured by the concussion, and for several weeks after his life hung trembling in the balance. During the service he was an honest, conscientious and brave soldier. On recovering, he was still incapable of further military service, and he returned home to resume the study of law, in the office of Hon. John A. Stein. His right arm is still deformed by reason of the wounds received in the services of his country.
In 1864 he was admitted to the bar. He has carried into his profession the same honesty, perseverance and zeal that characterized him as a soldier, and his professional life has been crowned with success. He has been employed in a number of very important cases which were the subject of popular interest, among which may be mentioned the injunction suit against the collection of $370,000, voted by Tippecanoe County for a railroad under a new law supposed to be unconstitutional and which was so held by the county court; the ENSMINGER will case, where attorney WALLACE secured a verdict of $60,000 in favor of a poor girl whom the defendant had brought up and for whom he had failed to fulfill his contract. The Captain has won an eminent position at the bar. He has had three partners–Hon. R. P. DAVISON, and Captain A. A. RICE, both of La Fayette, and each for several years.
Since September 1, 1887, he has been senior member of the law firm of WALLACE, BAIRD & CHASE, one of the strongest law firms in the city. Captain WALLACE has held the offices of prosecuting and city attorney. In 1882 he was the Republican nominee for State Senator, but was defeated by only forty-three votes. His party seemed to have lost on account of the temperance plank in their platform. In 1876 he was the Republican nominee for Superior Judge, but was defeated by a combination ticket of the Democratic and Greenback parties. The Captain is an excellent campaign speaker, being always selected by the Republican State Central Committee for that responsible work. He is also a writer of advanced literary taste, occasionally contributing, both in prose and poetry, to the public press, and is the author of a stirring and useful novel entitled "Love's Ladder," which was published in 1886 by Belford, Clarke & Co., of Chicago. It has already passed through three editions, and although the plates were once destroyed by fire, they have been reproduced by the publishers, on account of the incessant demand for the work. The drift of the story is to expose the formalism and hypocrisy of the modern wealthy city church, and it is highly recommended by the press. An attractive love story runs through the volume. The author has a good library, a high standing in scholarship, a wide reputation as a speaker and writer, and is a man of broad, liberal views, and a welcome visitor in all the refined circles of society. On the twenty third anniversary of his birthday, just before leaving for the field of war, Captain WALLACE was married to Miss ANNA M. SHIELDS, daughter of P. S. SHIELDS, of New Albany, Indiana. The children born to theis union are–SALLIE, ELLA, ANNE and CHARLOTTE, who are receiving superior educational advantages. The Captain and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church, in which he has held all the local offices.
Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe
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