Wallisville is on Interstate Highway 10 and the east side of the Trinity River in northern Chambers County. The town served as the county seat from 1858 to 1908. In 1825 Elisha Henry Roberts Wallis settled his family at Wallis Hill, a site east of the original townsite. The captured Mexican dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna was held prisoner at the Wallis family home on December 1, 1836, en route to Washington, D.C. Solomon B. and Daniel B. Wallis, sons of the elder Wallis, had the townsite laid off in eighteen blocks in 1854. A post office was established there in 1857 with Albert G. van Pradelles as postmaster. The town was chosen over Anahuac as the county seat of the new Chambers County in 1858. Officials and merchants of both Wallisville and Liberty tried to attract the Texas and New Orleans Railroad in 1858, and the railroad opted for the Liberty route. Wallisville served as a principal steamboat landing on the Trinity River through 1877; there was also a brief resurgence in the Trinity trade during the 1890s. The town's chief industries from the 1850s to the time of the 1915 hurricane were lumbering and shipbuilding. The earliest sawmill was Union Mills, established by Robert Kilgore and a partner named Clark. A number of mills flourished around the 1880s, and William E. Stephens established a substantial mill in 1897. The largest sawmill to be established was the C. R. Cummings Lumber Company, founded in 1899, when Charles R. Cummings and his brother, Jesse, consolidated their two mills from Liberty and Anahuac and moved to the west side of the Trinity River at Wallisville. The mill was destroyed in the 1915 hurricane. Another mill was owned and operated by John W. Cook. Shipbuilding proved to be a steady industry at various times in the town's history. McLelland and Dunman turned out both steamboats and sailboats as early as 1855. Other shipyards followed, including one built by C. R. Cummings in 1901. The last shipbuilding enterprise came in the early 1940s, when Dunman Marine Services constructed the first steel boat to be built on the lower Trinity.
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Wallisville by the Numbers
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