Foy E. Wallace, Sr., was born June 2, 1871, at Decatur, Texas, in Wise County. His parents were Thomas Knox and Paralee (Elkins) Wallace.
He attended Calhoun College, Kingston, Texas. On February 2, 1890, he married Martha Ann Higgins. To this union, nine children were born. Five boys: Cled, Foy E., Jr., Durward, Reba "R.E." and Willie; four girls: Tempal, Ellafrank, Mattie Lee, and Guille. His first wife, Martha Ann, died September 13, 1913. On October 8, 1914, he married Jewell Jacobs. Two sons, Paul and Tom, were born to this union.
Wallace began preaching at the age of 21. First he preached in the rural communities of East Texas. His ability as a preacher developed so rapidly that he was soon called to preach and debate in many cities and rural communities. Some of the places where he preached were: Ft. Worth, Denton, Paris, Sherman, Longview, Greggton, Center, Nacogdoches, Madisonville, Corpus Christi, and San Benito, in Texas; Seminole, Oklahoma; and throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
Four of his sons were preachers: Cled, Foy E., Jr., Paul and Tom. Any account of Foy E. Wallace, Sr., and his preaching life would be incomplete without including the great influence of Martha Ann, his first wife, and Jewell, his second wife.
Books were always a valuable possession in his family. The library started with Thomas Knox Wallace who was associated with the early leaders of the Restoration Movement and probably attended Bethany College. He brought some valuable books with him to Texas. So, although Wallace did not have the formal education that modern life usually demands, he was a scholarly man and highly educated for his day.
Wallace went to the Indian Territory for mission work in the early 1890's. While there, near what became Mansville, Oklahoma, he made friends with the miners by greeting them as they entered and returned from the mines. In those early days, religious prejudices were rife and tempers short. Freedom of speech was an ideal not understood nor practiced. The strange doctrine of a pure gospel was a new thing not understood nor respected. So, some of the men of the community resolved to "stop that preacher." The news leaked out that they intended to ride the preacher out of town on a rail. The miners got together and stood watch at the windows. When the men arose from the audience, with "throw the preacher out," the miners replied, "sit down and let the man speak," and they backed up their authority with drawn pistols. Such was the temperament of the place and times.
C. R. Nichol and Foy Wallace Sr., were close friends. They were David and Jonathan to each other. They worked together in preparing for debates, which were the order of the day, and moderated for each other.
Wallace never issued a challenge for a debate, but never refused to defend the truth when challenged. In 1910, while he lived in Sherman, Texas, he went to Oklahoma to meet a Baptist minister named Cagle in debate. When the debate was over, he sent a telegram home informing the family that he would remain for another week to hold a meeting. Later, during the week, he heard someone remark that Cagle was bragging about how he whipped him in the debate. Wallace remarked, "W-e-l-l, I baptized his moderator, his son-in-law, two of his elders, and many of his members, 19 in all. If he calls that victory, I am glad to concede it." When he lived in Denton, Texas, for five years, it was during this time that Southwestern Christian College was begun. During this time, he had opportunity of having as guests in his home A. G. Freed, F. W. Smith, T. B. Larimore, J. D. Tant, F. L. Young, J. B. Nelson, and others, which had a tremendous influence on his children.
On September 13, 1913, his wife, Mattie, died after a prolonged illness, which was a great blow to Wallace. The children were fearful that he would not recover, but the kindness of friends and the earnest help of the family enabled him to overcome. Reference has already been made that a year later he married Jewell Jacobs. She was a real preacher's helpmeet in hospitality, visitation, and teaching.
The Sunday before Foy Wallace, Sr., filled the pulpit in Denison for his son, Foy, and having a candidate for baptism, an elder thought he would relieve the old man from such strain. In going to the dressing room, he found him so eagerly climbing into the garment that the elder did not mention his offer.
Tom, the last child, mentioned often that, while he was the last child at home, Wallace, Sr., in the late 30's and early 40's, did some of his most successful work while between 65 and 75, accomplishing it through sheer determination and from a backlog of experience and knowledge most men lay aside at that age.
On a Sunday night, November 21, 1949, word came that Foy E. Wallace, Sr., was dying in a Tyler hospital, 11 sons and daughters rushed from various directions to be with him. Some did not make it, but Guille, who did, arrived just before he lapsed into unconsciousness. He looked at her and said, "Honey, I'm all right." And, he was, and is.
Wallace died November 21, 1949, at Tyler. Survivors included his wife, Jewell, 11 sons and one daughter, and 29 grandchildren.
�Edited from In Memoriam, Gussie Lambert, Pages 282-284; Personal family info provided by descendant: Tim Boyer