A True Texan

I recently posted stories on my blog about my Great Grandfather’s, Brinson Bryan and Shaw Wallace. No reminiscence of my youth would be complete without a mention of my Grandmother, Linnie Ross (Sanders) Wallace.

Pictured in 1946, is my Grandmother, Linnie Ross (Sanders) Wallace, 1866-1953, my Mother, Ruth (Wallace) Bryan, 1895-1979, my Sister, Helen Ruth Anthony 1923-2003 and my Niece, Cheryl Anthony 1944-1964. Four generations of Wallace women. Because of at least 2 house fires, this is one of the very few pictures of my Grandmother Wallace.

My first memories of her were singing to me and telling me the story of the following song, author unknown:

“Backward turn backward o time in thy flight,
Make me a child again, just for tonight.
The tears on my pillow, thy loving watch keep’
Rock me to sleep Mother, rock me to sleep”.

Her mother died in 1877 when she was 11 years old.

Linnie’s Father, Levi L. Sanders, spent 3½ years fighting with the 6th Texas Cavalry during our Civil War. Being born in 1866, she was a “Civil War Baby Boomer”. She was a Texan and a “Rebel’s Daughter” and taught me the First verse of Bonnie Blue Flag”. It was first the Regimental song of the 8th Texas Cavalry, Terry’s Rangers, and later the anthem of the Southern States.

“Bonnie Blue Flag”, by Harry McCarthy

“We are a band of brothers and native to the soil,
Fighting for our liberty, with treasure, blood and toil.
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

For southern rights hurrah,

Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.”

She also made sure that I knew what “Decoration Day”, now known as our Memorial Day, was and how it started. Before the end of the Civil War, in the Spring, Southern ladies began placing red, white and blue “bunting” on the graves of the Confederate dead. This practice spread all over the South and in 1868, in the North, May 5, was officially designated Memorial Day.

Our family legends say that during the latter part of our Civil War, some type of significant event occurred between her Dad, Levi Sanders and Sul Ross, the Brigade Commander of the Texas Cavalry Brigade and future Governor of the State of Texas, causing Levi to say that he would name his next child after him and Sul replying he would pay that child’s way through college. Legend doesn’t say what the event was, but my Grandmother, Linnie Ross Sanders, born in 1866, was named Linnie Ross, and she told me that Sul Ross paid her way through college at Baylor, then located at Independence, Texas.

Another very interesting story that she told me several times, and was recently verified by another of her Grandson’s, George Pyland, my Cousin, was that when she was 5 years old, of her seeing Cynthia Ann Parker. Cynthia Ann was captured by Comanches in 1836, lived as an Indian for 24 years until she was re-captured in 1860 by Sul Ross leading a company of Texas Rangers. Cynthia Ann had 3 children, her oldest son being Quannah Parker, the last War Chief of the Commanches. Quannah surrendered to Col. Ranald McKenzie, “Three Fingered Kenzie” being his Indian nickname, and then Quannah led his people to the reservation in Oklahoma and later became and extremely successful businessman.

Cynthia Ann’s Brother, Issac Parker, was a neighbor in Van Zandt County, Texas, of Levi Sanders, Lennie Ross’ Dad, and she tells of seeing Cynthia Ann several times and how she “scared” her. Never re-adapting to civilized life, Cynthia Ann Parker died of a “broken heart” in 1871.

Linnie taught school in East Texas for several years before marrying Dr. Harmon Elliott Wallace, my maternal Grandfather. Before the turn of the 20th century, Linnie and Harmon moved to west Texas where he practiced medicine for over 20 years. They had 8 children, 7 surviving to adulthood, including my Mother, Ruth Wallace Bryan. Their oldest son, Horace Harmon, was not in this 1915 era picture. He was away playing professional baseball. I visited the house in the background in 1949 in Ovalo, Texas, west of Abilene and at the foot of Bald Eagle Mountain.

Linnie Ross was a fine Christian lady, a good Grandmother to me and a credit to our state!