In 1845, William and Lydia Ann English Guyler, pioneer settlers of Bovine
Bend in Texas (later to be called Wallis, Texas), were proud new owners of
some 2900 acres of land marked only by the posts in the prairie.
They started their journey from Kentucky to Texas traveling by riverboat and Gulf passenger
ship down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to new Orleans, and then across the
waters of the Gulf, landing in Galveston on New Year's Day in 1859. They
then traveled by small boat to Harrisburg, then by railroad, migrating to the
town of Richmond, in Fort Bend County. There they sold approximately 100
barrels of flour to local merchants to finance the purchase of their new
homestead in Austin County. Then, traveling by wagon train, they ended up
on the banks of the Brazos River. Their first home, a log cabin, was
in the Milburn and Davis Grant, where they resided throughout the Civil war years.
According to Austin County courthouse records, William Guyler owned 12 slaves
in the 1860's which most likely operated his numerous businesses including the
only gristmill, cotton gin and sawmill within twenty miles. He was
also a prominent real-estate man, buying and selling land throughout the prairie,
aiding in the development of the community.
Mr. Guyler served in the Civil War on the side of the South with General John
Sayles Company in the 23rd Brigade. Mrs. Guyler aided the soldiers at home
and donated supplies wherever most needed. During the yellow fever scourge
in Galveston in 1867, she helped to nurse the sufferers. She was
personally acquainted with prominent men and women of pioneer days and named one
of her children after General Sam Houston in memory of his victory at San
William Guyler had the first post office in the area established on October
13, 1873, where he was listed as Post Master of Bovine Bend by the Tenth
Congressional District of Texas.
In 1880 Mr. Guyler sold 100 acres of land for $10.00 to the Gulf, Colorado
and Santa Fe Railroad for their right-of-way and the building of a town.
The community known as Bovine Bend was renamed Wallis, after the then Senior
Vice President of the Railroad, J.E. Wallis. The name of the post office
was changed to Wallis Station in 1886 and into Wallis in 1911. In 1973 Wallis
was officially incorporated as a city.
Guardian Angel Catholic Church
The church standing today is the third built by its parishioners. The
congregation first organized in 1892, holding services in the Krasna School
building, a 42 by 80 foot structure located on four acres donated by a
parishioner. The first sanctuary building was erected closer to the Wallis
railway in 1899. During the 1900 storm a tornado destroyed the
church. With $1,000 still owed on the structure, and their renowned trust
in the Lord, construction was again started on a second sanctuary which was
completed in 1904. By 1912, with the parish growing to some 75 families,
plans for the present church were begun.
One of the last Painted Churches built in Texas, construction started on June 3, 1913 with the blessing of the cornerstone, and
was completed two years later on October 21, 1915. It is believed to be
one of the oldest and largest solid wood structures of its type in Texas.
Despite hard times of illnesses, crop failures, tornadoes, heavy rains and
storms, some $10,000 was raised towards a building
project by its 75 family congregation. This church, in Gothic Style, was designed by architect Leo Dielman of San Antonio and was built by Jan Bujnoch of Wallis with the
help of parishioners who volunteered their carpenter skills. The interior
is newly painted artistically while keeping the ornate altars as close as
possible to the original design, white with gold etchings. The leaded,
stained glass windows were created in Italy. There are three brass bells in the
tower which are gracefully named. The land, stained glass windows, altars,
bells, and statues were all donated by the parishioners in memory of their loved
Guardian Angel Catholic Church is listed on the
national Register of Historic Places, with a historical marker dedicated in 1996.
The church is opened daily, with group tours by appointment (979-478-6532).
Wallis United Methodist Church
In the year 1890, the Town of Wallis had grown to some 400 people.
need for another church was foreseen by the townspeople, and on October 13, 1893
a loan was taken out by trustees in the amount of $300 to build a Methodist
Church. This is considered to be the birthday of this church.
A mortgage was registered to N.P. Ward, M.L.H. Harry, D.N. Harris, F.D.
Brandt, and W.T. Brown in the Austin County Courthouse as Trustees of the
Methodist Episcopal Church South of Wallis, Texas. The land was donated by M.L.H. Harry, a ferry boat operator who transported passengers across the Brazos
River between Wallis and Simonton.
The first known pastor was A.S. Blackwood who served from 1891 to 1893.
In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal Church South of Wallis later became known as the
Methodist Church and in 1968 was renamed the Wallis United Methodist
The Church celebrated its 100th anniversary in October 1993, and to date
is very active in many programs which continue to serve as an integral part of
the community. A Historical Marker for the church was dedicated in 1997.