Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Clinton P. Hartmann

WALLACH, WILLIAM DOUGLAS (1812–1871). William Douglas Wallach, surveyor and newspaperman, was born in 1812 in Washington, D.C. After studying civil engineering at Columbian College, he did survey work for railroad and canal companies before he moved to Texas about 1838. In Texas Wallach made some of the first surveys of the inland coastal waters. In 1839 he made a hydrographic survey of Matagorda Bay and was employed by the Colorado Navigation Company to make a survey of the Colorado River raft that hindered navigation on that river. Wallach was editor of the Matagorda Bulletin in 1839 and in 1840 purchased the Colorado Gazette and Advertiserqv. He was also correspondent for the Richmond Enquirer. He supported Sam Houston and after the annexation of Texas returned to Washington, D.C., and joined the staff of the Washington Union. He contributed articles to the United States Magazine and the Democratic Review. In 1853 he purchased an interest in the Washington Evening Star and from 1855 to 1867 was its sole owner. He died on December 1, 1871, at his home, Montrose, near Culpeper, Virginia. At the time of his death Wallach was married to the former Margaret Newton of Washington D.C.; the couple had four daughters.

Comer Clay, "The Colorado River Raft," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (April 1949). Samuel W. Geiser, "W. D. Wallach," Southwest Review 29 (Winter 1944). Washington Evening Star, December 1, 1871.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Clinton P. Hartmann, "WALLACH, WILLIAM DOUGLAS," accessed November 15, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox