Newspaper articles, terrebonne parish

The Wallis Family of Houma


Another genealogy story from the Oct. 8, 1972, issue of “The Houma Daily Courier”

“Dr. and Mrs. Price and daughter Mary Howard of Natchez, Miss., came to Terrebonne to make their home. After Dr. Price died, Mrs. Price had her daughter move to Philadelphia, Penn., to live with an aunt there. Mrs. Price wanted her daughter to finish her education there.

While in Philadelphia, she met Dr. Hugh Maxwell Wallis, who had studied and received his degree as doctor of medicine there.

They were married in Kent County, Chestertown, Maryland, Jan. 17, 1870 (THIS IS PROBABLY SUPPOSED TO READ 1860). A son Morley Howard was born there in Nov. of 1860.

Because of the Civil War, Dr. and Mrs. Wallis decided to come to La. Another son, Hugh Maxwell, who was born here in 1862, lived only one year.

On July 30, 1863, a third son was born and was given the name Hugh Maxwell.

The first daughter, Rosalie, was born on Jan. 11, 1866. She died ten years later of small pox.

When the Civil War was over, Dr. Wallis thought of returning to Maryland but learned that everything they had once owned there had been destroyed during the war.

Their fifth child, Ida, was born July 11, 1868. She never married but made her home here in Houma.

Granville, the sixth child, was born on the 22nd of Nov. 1870. He married Amelia and lived in New Orleans most of his life. They had two sons, Norman and Mitchell, and a daughter, Ruth.

The seventh child was Ellersley, born Nov. 27, 1872. He married Marie Clement and lived here in Houma all their lives. They had three children, Reginald (deceased), Audry and Mary Margaret.

Mary Helen Wallis, the eighth child, was born Nov. 27, 1875. She married Theophile Bazet and had four children, Hugh, Norma (deceased), Ione and Helen.

Claude H. Wallis (Skipper), the ninth child, was born Oct. 24, 1877. He married Birdie Labit and they had four children – Ouida, Meredith, Maxwell (deceased) and Claudia.

The tenth child was a daughter, Ethel Rosalie. She was born on Feb. 16, 1880. Ethel married Allen Munson and they had a son Allen and a daughter Margaret.

Percy, the 11th and last child of the Wallis’, was born Sept. 20, 1885.

Dr. Wallis lived with his family in an antebellum, while columned home on School St. where the Houma Courier Building now stands. The doctor’s office was on the corner of School and Church. Skipper can recall the days when he would go with his father on his calls throughout the parish. In those days, you didn’t go to the doctor; he went to you. The doctor had a certain day of the week to visit different sections of the parish. When he went to Gibson, the people on Bayou Black, Chacahoula and that section, would meet him in Gibson. Claude said he would tend to the horse all day. They had three horses and would alternate each day.

The favorite of the horses was Shoo Fly, the family horse. The trips were long and tiresome. The roads were dirt, and the weather, at times, very bad but Skipper can recall interesting and exciting days.

Dr. Wallis was not only M.D. but also Houma’s 11th mayor, from 1878-1882. The town was reincorporated during his administration. He was also a newspaper publisher. ‘The Terrebonne Times’ born on Church St. sometime during the McKinley era was the Republican voice of Terrebonne.

Dr. Wallis died in 1904, his son Ellersley who had been working for his father went with Joseph Menville to publish the ‘Houma Times’ on Main Street. His son Percy ran the commercial printing shop. Morley and Claude had also helped to publish the ‘Terrebonne Times.’ The editorials in the paper were written by Dr. Wallis.

Dr. Wallis’ brother-in-law, I. M. Price, was the 14th mayor of Houma. His son Hugh Maxwell Wallis Jr. was the city’s 18th and 20th mayor and later became a district judge.

Hugh Maxwell Wallis Jr., a local attorney, married Sylvia Briant. They had one daughter, Juanita, who is married to Madison Funderburk.

Morley, the eldest child, was married to Laura Moody. After her death, he married Eloise Theriot. They had one son Morley who now lives in Houston. Morley was postmaster of Houma from 1889-1895.

Claude Wallis, ‘Skipper,’ the only living child of Dr. and Mrs. Wallis was postmaster under Pres. Teddy Roosevelt and Taft from May 14, 1908, to 1916. He was the first mail delivery man in Houma. That was in 1917.

A person had to have sidewalks (wooden) in the front of his home and a number on his house in order to receive mail. Calvin Wurzlow, who was then mayor, helped greatly to get this all set up.

Claude was married to Birdie Labit on Sept. 8, 1902. Skipper and his wife, Birdie, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year. He will be 95 on Oct. 24th and his wife was 90 in June. They have been living at 423 Goode St. for the last 60 years. Skipper is the last of the Dr. Wallis family in Terrebonne bearing the name Wallis.