Judge Caleb Baker Wallace

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Caleb Baker Wallace

Also Known As: "caleb baker wallace"
Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Charlotte Co., Virginia
Death: Died in Midway, Woodford Co., KY
Place of Burial: Versailles, Woodford CO., KY
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Wallace and Esther Wallace
Husband of Mary Wallace; Sarah Wallace and Rosanna Wallace (Christian)
Father of Samuel McDowell Wallace; Priscilla Christian Logan and William Christian Wallace
Brother of Major Andrew Wallace; Samuel Wallace; Suzannah Wallace; Josiah Wallace and Elizabeth Wallace

Occupation: Presbyterian Minister, & Judge, Judge, judge
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Judge Caleb Baker Wallace

Caleb Wallace was born in 1742 and raised in the vicinity of one of the western (Charlotte County/Prince Edward County) Virginia Presbyterian colonies known variously as "Caldwell Colony" (after one of the founding families) and "Cub Creek Colony" (referring to its location). He was the son of Samuel Wallace and Ester Baker; his mother was the daughter of another of the early families in the settlement, that of Caleb and Martha Brooks Baker.

There has been debate over the ancestry of Samuel Wallace: He came to the Cub Creek Colony as either the son of a long-settled Quaker family from eastern Virginia. Or as the son of the deceased Peter Wallace, whose widow, Elizabeth Woods Wallace, came from Ireland with her brother Michael Woods and their families to settle in the valleys of western Virginia. Circumstances such as Caleb's later alliances with other descendants of the Woods family and his first marriage to a young lady, Sarah McDowell, who would have been a Woods cousin, strongly favor the latter connection.

Caleb Wallace graduated among a class of twenty-two from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1770. In the year preceding his graduation he was among the founders of the American Whig Society ("Life and Times of Judge Caleb Wallace", p. 18). He continued, after his graduation, in the study of theology, was licensed to preach ("Life and Times", etc., p. 26) on May 28, 1772, and was ordained ("Life and Times", etc., p. 27) on October 13, 1774.

As the conflict with Great Britain grew toward open revolution, the young minister, having eventually returned to his childhood home, became, at the direction of his Presbytery, active in the causes of both religious freedom and education. The association of his name with the advancement of education continued throughout his life. Wallace was among the founders of Prince Edward Academy (which has become Hampden-Sidney College), of Liberty Academy at Lexington, Virginia (now Washington and Lee University), and, in Kentucky, of Transylvania Seminary (later Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky). It is also probable that he was the author of the enabling legislation which provided for the establishment of these "academies", supported by conveyance of ownership of public lands, in each of the counties in existence at the time (1798) within the new state.

After the death of his first wife Sarah McDowell, daughter of his cousin and mentor Samuel McDowell, he married Rosanna Christian, daughter of Israel and Elizabeth Starke Christian, whose brother, William, married Anne, sister of Patrick Henry. Caleb and Rosanna named their first-born for Caleb’s first father-in-law - Samuel McDowell Wallace.

Wallace left both the ministry and Virginia for an appointment to the "Commission for the Adjudication of Western Accounts" in September of 1782 and moved his family to Kentucky. This evolved into appointment to the "Supreme Court of the District of Kentucky" (<"Life and Times", etc., p. 108) on July 2, 1783. He also served briefly as a Kentucky representative in the Virginia legislature in 1783. With the attainment of statehood in 1792, the Kentucky Court of Appeals was constituted, composed of "Harry Innes, Chief Justice; Benjamin Sebastian, Second Judge, and Caleb Wallace, Third Judge." ("Life and Times", etc., p. 146). Wallace remained in this position until his resignation was pressed in 1813, the year before his death. He had amassed a substantial estate near what is now Midway (between Lexington/Versailles and Frankfort, Kentucky), with other holdings in northern Kentucky and southern Indiana. This is in the heart of the "Bluegrass" region; nearby is the Kentucky Horse Park, a state park which occupies three thousand of the nine thousand acres granted to Wallace's brother-in-law, Col. William Christian in 1777 in settlement for service in the Indian wars and in the Revolution.

Judge Wallace was a "perennial" delegate to Kentucky's several constitutional conventions, in whose behalf he frequently sought the advice and intercession of his younger friend, James Madison; Kentucky's on-again, off-again progression to statehood became the subject of derision in the Virginia legislature - "the perennial problem of Kentucky" - until a constitution was eventually ratified in an "illegal" convention which followed expiration of Virginia's authorization. Wallace, knowing that this was the first opportunity to accumulate a favorable vote, had written again to Madison beseeching an extension of legislative authority. While this state of affairs is sometimes presented in historical accounts as evidence of rebelliousness in Kentucky, nothing could be further from the reality of the times; many Kentuckians were, instead, so fearful of severing the tie with (and financing and protection from) the mother state that it had become impossible to procure approval of a separate constitution. During this period, also, several prominent Kentuckians began looking for alliances elsewhere; because of fear of invasion by way of the Mississippi to Ohio Rivers, negotiations were surreptitiously conducted at the instigation of the Spanish ambassador from New Orleans in what has been vilified as the "Spanish Conspiracy", with which Wallace's name was linked. There is no doubt that he was aware of these transactions as they involved men among his closest associates, but it is improbable that he would, at the same time, have so actively maintained his relationship with the Virginia legislature and have so vigorously pursued the cause of statehood for Kentucky. This taint, however, eventually forced Judge Wallace's retirement from public life.

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Judge Caleb Baker Wallace's Timeline

Charlotte Co., Virginia
April 16, 1780
Age 38
Augusta, Virginia, United States
March 12, 1784
Age 42
Botetourt County, Virginia, United States
April 15, 1794
Age 52
Woodford, Kentucky, USA
Age 72
Midway, Woodford Co., KY