John Wallace

Bank President, Physician and father of a dynasty, Wallace was a well-known personality at the time of the second St. George’s church (1815-1849) and current building (1849).  He was an original pew holder of our church, paying $400 for Pew 62 (about $12,800 today). 

He was not a member of the Vestry and there is no indication he played a key role in the events of the church.  So why is he significant? He was father of a dynasty. Four or his sons – all veterans of the Confederate armed forces – and two of his grandsons would become presidents of The National Bank.  Two of the sons, Wistar And A. W Wallace did play major roles at St. George’s.  Dr. Wallace and his wife are remembered in the stained glass window that Wistar Wallace dedicated – “Saint Paul Before Grippa”. This was one of the many Charles E. Hogemen windows given by the Wallace family

When Wallace died in 1872 at age 79 he was said to be the eldest person in town and described by the Fredericksburg Ledger as a “venerable and beloved citizen.” He had a dual career, a medical doctor from 1815-1860 and president of the Famers Bank, the predecessor of the  National Bank for 25 years 1840-1865.

He had a civic role as mayor of Fredericksburg and was an advocate of history and education.  In 1833, he served on the committee to establish the Mary Washington monument and entertained President Andrew Jackson in his home when he came at the time of the laying of the cornerstone. (Imagine horses 6 abreast moving down Princess Anne Street from Town hall to Wolf Street!). He made pleas for starting an academy and was at the lead in the celebration of Washington’s birthday.

His home was on the corner of Caroline and William. That corner was later occupied by W. T. Grant. It was ransacked in the Civil War, the subject of art work at the Library of Congress, below left.  Later rebuilt by 1866 (based on an insurance policy), it was captured on film after his death from St. George’s in a series of photos from the steeple in 1888.  Wallace also owned “Liberty Hall,” a farm of more than 500 acres along Potomac Creek north of Truslow Road in Stafford County (north of Ellerslie, another Wallace place that still stands)