Judge Edwin Waller (4 Nov 1800 – 3 Jan 1881) was an entrepreneur, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the first mayor of Austin, Texas and the designer of its downtown grid plan. He was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, where his ancestors had settled in colonial times.
In April 1831, he immigrated to the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. On In July 1831, he received a land grant from the government in present-day Brazoria County. He began a shipping business, transporting cotton from Velasco, Texas, to New Orleans, Louisiana, using his ship, the Sabine, and was once briefly arrested in Velasco for refusing to pay Mexican customs duty. He very quickly became active in the movement for Texas independence from Mexico. On 26 Jun 1832, he fought and was wounded at the Battle of Velasco, an early skirmish in the Texas Revolution. In 1833, he became the alcade of Brazoria Municipality. In 1835, he represented the Columbia Municipality at the Consultation in San Felipe de Austin, where he was chosen by the members to serve in the General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas.
On 1 Feb, 1836, Waller was elected as the Brazoria delegate to the Convention of 1836 in Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he signed the newly adopted Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2. At the convention, he served on the committee that helped draft the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.
In 1839, he was chosen by Texas President Mirabeau Lamar to survey the site, sell lots, and erect public buildings for the new state capital in Austin. The original landsite for the capital was narrowed to 640 acres that fronted the Colorado River between two creeks, Shoal Creek and Waller Creek, which was later named in his honor. The fourteen-block grid plan was bisected by a broad north-south thoroughfare, Congress Avenue, running up from the river to Capital Square, where the new Texas State Capitol was to be constructed. A temporary one-story capitol was erected on the corner of Colorado and 8th streets. On 1 Aug 1839, the first auction of 306 lots was held. The grid plan that Waller designed and surveyed now forms the basis of the streets of downtown Austin.
On 13 Oct 1839, Waller offered his house for the meeting place to establish the first Masonic Lodge in Austin.
On 13 Jan 1840, he was elected the first mayor of Austin. He resigned before the end of his term, however, and moved to Austin County. A new county formed from parts of Austin County and neighboring Grimes County was renamed Waller County in his honor in 1873.
In 1861 Waller represented Austin County at the Texas secession convention. As one of the last living signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, he was given the honor of signing the secession ordinance first after the convention president Oran Milo Roberts.
In 1873 Waller served as the first president of the Texas Veterans Association. He died on 3 Jan 1881 in Austin, where he moved shortly before his death to live with one of his daughters. He was buried in Waller County, but his remains were later moved to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
Edwin Leonard Waller (1800 – 1881), 3rd cousin 6x removed – William Waller (1775 – 1819) – Ann Winston Carr (1735 – 1839) – William Carr (1707 – 1779) – Thomas Carr (1678 – 1737) – Sarah Dabney Carr (1714 – 1772) – Thomas Minor (1740 – 1816) – Elizabeth Minor (1768 – 1832) – Elizabeth Dabney Waller (1808 – 1881) – Jacintha Ann Pollard (1833 – ) – Elizabeth Minor Hancock (1850 – 1928) – Seddie Gunnell (1875 – 1946) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom
He is also my 4th cousin 6x removed through my 8th g-grandfather, John Waller (1645-1723).