Settled in 1825 by Elisha H. R. Wallis, a pioneer from Georgia, on land in grant of Joseph Vehlein, a contractor working to place colonists in Texas.
Chambers County was organized 1858; Wallisville was made county seat. A post office was granted in 1859, and town became a thriving retail market.
Many county records were burned in a courthouse fire in 1875. A brick and stone courthouse, with a jail and an unique hanging tower (for executions) was completed in 1886. By 1900 the town had 728 people, a shipyard, a lumber yard, a cotton gin, a skating rink, several stores and an export house. By land, there was daily hack service to Liberty; and sloops made regular runs from here to Galveston.
Chambers County's first newspaper, "Wallisville Age", was published here. The town remained county seat until 1908 when the courthouse was moved to Anahuac after the famous "County Seat Hog War" over issue of letting animals roam at large. In that year Wallisville lost few people, but in 1915 a storm almost destroyed the town.
Part of the historic townsite is now included in Wallisville Reservoir, constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.