A native of Syracuse, New York, Wallace attended Syracuse University and obtained a law degree from Hamilton College.
He spent 15 years as a lawyer in private practice in Syracuse before serving as mayor of that city in 1873-1874. In 1874, President Ulysses South. Grant appointed Wallace as a judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New New York In 1882, President Chester A. Arthur promoted Wallace to the United States Circuit Court for the Second Circuit in New New York
In 1891, the Evarts Acting converted Wallace"s judgeship to a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Wallace retired from the Second Circuit in 1907 and returned to private practice in Syracuse until his death ten years later.
Married Alice Heyward Wheelwright, April.