1834 – 1904

From History of Texas Published in 1896

JOHN H. ALLEN – In the subject of this review is found a gentleman whose life has been a somewhat varied one; his career includes a war record; his travels have taken him from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and he has been identified with Hood county, Texas, for nearly a quarter of a century, residing at his present location, where he has one of the most delightful rural homes to be found in all the country round, and where he devotes his energies to agricultural pursuits and also to the work of contractor and builder. To these salient points in his history we would now briefly allude.

John H. Allen was born in Person county, North Carolina, March 18, 1834, son of Grant and Mary (Coleman) Allen. The Allens are of Scotch origin, our subject’s grandfather, William Allen, having emigrated to this country from Scotland at an early day and made settlement in North Carolina. Mrs. Mary Allen was a daughter of an Englishman, Alexander Coleman, who settled in the Old North state about the time Grandfather Allen landed there. Grant Allen was a farmer and millwright by occupation. About 1839 he moved from North Carolina to Henderson county, Tennessee, where he passed the rest of his life, and where at the age of 85 years he was accidentally killed on a mill wheel. His wife died in her 44th year.

John H. was a small boy at the time his father moved to Tennessee. He was reared on a farm in that state, receiving a common-school education and remaining at the parental home until reaching his majority. Then he went to Memphis, Tennessee, where he served a four-years apprenticeship to the carpenter’s trade, after which he worked as a journeyman for some time before commencing to take contracts. He was engaged in contracting and building when the civil war came on. At the very beginning of the war his patriotic ardor determined him upon contributing his quota for the support of the southern cause, and in 1861 we find him enlisted as a member of Company B, Second Mississippi Volunteer Infantry. His service was in the east. Among the engagements in which he participated were those of Manassas, Bull Run, Seven Pines, seven days’ fight in front of Richmond, and Malvern Hill. At the last name battle he was shot in the hand, the wound resulting in amputation and ending his active service. Previous to this he had been wounded a number of times, not seriously, however. At Manassas he received a scalp wound in the forehead, at Seven Pines he was wounded in the ankle and leg, and in the engagement before Richmond he received three slight wounds – seven in all. After the amputation of his hand he was unable for further duty and was honorably discharged, that being in 1863.

As early as 1854 Mr. Allen had come to Texas, at that time locating in Belton, where he worked at his trade for two years. From Belton he went to Waco, remained at the latter place until 1859, and that year went to Mississippi, where he was engaged in work at his trade when the war broke out. After leaving the army he sought his fortune in California, locating in Salinas, but remained only about one year, after which he came back to Texas and settled in McKinney, where he was engaged in contracting until 1872. That year he came to his present location in Hood county. Here he purchased 160 acres of wild land and at once began the task of bringing it under cultivation. As a result of his well-directed labors throughout the years that have intervened his tract of land now presents the appearance of a well-improved farm, 60 acres being under cultivation, three acres devoted to orchard purposes, and not the least of its attractive features being the beautiful home. This residence he erected in 1880.

Mr. Allen’s marriage to Miss Sally Ellis was consummated November 14, 1872. Mrs. Allen is a native of what was Bartow county, Georgia, and is a daughter of Jesse Ellis, who came to Texas about 1869, settled in Hood county in 1872, and died in this county in April, 1887. Mrs. Ellis is still living and resides with her daughter, Mrs. Allen. Mr. and Mrs. Allen have had four children, three of whom are now living –

Ella Pearl

Nannie May and

Lawrence Henry.

Ella Pearl is the wife of Mr. E. B. Thornover, of Tolar, this county. Willie D. died at the age of 16 years.

In connection with his farming operations, Mr. Allen also carries on contracting and building. He served one term as county commissioner since his location here, and he has also been a notary public. Fraternally, he is identified with both the Odd Fellows and the Masons, his membership in the latter order being in C. T. Bond Lodge, No. 339, A.F.&A.M., of Mississippi. He and his wife are active and consistent members of the Methodist church, south, and he has for some time served as class-leader and steward. A man of more than ordinary intellectual force, careful and conscientious in all his dealings, generous and kind-hearted, Mr. Allen is as highly respected as he is well known.

NOTE: John H. Allen died February 12, 1904 and was buried next to his wife, Sally, in the Asbury Cemetery, located approximately 2½ miles west of Tolar, in Hood County, Texas.


History of Texas, 1896, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.