Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


EDWARD ALLEN has known Redlands and the country about from the time that town was established as a colony. A carpenter by trade, he did much of the construction work for power companies and irrigation projects in this region, and his experiences during the past thirty-five years constitute an interesting chapter in the history of the locality. Mr. Allen was a soldier in the Civil war. Though now practically retired, he spends much of his time supervising his grove and home at one of the most beautiful locations in Redlands.

Mr. Allen was born at Milford, Pike County. Pennsylvania. October 12, 1834, and represents an old and honored American family. His father was Roger Allen and his grandfather, John Allen, served as a Revolutionary soldier in Washington's army for seven years. He was one of the company of a hundred, none less than six feet tall, known as the Grenadiers. He was at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered. Roger Allen married Patty Hough, a native of Kentucky. They had five children: Martin, William, Andrew, Edward and Martha.

When Edward Allen was eight months old his parents returned to Connecticut and settled at Plymouth on a farm. Edward Allen was reared and learned the work of a New England farm, attended common school, and as a youth took up the carpenter's trade at New Haven. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the Ninth Kentucky Infantry and was a musician until the Government as a means of economy dispensed with regimental bands and he was discharged at New Orleans in 1862, paying his own fare home. At his first enlistment he was sent to Lowell, Massachusetts, and as soon as the full regiment was recruited he was placed aboard a transport at Boston, the old Constitution, which had three thousand men aboard, including the regiment and a battery. The Constitution proceeded to Fortress Monroe and the next day sailed by way of Florida Keys to Ship Island, between Mobile and New Orleans. They remained there two months in training and were then conveyed to the Mississippi, following Farragut's fleet up the river. This fleet included three battleships, twenty-one mortar boats, and a number of gun boats, all of wooden construction. The fleet continued up the river to Vicksburg. Mr. Allen's oldest brother Martin enlisted in the 15th Connecticut Infantry, leaving five children at home, and saw three years of service.

After his discharge from the army Edward Allen returned to New Haven and followed his trade in that locality for twenty years or more.

It was on August 26, 1886, that he reached San Bernardino and came direct to Redlands, the scene of new colonizing projects. This country was then completely wild. His services as a carpenter secured him employment and his first job was a building for Mr. Cooke. He superintended all the carpenter work for the Edison Company, building their first power house at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon and doing much of the carpenter work at Bear Valley Dam, erecting the present stone house and additions there. When he came to California the Zanja was plentifully supplied with trout. The Zanja artificial waterway was built by Indians, said to have used wooden shovels. During his employment in Bear Valley Mr. Allen continued his labors until snow fell and he left the valley the day before Christmas when the snow was waist deep. At that time the Bear Valley Company took all its water from Santa Ana near Warm Springs, and he constructed most of the trestle work and flumes by which the water was conveyed over the canyons supplementing the open ditches. Most of this construction has since been abandoned since steel pipe is now used where flumes were once employed.

Soon after coming to Redlands Mr. Allen bought two and a half acres on Sylvan Boulevard from George Cooke and built his present home in 1888, thirty-three years ago. This is one of California's most picturesque spots. The stream, the music of its tumbling water, the drive with its shaded way and the mountainous scenery attracted the attention of Mr. Allen at that time, and he has lived to see its full beauty realized.

In 1860 he married Miss Barbara Mathis, who was born in Connecticut April 13, 1837, and died January 12, 1917. Her parents were born in Alsace, France. Mr. and Mrs. Allen had four children: Andrew P., born in New Haven, September 24, 1861, still living in Connecticut, is married and has a son and daughter. The second of the family, Estelle, was born April 24, 1869, at New Haven, was educated there, and on February 5, 1891, was married to Edward P. Whitney. Edward Allen, Jr., born June 7, 1874, has for the past fifteen years been connected with the Fairbanks & Morse Company at Los Angeles and married Elizabeth Orr. Grace, the youngest child, born January 6, 1877, is the widow of J. Bobrick and has three children, Doris, Evelyn and Jack.

Mr. Allen's grandson, Allan Fitch Whitney, born at Redlands, September 24, 1896, was educated in the high school and Redlands University and in the fall of 1917 entered the Officers' Training: Camp at The Presidio, California. He received a commission as second lieutenant in November in the Field Artillery, and in 1918 sailed overseas on the flagship Baltic. He witnessed the torpedoing and sinking of the Tuscania, the torpedo having been aimed at the Baltic, but was observed so that the ship changed its course, the torpedo merely grazing the side and was deflected and struck the Tuscania. Lieutenant Whitney spent three months in intensive training with artillery officers at Saumur, France, and was then assigned to the One Hundred and Second Field Artillery of the Twenty-Sixth Division under General Edwards. He was in the Toul sector, was badly gassed at Chateau Thierry, rejoined his command in time to participate in the St. Mihiel drive, but was soon returned to hospital because he had not fully recovered from the effects of the gas. He was in hospital at Nevers, France, until returned an invalid to the hospital at St. Paul, Minnesota, and was discharged at The Presidio in California, in January, 1919. He is now an employe of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company at Los Angeles. September 24, 1920, Lieutenant Whitney married Grace Johnston of Honolulu.

Mr. Allen has greatly enjoyed the opportunities for outdoor life and activity in Southern California. He still keeps out of doors, and finds constant occupation at his home and in his grove. He has made and kept many friends and is one of the highly esteemed old comrades of the county.


History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011