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GURDON F. ALLYN, farmer and auctioneer of Salem, New London County, Conn., was born at Gale's Ferry, in the town of Ledyard, this State, October 1, 1826, son of Gurdon L. and Sarah S. (Bradford) Allyn. His paternal grandfather, Nathan Allyn, was the captain of a merchantman sailing to the West India Islands. He married a Miss Lester, by whom he had three children Hannah, Nathan, and Gurdon L. His death occurred on a return voyage from the West Indies, and he was buried at sea. Mrs. Allyn survived her husband, and lived a widow for many years, dying at the age of eighty. Her daughter Hannah married John D. Bradford. Both sons followed the sea. Gurdon L. Allyn, who was the third child, sailed with his father when only eleven years of age. He became the master of a vessel at the age of twenty-two, and later was part owner of many vessels and in various enterprises. He made two whaling voyages, one of two and one of four years duration; and he shipped guano off the coast of Africa, on the Island of Ichaboe, when this rich deposit was first opened up. He had previously known of this new product, and thought of going to Africa; but, when he made his first trip, the English had opened it, and he paid twenty-five hundred dollars for the privilege of using one of the stagings, the only wharf there. He was also in the guano trade from Patagonia. An active, enterprising, and rather adventurous man, making and losing large sums by his open-handed ways and confiding nature, he left at the time of his death only a fair estate. He participated in the Civil War in the war vessel "St. Lawrence," of which he was acting master, though not the captain. While in Hampton Roads the vessel was fired upon by the rebels, and some of the flying shot and shell entered the cabin, one cutting off a leg of the table at which he was seated, engaged in writing. Coming from Gale's Ferry to Salem in 1839, he purchased a farm, a grist-mill, and a sawmill, and had his home here until 1863. He left the sea at the age of eighty, and spent his last years at Gale's Ferry, dying in 1891, at the age of ninety-two. His wife, who was a daughter of Adonijah Fitch and Sarah (Dolbeare) Bradford, died two years before at the age of eighty-nine. They had five children, of whom three lived to maturity. The firstborn, an infant son, died in infancy; Gurdon F. was the second child; James M. died on the Isthmus of Panama on his way from Peru to California in 1855, at the age of twenty-three years; the fourth child died young; and the fifth, Sarah E., wife of Thomas Latham, lives at Gale's Ferry.

Mr. Gurdon F. Allyn was educated at Bacon Academy. On March 7, 1851, he married Sarah Raymond Dolbeare, a native of East Lynie and a daughter of John and Eunice (Morgan) Dolbeare, of East Haddam. Mr. and Mrs. Allyn have no children; but they have fostered one boy, Herbert E. Beard, \vho is now a dealer or travelling trader in milk and produce. He is married and has one son. Mr. and Mrs. Allyn came to their present home about thirty-three years ago. The farm consists of one hundred and forty-five acres, for which they paid twenty-three hundred dollars. The house is more than a century old, and was in former days the halfway tavern on the stage road from Essex to Norwich.

Mr. Allyn is an adherent of the Republican party, has served as First Selectman, has represented Salem in the legislature at three different times, has also been School Visitor, and has held other minor offices. He is a Deacon of the Congregational church and superintendent of the Sunday-school. He has been the town auctioneer for the past twenty-five years; and, though he began the business with diffidence, he has abundantly proved his skill and efficiency in conducting public sales. Although the greater part of his life has been spent as a landsman and in New London County, Mr. Allyn has travelled and seen something of the world. When nineteen years of age he sailed with his father to the coast of Africa, and on the return voyage visited the grave of Napoleon on the Isle of St. Helena.

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Biographical Review   Volume XXVI
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company - 1898
pgs 254 - 257

Charles Prentice ALEXANDER
Ruth Elizabeth ALLEN
Calvin ALLYN
Charles ALLYN
Gurdon F. ALLEN
John Turner ALLEN
Christopher L. AVERY
George Albert AYER
Nathan H. AYER


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April 2002