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William I. Allen

Portrait and Biographical Album
Chapman Brother 1885


William I. Allen, one of the earliest settlers of Eastern Illinois, came to the State in 1844 and to this county the year following.  He settled in the vicinity of Danville, and for three years thereafter taught the village and adjoining schools.  He entered land now occupied by Hoopeston, but at that time, a tract of uncultivated ground, over which deer, wolves, prairie chickens and other wild creatures had up to this time wandered undisturbed by man.  There was not a tree or shrub in sight and the pioneer, after erecting his cabin, frequently stood in his door and counted numbers of deer, sometimes as high as sixty in one herd.

Mr. Allen came to this county a single man, but after becoming settled was married, Oct. 17, 1848, to Miss Emily Newell.  He then commenced breaking his prairie land, and in due time put up a house and barn, set out an orchard, planted hedges and proceeded with improvements naturally suggested to one of his progressive mind and industrious habits.  He occupied his farm during the summer months and in the winter taught school, and studied and practiced law for a number of years.  Finally he sold out to Mr. Hoopes and settled six miles west where East Lynn now stands,.  By entering and purchase he acquired 3,200 acres of land which was mostly devoted to grazing, although he carried on agriculture considerably.  He put up three houses and effected other improvements, remaining there until after the outbreak of the Civil War.  He then enlisted in Company C, 12th Illinois Infantry, which regiment was first ordered to Cairo and then to Paducah, Ky.  Mr. Allen in due time was presented with a Captain’s commission, but was obliged to resign on account of disability, and returned home.

          Our subject now occupied his farm for a time, then purchased 500 acres in the vicinity  of Rossville.  A few years later he sold out once more and returned tot the northern part of East Lynn, which was located on a part of the old farm, about the time the railroad was built through.  In 1884 he went to Cherry County, Neb., but in 1888 returned to Hoopeston, where he still lives.  He has built up for himself a good record, serving as County Treasurer two terms and the same length votes with the Republican party, and is proud of the fat that in all his life he never cast a ballot for a Democrat.

            To Mr. and Mrs. Allen there were born six children, five of whom are living, namely

Hugh A. of Holt County, Neb.; Charles A., who is represented elsewhere in this work; Mary, Mrs. Thomas Van Brunt; Emily N., who is unmarried; Clyde II and Martha, who died in January 1880 at the age of twenty-three-years.  Mrs. Emily (Newell) Allen was born in Kentucky in 1824 and came to Illinois with her parents when a small child.  Newell Township was named after her father, James Newell, who was a prominent farmer and useful citizen.   Our subject’s father Asaph Allen was a native of Massachusetts, but reared in Vermont and was married to a Sarah McCloud.   They immigrated to Franklin County, Ohio, settling upon land now occupied by a part of the city of Columbus.  Finally they removed over the line into Madison County, and lived until a few years ago when the father died at the age of eighty-three.  The mother of Mr. Allen died while he was an infant.