This highly honored veteran of the great American Rebellion and retired farmer is a familiar figure about Belle Rive being the worthy representative of one of the pioneer fanies of Jefferson county. Finding in his native county wide fields in which to give full scope to his industry and enterprise-his dominant qualities he preferred to remain here rather than seek uncertain fortune in other states, with the result that he is comfortably situated in his old age and has nothing to regret regarding the past.

James A. Allen was horn in Jefferson county, Illinois, February 22, 1839. his birthday occurring on that of the great Wasbington, whom the subject reverences. He is the son of Rhodam and Lucinda (Atwood) Allen. Grandfather Allen was born in Virginia, but moved to Illinois, where he died at an advanced age and Grandmother (nee Wilkinson) Allen also lived to a very old age. They were the parents of five children, and in their religious life supported the Methodist church. Grandfather Atwood, who was born in West Virginia, moved to Kentucky, thence to Illinois where he died when about Sixty years of age. His wife died when sixty five years old. The subject's father, who was reared in Virginia, moved to Kentucky, later to Mississippi and finally to Illinois in about 1818. He took up land in Jefferson county, devoting his life to fanning and to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church. He died at the age of sixty-six years and his wife when seventy-one years old. She, too, was always a Methodist.

Our subject received his education in the old time log cabin schools, which he attended a few months each winter.

Mr. Allen worked on his father's farm until August 6, 1861, when. feeling that it was his duty to offer his services in behalf of his country, he enlisted in Company I, Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry. His first battle was at Pea Ridge, Arkansas; then he fought at Perryville, Kentucky, and at the great battle of Stone River, where he lost the hearing of one ear by concussion. He was wounded at Perryville. He then fought in the sanguinary conffict at Chickamauga, where he received a wound from which he has never recovered, having lost use of his right arm. He served in a most faithful and praiseworthy manner for a period of three years and three months. He was taken prisoner and was confined in the prison at Andersonville and also at Libby prison, the latter for sitttyseven days. Mr. Allen is now receiving twenty-four dollars per month pension on account of his wounds.

Our subject has devoted his life to farming, which he has made a success. having been actively engaged up to 1890 when he retired and bought property at Belle Rive, Jefferson county, where he has since lived.

Mr. Allen was united in marriage first in 1866 to Elizabeth Taylor, a native of Tennessee. Four children were born to this union, only one of whom is now living, named Norman C.. who is married and has five children. The subject's first wife died in 1873 and he again married in 1875, his second wife being Mary Sursa, who was born in this township (Pendleton). Her father was a native of Jefferson county and her mother of Ohio. Mrs. Allen's father was a soldier in the Union army, a member of Company E, Eightieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and he died in the service, hemg buried at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Three children were born to the subject and his second wife

namely: Inez, the wife of H. B. McMiken; Fleta, the second child, is the wife of Chirstopher Henelbach,. and the mother of one child; Mattie, the third child, is the wife of Alba Marlow, and the mother of one child. Fannie, the subject's daughter by his first wife, married Jerry Burns, and to her six children were born. She died April15, 1907.

Mr. Allen in his fraternal relations is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He also belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, each of the above organizations to which he belongs being at Belle Rive. Mr. and Mrs. Allen are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. The former is a loyal Republican. Grandfather Allen was an original Abolitionist and he was Constable for one term. Our subject in many ways inherits the worthy traits of his grandfather, and he is held in high favor among the people of his town and township.

Walls History Of Jefferson County 1909 pg 494-496
Sumitted By: Misty Flannigan 

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