R. J. D. W. ALLEN, was born in Washington Co., Virginia,
January 12, 1828, died January 5, 1911, lacking only one
week of being 83 years old. His ancestry on his father's
side were Scotch-Irish convenanters who left the old country
because persecuted on the account of their religious belief.
His mother's people were English, and settled in Baltimore, Maryland,
and were affiliated with the founders of Methodism in America.
The deceased was a cousin of Melville B. COX, the first missionary
sent to Africa from the United States.
In his early childhood his parents moved to Meigs county, Tenn.
where he grew to manhood on a farm. Because of persecution of his ancestry
in the old country, the spirit of liberty was naturally a part of his being,
hence when the civil war came on he espused the cause of those in bondage,
believing that , "All people are created free and equal, and endowed with
certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and pursuit
of happiness." He served three years and 3 months in actual service,
being a volunteer in Co. H., 5th Tenn. Infantry. He was active in politics,
always positive and decided in his views. He allied himself to the church and
educational life of the community, having given the land where Dryden
church and Black Jack school now stands.
In April, 1866, he came with his family to Illinois and settled on a farm in
Elk Prairie township, Jefferson county. A few years later he moved to Bald Hill
township where he spent 41 continuous yrs.
Mr. ALLEN was twice married, first to Lavina J. MCMULLEN, July 29, 1847, to
whom 5 children were born, of which 2 survive; Mrs. M. A. SMITH, of Marion, Ill. and R.
N. ALLEN, at whose home he spent the last few weeks of his life. After the death of
this companion, August 21, 1856, he was married to Elzira SMITH, August 21, 1857.
Her death occured 7 years ago today( January 7). To this union 8 children were born,
six of whom are living; W. L.; J. F.; J. H.; and Mrs. A. A. DENTON of this community;
Mrs. J. W. SMITH, of East St. Louis, and Mrs. S. A. CRENSHAW, of Carbondale. Of the thirteen
children, eight , 4 boys and 4 girls, are living and are here today. These with 26 grandchildren
constitute his living posterity.
Mr. ALLEN was baptized in infancy, converted and joined the church at about 19 years of age.
The family altar remains as one of the pleasant memories of all the children. Of the infuence
of Bro. ALLEN to this church and neighborhood eternity can tell.
Mt. Vernon Register January 16, 1911
Submitted by: Sharlet Bigham LaBarbera