MJH, Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project © 2000


One of the prominent and influential citizens of Kearney, Nebr., as well as one of the oldest settlers in this section of the state, is Homer J. Allen. Born in Erie county, Pa., in 1848, he came to this state while the major part of our beautiful and now well-settled territory was literally a howling wilderness. His father, Josiah N. Allen, was a Congregational preacher, born in Otsego county, N.Y., but while an infant moving with his parents to Erie county, Pa., where the earlier years of our subject were passed. It was in 1872 that Josiah N. Allen emigrated with a colony of neighbors and friends to this county, locating near the present village of Shelton. His entire life has been given to the Master's service, his labors having begun as early as 1858. He is still alive and resides near Shelton, where he first located. He can tell many an interesting and thrilling tale of pioneer experience, but for these there is scarcely room in a brief sketch like this. Suffice it to say that he preached the first sermon in what is now Buffalo county, and also married the first couple. His faithful wife, Polly Miller, a native of Erie county, Pa., was born on the third of August, 1837, and still lives to share the comforts and trials of his declining years. The Allens trace their lineage back to Samuel P., the great-grandfather of Homer J., who was of English descent. His son, Clother B., was born in New York State, but passed the greater part of his later life in Erie county, Pa., whither his son, as above stated, had emigrated about 1827. He died there at the age of seventy-seven years.

The subject of this sketch is the eldest of six children, of whom five are still living. Emogene, wife of a Mr. George, is a resident of Custer county, this state; Ernestine, now S.J. Hedges, lives near Sidney, Nebr.; Milly, wife of Stephen Stonebarger, lives at Shelton; Mertie B. lives with her parents at Shelton; Hadley Dean is dead.

Our subject was reared up a farm boy in Erie county, Pa., and during his boyhood years attended the common schools of that state; but at the age of twenty-one, desiring to still further increase his fund of knowledge, he entered the excellent normal school located at Edinboro, Pa. It was his intention to take the entire course at this school, but his labors were broken in upon by an accident which he met at the end of his second term, and which precluded his further attendance until other interests seemed to make it impossible for him to carry out his original intention. The remaining time that he lived in Pennsylvania was devoted to farming, and when, in 1872, having accumulated a little property, he came to Nebraska and bought eighty acres of land located about two miles southwest of Shelton.

He is one of the many men who have demonstrated beyond a doubt that good business habits, coupled with industry, will make a success of farming in Nebraska. Beginning with but eighty acres, he gradually added to his landed possessions till at the present time he owns four hundred and twenty acres. Mr. Allen continued the business of farming up to the year 1883, when his fellow-citizens, deeming his services would be of value to them, elected him to the office of county treasurer, and, for the better discharge of his duty, he in that year removed to Kearney, the county seat. At the end of his first term he was re-elected, holding the office continuously from his first election in the fall of 1883 until 1888. His services in this capacity were entirely satisfactory to his constituents. He has, since 1888, been engaged in the abstract and real estate business, which he still follows. He is, however, interested in various other commercial enterprises, having been active in organizing the Kearney National Bank, one of the strongest concerns in the city of Kearney, of which he has been a stockholder from its incipiency, and during a large portion of that time one of the directors. He is also treasurer of the Kearney Land and Investment Company, which company he also assisted in organizing.

Mr. Allen was married in 1875, March 18, to Phoebe S. Hotchkiss, of Erie county, Pa. Three children have come to bless this union - Elmer W., Edna M., and Leon. Mr. Allen and his wife are both members of the Congregational church of this place.

In the midst of his arduous and successful business enterprises, Mr. Allen has found time to develop the social side of his nature as well. He is a Knight Templar, member of Mount Hebron Commandery No. 12, and is also a member of the shrine located at Omaha. He is also connected with the A.O.U.W. of this place. Mr. Allen is a staunch republican in politics, but, as will be seen from the foregoing sketch has preferred the more congenial walks of a business life to the turmoil and intrigue of a political career. He is a man of fine and commanding presence, and, best of all, has the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens. In a city which can, perhaps, boast a larger number of enterprising and able men than the average city of its size, Homer J. Allen occupies an honorable place.

From BIOGRAPHICAL SOUVENIR of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, and Phelps in Nebraska, Chicago, F.A. Battey and Company, 1890.
Submitted by Diane Shada.

Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project