Charles Chester Allen
As published in
"The City of Kenosha and Kenosha County Wisconsin: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement"
by Frank H. Lyman Vol. 2, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1916.
The history of Kenosha County, would be incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent reference to the Allen family which through three generations has figured most actively in the promotion of manufacturing interests here. It is true that Charles C. Allen entered upon a business already established, but in enlarging and developing this many a man of less resolute spirit would have failed. His record also proves that success is not a matter of genius and held by some, but is rather the outcome of clear judgment, experience and initiative. Charles Chester Allen is today at the head of the Chicago-Kenosha Hosiery Company, operating the largest exclusive hosiery business in the U. S.
Mr. Allen was born March 19, 1880, in the city in which he still resides, his parents being Charles W. and Ella (French) Allen. His father, also a native of Kenosha, was educated in the public schools here, and in 1870 was admitted to partnership with his father, Nathan R. Allen, in the firm of N. R. Allen & Son. For a considerable period that firm furnished employment to a large share of the industrial population of Kenosha. After ten years another son, Nathan, Jr., was admitted to partnership and the firm style was changed to N. R. Allen & Sons, and following the death of the senior partner in 1890 the name of N. R. Allen's Sons Company was assumed. The manufacturing industry of this firm covered a wide scope, furnishing employment to a thousand people and their tanning plant is said to have exceeded in size and importance that of any other establishment of similar character in the world.
On the 4th of April 1878, Charles W. Allen was united in marriage to Miss Ella French, a daughter of Alvin and Nancy (Stevens) French. Alvin French was one of the honored pioneer settlers of Wisconsin, establishing his home about three miles from Kenosha in 1835. To Mr and Mrs. Allen were born two sons and a daughter, Charles C., Robert W., and Gertrude E. The father, continued at the head of the large interests of the N. R. Allen's Sons Company until death terminated his connection therewith in 1911.
Charles Chester Allen pursued a public school education in Kenosha to the age of eighteen years, and then became a student in the engineering department of the University of Wisconsin, where he remained for three years. His initial business training was received under the direction of his father and he acquainted himself with every phase of the interests conducted by the family, serving as President of the N. R. Allen's Sons Company from 1910 until 1912. His activities cover a very wide scope, and have featured most prominently in the material development and upbuilding of the city. He is now identified with the Chicago-Kenosha Hosiery Company as its President, and his study of questions affecting the trade has resulted in well defined plans for the improvement, development and promotion of the business. While he is not actuated by any spirit of vaulting ambition, he does not hesitate to take a forward step when the way is open, and his initiative has enabled him to take the lead in instituting plans and methods which have been effectively resultant.
On the 15th of April, 1903, Mr. ALLEN was married to Miss Susan Keels Swandale, of Greenville, South Carolina, and they have three children: Charles William, Tupper Swandale, and Chester French. Charles Chester Allen is preeminently a business man, alert and enterprising, free from ostentation and display. On meeting him, one at once recognizes his reserve strength and feels that he would go at once to the root of matters, and not be led astray by dissimulation or over emphasis of a minor point.
Typed by: Michelle Laycock