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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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ROSWELL HALL ALLEN, a progressive and successful farmer of Prescott and one of the oldest residents of the town, having resided there since 1828, was born in Wilbraham, Mass., March 19, 1824. His parents were Roswell and Beulah (Chapin) Allen, the former a native of East Windsor, Conn., born January 2, 1798, the latter of Enfield, Conn., born October 13, 1796. The Allen family were for many years well and favorably known in the vicinity of Windsor, Conn.

Mr. Allen’s first ancestor in this country, Samuel Allen, who was born in Braintree, Essex County, England, came to America in 1632, settling first in Cambridge, Mass., and later removing to Hartford, and then to Windsor, Conn. He died at the latter place, April 28, 1648, at the age of sixty years. The grandfather of Roswell Hall Allen, who was also named Samuel, was born in East Windsor, June 16, 1764, and there spent his life, engaged in farming. He was an industrious and competent farmer, and attained a fair degree of prosperity. A boy of eleven when the Revolution commenced, he grew to manhood in the years when the Republic was in embryo, and became an ardent patriot, ready to do all in his power to protect the infant institutions of his country. He died in East Windsor, October 11, 1841. Samuel Allen was three times married. His first wife, Mary Allen, who was the grandmother of our subject, bore seven children: Samuel (first), Mary, Samuel (second), Harvey, Roswell, Cynthia, and Laura. His second wife, who was Azuba Moody, widow of Joseph Moody, was born January 5, 1765; and his third wife’s name before marriage was Hannah Gleason.

Roswell Allen, the father of Mr. Allen, left East Windsor in 1823, moving to Wilbraham, where he lived five years, engaged principally in general farming, and aided materially in the building of the old Wilbraham Academy. In 1828 he moved to Prescott, and settled in the neighborhood of his son’s present residence, purchasing first seventy acres of land, and afterward adding to this until he owned quite a large tract. Progressive in his views and enterprising in his methods of procedure, he soon took a leading place in the town, and filled various public offices. He represented the district in the General Court in 1839 and 1840, and was also Selectman, Overseer of the Poor, and Assessor. His political principles were at first those of a Whig, but later those of a Democrat. He was a member of the Congregational church, and on religious subjects his opinions were broad and liberal. He died April 28, 1868, in Belchertown, where the last twenty-three years of his life were spent. His wife followed him to the grave nine years later, passing away May 16, 1877. They were the parents of eight children, namely: Roswell Hall, the subject of this article, who is the eldest; Persis C., born March 9, 1826, who died July 18, 1840; Samuel, born August 14, 1828, a farmer and surveyor of Belchertown; Cornelia B. (now Mrs. Cowle), born April 11, 1831, who resides in Milton; Diantha, born August 29, 1833, wife of Robert Lyman, of Northampton; George, born February 16, 1836, who died May 9, 1857; Albert E., born February 27, 1839, a farmer in Longmeadow, Mass.; and Guy C, born April 27, 1841, a farmer in Belchertown.

Roswell Hall Allen, who was a boy of four years when his parents removed to Prescott, received his education in the schools of that town, and taught school for six terms. When twenty-two years of age, he hired out as a farm hand at twelve dollars a month, and at the end of a season of seven months had drawn but five dollars of his wages, reserving the rest to purchase land for a homestead. In this way he worked until 1852, when he made his first purchase, consisting of seventy acres, the nucleus of the farm in Prescott on which he now resides. To this he has since added, and in all he is owner of two hundred acres of good land. Mr. Allen has worked hard and long to attain the prosperity which he now enjoys; and the well-kept buildings and flourishing condition of the farm, which is one of the best in the town, silently witness to the thrift and enterprise of the owner.

Mr. Allen was twice married. The first occasion was on April 5, 1848, when Sarah C. Hyde, of Prescott, became his wife. She was born in that town, February 18, 1825, and was a daughter of Andrew and Sarah (Child) Hyde. Andrew Hyde, who was born in Pelham, Mass., November 3, 1790, lived in Pelham when the town was new, and worked at shoemaking. He died there, December 2, 1854. His wife, who was born in Roxbury, Mass., November 23, 1795, died June 4, 1847. They were the parents of four children, namely: Sarah C., the wife of Mr. Allen; Martha A., born December 5, 1827; Andrew, born February 16, 1829; and Mary E., born December 28, 1830. An adopted son, Andrew O., who was born February 2, 1842, died in Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, during the late war. Mrs. Allen died February 10, 1861. She was the mother of the following children: George F., born December 12, 1848, a farmer in Prescott; a daughter, born February 13, 1850, who died in infancy; Calvin C., born February 21, 1851, who died thirteen months after birth; Mary E., born August 11, 1853, who died January 16, 1867; Edward H., born August 21, 1855, a farmer, who died April 6, 1893; Delia P., born December 24, 1856, who is living with her father; Sarah B., born November 7, 1858, who died February 28, 1874; and Franklin R., born August 16, 1860, a graduate of Amherst in the class of 1882, and now a lawyer by profession and District Attorney in Minnesota. Mr. Allen’s second marriage took place August 28, 1861, when he was united to Melinda Shaw, of Prescott, who was born in New Salem, April 10, 1817.

Mr. Allen votes with the Republican party, and has been Selectman, Assessor, and Overseer of the Poor. In religious work he is also active, and is a prominent member of the Congregational church. He and his wife, both being over seventy years of age, are counted among the oldest residents of the town. He still engages in farm work, and in it displays remarkable activity.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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