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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  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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ISRAEL M. ALLEN, a prominent general agriculturist and fruit-grower of Sodus Township, Berrien County, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., March 25, 1834. His father was of New England birth, and a man of enterprise and intelligence, and was born in Connecticut in 1799. John Allen was of an adventurous and determined nature, and had left his birthplace when young and settled in the State of New York in a very early day. When the tide of emigration toward the new Western States and Territories began to take its way he became dissatisfied with the Empire State, and finally decided to try his fortunes in Michigan. While his son Israel was but an infant, John Allen, with his family, journeyed to Ypsilanti, where he bought one hundred acres of land, but, his health soon after failing, he was obliged to sell out, and removed to Portage County, Ohio.

Our subject received only very limited advantages for an education, the schools of early days being primitive in their mode of instruction, but he patiently gathered all the knowledge attainable, and later improved himself by reading and observation. Long before reaching his majority our subject was obliged to become self-sustaining, and obtained work on a canal when only a mere boy. He was engaged eight seasons in this occupation, and in 1854 journeyed to the West and settled in Pipestone Township, Berrien County, Mich. Here he purchased forty acres of land, and all alone began clearing it of the heavy timber. He entered with zeal into farming, raising the ordinary products, then the crops of Michigan.

In 1861, not long after the breaking out of the Civil War, Mr. Allen enlisted in Company I, Twelfth Michigan Infantry, and was mustered in at Niles. Owing to the sudden death of his father, in 1862, he employed a substitute, and returned to his home to look after his father’s family. November 6, 1864, he again enlisted in the same regiment for one year, during which time he participated in the battles and skirmishes at Clarendon Hills, Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Ark., and at the expiration of the twelve months was mustered out of service at Camden, Ark., and again returned home. He next engaged in the carpenter trade, and continued in that employment until 1867, when he made his permanent home in Sodus Township, where he is devoting his time to the cultivation of sixty-five acres of the best land in the State, and he is now giving a large share of his attention to the profitable pursuit of fruit-growing.

May 19, 1862, Israel Allen and Miss Sarah J. Rector were united in marriage. The union was blessed by the birth of two children, but during the absence of the husband and father in the army the wife and one child both passed away. The one surviving child, Anson Allen, is a musician, and is now playing in the orchestra of the Grand Opera House in Chicago. December 25, 1867, our subject again entered the bonds of matrimony and wedded Miss Emily Sharar, unto whom has been born two children: Chillie B., at home; and Luke M., who is an engineer. Fraternally, Mr. Allen is a member of George H. Thomas Post No. 14, G. A. R., and, politically, he is a strong Democrat, having voted the ticket continuously since the election of Buchanan. Interested in local and national issues, our subject is a loyal citizen, ever ready to assist in all matters of public welfare and improvements.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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