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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Clay County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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Capt. John J. Allen was born in Lee County, Ga., on the 2nd of July, 1841, and is the son of Edward M. and Mary J. (Knight) Allen. The father was born in the “Palmetto State” in 1819 of Scotch-Irish parents, and was a mechanic and gin wright, making machines by hand. He was taken to Georgia when small, and was there reared to manhood. During the Indian troubles in the Southern States, especially in Florida, Mr. Allen participated as a private, and received in payment for his services a land warrant for 160 acres, and in 1853 chose the land on which Capt. John J. Allen now resides. Prior to this, however, he took a trip through Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and the Indian Territory, making the journey on horseback, a distance of 3,000 miles. He then returned to Georgia, and the following year (1853) located in Arkansas, the nearest post-office at that time being sixteen miles distant, and the second nearest (Pocahontas) fifty miles distant. The families of McNiel, Nettles, Wooter, Singleton, Copeland, Sexton and White, were the only ones within a radius of ten miles. Wild animals roamed the country at will, and Indians were also very numerous. Schools were almost unknown, and Mr. Allen assisted in building many of the first houses. John G. Taylor, a Missionary Baptist minister, came with Mr. Allen to the State, and preached the first sermon in Northeast Arkansas. The latter opened thirty acres of land the first year, which was heavily covered with timber. He was a slave owner, and served for twelve months in the Confederate army under Price, holding the rank of captain, when here signed on account of his age. He died in 1877. His wife was born in Jasper County, Ga., about 1822, and was there married to Mr. Allen, by whom she became the mother of ten children: William A., John J., Elizabeth J., Edward M., Thomas M., living to be grown, and the following dying in infancy: Martha, Stapie, and two infants. Mrs. Allen died in 1860, and Mr. Allen then married Sarah J. Palmer, who bore him five children: Robert, Georgia L., George W., Willie, and Odus. Capt. Allen, our subject, has resided in Arkansas since twelve years of age, but spent his entire school days in Georgia. He was reared on the farm on which he is now residing, and remained at home until his marriage at the age of eighteen years, when he was engaged in farming until 1861. Then he enlisted in Company H, Fifth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war, participating in many battles: Helena, Fredericksburg, Boonville, Lexington, Newtonia, and many others of less note. He enlisted as a private, but was promoted to captain, and was then transferred to the cavalry, serving two years. After coming home he engaged in farming, and in 1868 opened a mercantile establishment at Scatterville, and followed this occupation in connection with ginning for four years. He then removed to Tilton, where he was occupied in business until August, 1888, since which time he has been one of the successful business men of Rector. He has been a large speculator in land, and in addition to his farm, runs a stave factory and saw-mill. His farm comprises about 4,000 acres, and he has 2,200 acres in Greene County, besides considerable land in other districts, all of which is the result of his own labor. He was married to Miss Permelia L. McNiel, a daughter of Neil McNiel. She was born in Clay County, Ark., and she and Capt. Allen are the parents of five children: Mary L., James B., Minnie A., Myrtie, and Charles A. In 1872 Mrs. Allen died, and Mr. Allen then married Nancy O. McNiel, a sister of his first wife. Their children are: George M., Gertrude, Harry P., Carrie, and Leonard W. Capt. Allen has never been a political man, the highest office he ever held being that of notary public. He is one of the best known men in the county, and is a member of the I. O. O. F., the Knights of Pythias, and the Masonic fraternity, and has long been connected with the Missionary Baptist Church.

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This family biography is one of 124 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Clay County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Clay County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Clay County, Arkansas family biographies here: Clay County, Arkansas Biographies

View a map of 1889 Clay County, Arkansas here: Clay County, Arkansas Map

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