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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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ROBERT R. ALLEN owns and resides upon a finely-improved farm in Cass County, and is numbered among the most prosperous general agriculturists in Howard Township, of which he is a prominent citizen. He was born in Cayuga County, N. Y., October 28, 1829. His father, Asa L. Allen, was born in the Green Mountain State on the 30th of April, 1796, and in his youth learned the trade of a harness-maker and saddler, which he followed for some time at East Greenwich, N. Y. The lady whom he married bore the maiden name of Diantha Dean, and was born in New York on the 19th of June, 1801.

After his marriage the senior Mr. Allen located in East Greenwich, where for many years he engaged in the business of a harness manufacturer. In 1840 he came to Berrien County, Mich., and located in Weesaw Township, where he purchased a tract of heavily timbered land and commenced the improvement of a farm. In the little log cabin which he erected, the family resided for some time, and the home, although an humble one, was blessed with happy hearts and serene contentment. In their advanced years they removed to Niles, where both died, the father on the 4th of April, 1854, and the mother November 5, 1860.

In the parental family there were eight children, as follows: Adaline, who was born October 15, 1821, and is now deceased; John L., whose birth occurred October 25, 1823, now residing in Niles; Charles L., born May 25, 1826, now of Niles; Robert R., of this sketch; Harriet M., who was born November 2, 1832; Albert, July 16, 1834, and now deceased; Harvey S., born August 18, 1836, also deceased; and Minerva T., whose birth occurred on the 18th of August, 1838, and who is now deceased. Of this family our subject is the fourth in order of birth. He spent his early childhood years in New York, and after coming to Michigan attended school for about three years during the intervals of farm labor.

At the age of fourteen, Mr. Allen began to be self-supporting, and for a time worked by the month on a farm. After coming to Michigan he learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner, working for three years in the employ of Alfred Johnson, in Niles. Altogether he spent about twelve years at his trade, and assisted in the erection of houses in town and throughout the country. During a portion of the twelve years he was with the Michigan Central Railroad as foreman over the carpenters on depots and bridges. In 1858 he exchanged the duties of his trade for the calling of a farmer, and at that time came to the farm whereon he has since resided. During the same year he was united in marriage with Emily Abbe, who was born in Van Buren County, Mich., in 1839. They are the parents of two daughters: Grace, who is a graduate of the Niles school; and May, a graduate of the Niles school and of the Ypsilanti State Normal School in 1888, now a teacher in the schools of Benton Harbor.

When Mr. Allen located on his present homestead, there were no improvements here, but through industry he has succeeded in bringing it up to a high state of cultivation. The property consists of one hundred and ninety-eight and one-half acres, and is embellished with modern improvements, chief among which may be mentioned the fine residence, which was erected in 1880 at a cost of $3,000. There are also substantial barns and other outbuildings to be found on all first-class farms. A Republican politically, he does not take any active part in public affairs other than to cast his ballot for the candidates of his party. He is a strong temperance man, and has never used tobacco in any form. He is identified with the Temple of Honor, being a prominent member in that organization. In his religious connections he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Niles, in which he has served as Trustee and Steward; he has also officiated as Trustee of the Methodist Episcopal District Camp Meeting at Crystal Springs.

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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 Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

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

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