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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  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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JOHN P. ALLEN of Marathon enjoys the distinction of being a skillful, clear-sighted and well informed farmer, who has contributed largely to the growth and prosperity of his native town. He is a son of Prentiss and Lydia (Kinyon) Allen, and was born in the town of Marathon, March 26, 1846.

The grandfather, Seymour Allen, was born in Connecticut, and died there. Prentiss S. Allen was born in Groton, Conn., November 8, 1803, where he received his early training. He remained at home until about the year 1827, when he thought it best to find a more satisfactory habitation and came to New York State, locating first at Pharsalia, Chenango County, where he lived seven years, laboring daily at the trade which he had mastered in his boyhood days in Connecticut. In 1834 he moved to the town of Cincinnatus, thence to the town of Willet, and in 1873 to the town of Marathon, where he continued to reside. In his later years he abandoned the carpenter trade and gave his attention to farming, in which he was engaged at the time of his death, June 7, 1887. He was a Democrat, but never an office seeker. He was married to Lydia Kinyon, daughter of Israel Kinyon of McDonough, Chenango County. They were the parents of the following named children: Benjamin, born March 21, 1833; Cynthia, born August 6, 1835, residing in Marathon — she was twice married, first to Rensselaer Fritts, last time to Robert Bach; Isabel, born June 12, 1842; and John P., the subject of this biography.

John P. Allen received the advantages usually accorded farmer lads, was an attendant of the district schools, and absorbed a great deal of practical knowledge as he grew to manhood on his father’s farm. For a number of years agriculture was his main pursuit, but on March 1, 1877, he embarked in the mercantile business, which he conducted at Texas Valley, carrying a general line of goods. He operated this store for ten years, having a large trade among the most desirable class. A few years prior to this he had purchased a fine farm of 140 acres in the town of Marathon, and upon this he moved when he retired from the mercantile business. Mr. Allen has been married three times: first to Lizzie McMahon, March 10, 1886, by whom he had one child, born January 6, 1887; his second union was with Addie E. Fish, January 6, 1892, and to them was born one daughter, Ruth E., March 2, 1893; his present wife is Mrs. Carrie Walrath, whom he married February 5, 1896. To Mr. and Mrs. Allen has been given one child, J. Prentiss, born August 6, 1897.

Since quitting the store, Mr. Allen has busied himself with his farm and has continued to improve it, until it is second to none in the county, either in the quality of the land or in the buildings erected upon it. He has the largest and best appointed barns in his section, and his house is a model of comfort and convenience, having been built with that particular object in view. In addition to the farm upon which he is living, he owns the old Allen homestead, the farm upon which he was born and grew to manhood, and which is located in the town of Marathon, about four miles from the village. It contains ninety-seven acres of land, which is kept in the best possible condition. Mr. Allen, aside from the affection he cherishes for the old home, believes that to make a piece of good ground profitable, care is necessary in each department. He is a man of domestic tastes, caring little for clubs or societies, and finding his greatest enjoyment at his own hearthstone. As a progressive and superior agriculturist of the county, we place Mr. Allen’s portrait* on a preceding page, accompanied by that of his wife, who ranks high in the esteem of her neighbors.

*A portrait was included in the original printed volume.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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