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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Independence 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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Dr. John Farrell Allen, a retired physician of great prominence, now residing in Batesville, was born in New Madrid County, Mo., March 29, 1824. He is a son of Samuel W. and Cecelia (LeSieur) Allen, his father a native of Alexandria, Va., and his mother a native of Missouri. The maternal grandfather was a French Canadian, whose ancestors came originally from France to Canada, and from there he moved to the State of Missouri, about the beginning of the eighteenth century, residing in that State until the time of his death. The paternal grandfather, Salathiel, was a Virginian by birth, and a sea captain who was lost at sea from his own vessel, together with a cousin, John Farrell, for whom our subject was named. Samuel W. Allen, the father of Dr. John F., died in 1863, followed by the mother in 1868. They were among the early settlers of Southeast Missouri, and were married in 1823, having but one child, a son. An incident worth noting is that for four generations only one son has been born to each family. The Doctor was reared in New Madrid County, and received his degree of A. B. in Perry County, at a Roman Catholic college. At the age of twenty years he began the study of medicine, spending two years under a private instructor, Dr. John Kirkwood. He then entered the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, Penn., and graduated in the spring of 1847. From there he came to Batesville, where he remained but a short time, when he moved to New Orleans. He stopped here only a few months, however, and in 1848 returned to Batesville and began to practice his profession, making this place his permanent home. The Doctor’s skill soon received a widespread reputation, as he was earnest in his profession, and made it his study and business. His practice was at one time probably the largest in Northern Arkansas, but within the last few years he has retired from the practice of his profession. He has accumulated considerable real estate, and owns several good farms, which are cared for by tenants. The Doctor has the credit of having given the Arkansas College, located at Batesville, its name, and is a trustee of that excellent institution of learning. He is one of the pioneer physicians who could append M. D. to his name, and became one of the most popular in Independence County, and the number of his friends are many. Dr. Allen was married, April 25, 1849, to Miss Mary E. Agnew, of Pennsylvania, a daughter of Dr. James Agnew, of Pittsburg, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1800, twenty-four years before the subject of this sketch was born. She is a sister of Chief Justice Agnew, of Pennsylvania. The Agnew family are lineal descendants of the Howells, Mrs. Allen’s grandfather, Richard Howell, being governor of New Jersey for many consecutive years, and she is also a first cousin of the wife of the Confederate leader, Jeff. Davis. Mrs. Davis is a Howell. Dr. and Mrs. Allen are the parents of four daughters and one son, only two of whom now survive the mother. Those yet living are Sarah (Mrs. Theodora Maxfield), Samuel W. and Mary. The latter and the Doctor are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he takes great interest in religious matters, as in educational affairs also, at Arkansas College, and has done a great deal for the advancement of school interests in Independence County. He has been identified with Batesville for forty-three years, as one of its leading spirits, and has the reputation of a skillful physician, and, as far as he himself is concerned, has never been upon a bed of sickness, though now in his sixty-sixth year. Active and earnest in all he undertakes, he says, jocularly, he could never find time to be sick. At heart, however, he attributes to God all his blessings, good health being one of the many.

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This family biography is one of 158 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Independence County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Independence County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

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

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