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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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William Allen, farmer and stock-raiser, Cord, Ark. The subject of this sketch is so well known that an introduction to the public seems unnecessary. Mr. Allen is a native Tennessean, born in Wilson County, on the 24th of November, 1815, and is the son of George and Sallie (Johnson) Allen, natives, respectively, of South Carolina and North Carolina, the former born on the 2d of August, 1781, and died in June, 1867, and the latter born on the 23d of June, 1786, and died in 1851. They were married in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1805, and in 1818 he, with his family and nine other families, took a keel-boat and sailed, on the Cumberland River, for the Red River country. On their arrival at Chickasaw Bluffs (now Memphis), they were informed that the commissioners were negotiating for the Northwest Territory; and as the treaty was successfully completed, and the Territory included the portion of country they were then in, they settled there, two miles east of the present site of the town of Memphis. They remained in the western part of Tennessee for six years, engaged in farming and hunting, and bought a herd of wild cattle, which they had great difficulty in managing. Some stories connected with their wild woods experiences were very exciting and interesting. Seeing that the rapid settlement of the country was dispersing the game, Mr. Allen removed with his family to Independence County, Ark., settled in Oil Trough Bottom, which was then a dense and pathless canebrake, abounding in wild animals, and after remaining there a few months, came to Bayou Curie Creek, and bought a small farm, where he passed his last days. He was an old-line Whig, and was under Gen. Jackson in the War of 1812. His father was a Revolutionary soldier. He was a great lover of hunting, and followed this pursuit as long as he lived, killing a deer only a few months before his death. He died at the age of seventy-seven, and his wife at the age of seventy-five, both members of the society of the Latter Day Saints. William Allen was reared to farm life, and received a limited education in the common schools of Arkansas. He was but fourteen or fifteen years of age when he came with his parents to this State, and was well schooled in the woodcraft of those pioneer days. He was reared principally on bear and deer meat. He assisted his father in clearing land, and in other farm-work, until seventeen years of age, when he hired to a man at Batesville, to assist a gang of men in clearing 300 acres of the heavy bottom land opposite Memphis. Here he worked for three months at $12 per month (his first earned money), and then returned to his home in Arkansas. He then engaged in farming, raised a crop, and hired out the same year to William Strong for $20 per month. Strong was a Government contractor, and young Allen worked on the Memphis & Little Rock Railroad, known then as the St. Louis & Little Rock road. In 1837 Mr. Allen secured employment as fire man on a steamboat, and later assisted in the building of a house in Batesville. During the winter of 1838 he worked in Oil Trough Bottom, gathering corn, and in 1839 he made a crop on the same farm. On the 26th of January, 1840, he wedded Miss Sarah Speers, a native of Lauderdale County, Ala., and the same year made a crop in Lawrence County. Also, the same year, he moved to Independence County, and on the 23d of March, 1841, settled on the place where he now lives. When he first came there, there were a small log cabin on it, and 800 rails split. He at once began clearing land, and erected suitable buildings, erecting the house in which he now lives in 1843. During that year and the two following he ran rafts of cypress logs to New Orleans, and on his return from that city, in 1849, he bought a land warrant for $125 from a Mexican soldier (James Bullard), and laid the same on the 160 acres of land where he lived, thus securing title to the same. Since that time he has added to his farm, until he has now 480 acres, with 200 acres cleared. He has on this farm three tenant houses. To his first marriage were born seven children, only one now living, William T., who was born December 30, 1863, is married, and is one of the prosperous farmers of Independence County. Of the deceased, all of whom were daughters: Two died in infancy; Mrs. Nancy J. Lawrence was born on the 10th of February, 1841, and died in September, 1866; Mrs. Polly A. Young, was born October 20, 1846, and died in September, 1866; Mrs. Julia Young, was born on the 8th of April, 1849, and died on the 6th of March, 1881, and Mrs. Sarah E. Lambert, born March 23, 1851, and died on the 11th of November, 1874. The mother of these children, Mrs. Sarah (Speers) Allen, died on the 13th of November, 1875, and was a woman loved and esteemed by all who knew her. On the 25th of December, 1876, Mr. Allen married Mrs. Abbie Ann (McDougall) Smart, relict of William P. Smart, a farmer of Tennessee. She is the daughter of Robert and Amanda (May) McDougall, the latter still living and making her home with her daughter (Mrs. Allen). She is now eighty-seven years of age. Mrs. (Smart) Allen has four children: Rufus, living in Oregon; Abbie A. is the wife of Andrew Parr, farmer of Black River Township; Amanda is the widow of Nelson N. Winkles, and Lutie is the wife of William Winkles, and lives in Black River Township. Mr. Allen has given his attention to agricultural pursuits all his life, and has been successful. He votes with the Republican party, but does not take an active part in politics. His first presidential vote was cast for William H. Harrison, and his last for Benjamin Harrison. He gives an amusing account of the former campaign, of the log-cabin, cider drinking, cheering, etc. During the late war he remained at home, never entering the service, but was in sympathy with the Union. He has never aspired to office, though frequently solicited by his friends to do so; has never submitted, but has served his full share on the grand jury. He is a member of Bayou Dota Lodge No. 126, A. F. & A. M. Mrs. Allen is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

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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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