My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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.

* * * *

HON. WILLIAM J. ALLEN, LL. B., of the United States District Court for southern Illinois. In presenting to the readers of this volume the biography of Judge Allen, we are perpetuating the life work of one of the most honored residents of the state. Throughout a long, honorable and influential career, he has maintained that energy and integrity which characterized his earlier years. Nor has his success been merely in accumulating wealth, but in the better sense of the word, he has been successful in serving others, in doing good and in winning the respect and esteem of a very large circle of acquaintances. Laborious and patient, exhibiting by his life his self-reliant spirit and strong individuality, the influence he unconsciously exerts has a future as well as a present bearing upon the progress of this section of the state.

The record of the life of Willis Allen, father of the Judge, is one of which his descendants may justly be proud. Possessed of that indefatigable industry and legal ability which was later so abundantly evinced by the son of whom we write, he became eminent in the political circles of southern Illinois. He was born in Tennessee in December, 1806, and there married Miss Elizabeth Joiner. In 1830 he came to Illinois and commenced farming in what was then Franklin County. He served as Sheriff, Representative and State Senator, and in 1841 was elected State’s Attorney for the Circuit. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1847, and of Congress from 1851 until 1855. As a lawyer he was successful, and at the time of his death was Judge of the Circuit Court. He died in April, 1859, while his wife, who was born in 1807, survived him three years, passing away in 1862. They left three sons and two daughters.

Born in Wilson County, Tenn., June 9, 1829, our subject was brought by his parents to Illinois when an infant. He received his literary education at a boarding school, and was graduated in 1849 from the Law School of Louisville, Ky. Opening an office at Metropolis, Ill., he removed from there to Williamson County in 1853, and practiced in Marion until 1854, when he was elected to the Lower House of the State Legislature. In the spring of 1855 he was appointed United States District Attorney, and four years later resigned that position to resume the practice of law at Marion. He was elected Circuit Judge to succeed his father in 1859, holding the office until December, 1861, when he became a member of the Constitutional Convention. In the spring of 1862 he was elected to Congress, and there served on the Committee on Claims, also the Committees on Territories and Commerce.

Next we find Judge Allen located at Cairo, Ill., where he remained until 1874, and whence he removed to Carbondale. During his residence in these cities he devoted his attention to the practice of his chosen profession, being employed by Governor Beveridge to prosecute the Williamson County vendetta. This delicate and dangerous service he performed with fearlessness and distinguished ability, convicting all the leaders and restoring peace to the community. In 1886 he removed from Carbondale to Springfield, and in June of that year formed a partnership with C. C. Brown & Son, the firm name being Allen, Brown & Brown. This partnership was continued until our subject was appointed in 1887 to his present Judgeship. Throughout his entire life he has been a stanch supporter of Democratic principles.

The marriage of Judge Allen and Miss Annie McKeen, of Maryland, was celebrated in December, 1858. Mrs. Allen was born in 1840, and is a daughter of Hugh Blair and Ursula McKeen, natives of Maryland, and now deceased. Of the union of Judge and Mrs. Allen, six children were born, five of whom are now living, namely: Willis, Miriam, Robert M., Louise and John B.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.