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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.

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JOHN R. ALLEN. In the perusal of this volume the reader is doubtless impressed with the fact that it is not accident that helps a man on in the world, but persistent energy and unceasing industry. The life of John R. Allen affords an illustration of the fact that he who is shrewd to discern opportunities and quick to grasp them will attain a high place in the regard of his fellow-men. A laborious, painstaking man, his was a life of diligence, honor and success, and when the sun of time sank below the horizon of eternity it was felt by all who knew him that a good man had gone to his final reward. At his death, which occurred August 26, 1890, he was one of the leading business men of Sparta, and had for many years been intimately identified with the progressive interests and rapid advancement of the city. The people of his community attested to their esteem for him by electing him Mayor of Sparta in 1889, which position was unsolicited by him.

Andrew M. Allen, the father of our subject, was born in the year 1810, in Preble County, Ohio, and when a lad of six years removed with his parents to this county, locating near Evansville. Andrew M. continued to reside at home until 1827, when, his mother having died the previous year, the household was broken up, and his father made his home thereafter with his children until his decease, which occurred July 5, 1845, at the home of his son, William Allen, near Preston.

The father of our subject was a tanner by trade, but spent the greater part of his active life on the farm. Politically, he was a Jacksonian Democrat. A devout member of the Presbyterian Church, he allowed no man to excel him in hospitality or kindness. The paternal grandparents of our subject, John and Sarah (Allen) Allen, are natives respectively of New Jersey and South Carolina. The former accompanied his parents at the time of their removal to Savannah, Ga., and while residing in Jefferson County, that state, was married to Miss Sarah Allen, who was born in South Carolina, and located with her parents in Georgia. John Allen and his wife then moved north to Preble County, Ohio, thence to Randolph County, this state, where their decease occurred. The grandfather, who was a prosperous farmer, was a Democrat in politics and served in the War of 1812. The great-grandfather of our subject, Robert Allen, was a native of England, and, coming to America prior to the Revolutionary War, located in New Jersey. Being the eldest of his father’s family, he inherited the estate, as was the custom of that country, and as a consequence, was in very affluent circumstances. He was an extensive ship owner, and also held large possessions in Jamaica.

The subject of this sketch is a native of this county, having been born March 21, 1839, near Evansville, and continued to reside at home until the outbreak of the Civil War. Although a mere boy, he enlisted in Company I, Twenty-second Illinois Infantry, under John E. Dedrick, who is now in the Pension Department at Washington, D. C. As a soldier, young Allen served in some of the most decisive battles of the Rebellion, such as the siege and capture of New Madrid, Stone River, Belmont, Farmington, siege of Corinth, Resaca and Chickamauga. While in the latter battle he was shot in the leg, September 9, 1863, and was taken to the hospital at Crawfish Springs, where his limb was amputated. As that hospital was later captured by the Confederates, our subject was taken to Chattanooga, and on the 7th of October, 1863, was exchanged and soon thereafter discharged. He was a quiet, unobtrusive soldier, and won not only the respect of his comrades, but the confidence and esteem of his superior officers.

After his return from the army, John R. Allen established the first regular provision store in Sparta, which he continued to operate until within eighteen months of his death. A man of enterprise, he always took an active part in the development of every measure set on foot for the advancement of the city, and was a prominent factor in the promotion of various matters of mutual welfare. He was very charitable and benevolent, and established the cash system in business, paying the farmers either in cash or goods for their produce. During the financial depression early in the ‘70s, in order to help restore confidence, Mr. Allen sent to St. Louis for gold to pay the farmers, which fact not only helped to increase his own business, but stimulated trade throughout the city.

April 29, 1864, John R. Allen married Miss Mary C., daughter of Samuel and Nancy McClinton, and to them has been born one son, C. F. Allen. In his political relations our subject was an uncompromising Republican, but at the same time conceded to everyone else the rights he claimed for himself. It was while on his way to the Republican Convention which was held in Evansville that death claimed him as his own. That sad event occurred August 26, 1890. In early life he was a member of the United Presbyterian Church, but later joined the Presbyterian Church, in which he was an Elder for many years.

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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 Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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