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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor

Page 528

THOMAS W. ALLEN whose popularity and success in the business world have come to him, the former through pleasing personal characteristics and the latter through strong determination and capable management, is a native son of Springfield, born October 20, 1878. His parents were Patrick and Mary (Gannon) Allen. The father was born in Ireland and in his boyhood days accompanied his parents on their emigration to America. He became a resident of Springfield and was employed as a locomotive engineer up to the time of the great railroad strike of 1894. He is now engaged in business in the capital city. He was married here to Miss Mary Gannon, a native of Ohio, and they became the parents of six children: Thomas W.; James, who is employed by his brother Thomas; Margaret; Mamie; Anna; and Stewart. Thomas W. Allen was educated in St. Mary's school in Springfield and his first service which brought him remuneration for his labor was as a page in the state house during the session of the legislature under the first administration of Governor Altgeld, the twentieth governor of Illinois, elected in 1893 on the Democratic ticket. Throughout the greater part of his business career Mr. Allen had been a representative of the cigar store as a retail dealer, but abandoned the manufacturing department of his enterprise. He now has one of the finest cigar stores in the state and has expended thousands of dollars in new and handsome fixtures, putting in a steel ceiling, while the fixtures are of English quarter-sawed oak; large, heavy plate-glass mirrors adorn the walls and his stock of fine cigars is kept in a twenty-foot case containing the latest patented and most perfect device for providing moisture. The rear half of the store is devoted the use of a pool and billiard parlor and is supplied with the best pool and billiard tables known to the trade, these being manufactured by Brunswick-Balke Company and are the only ones of the kind in Springfield. The cues and all the paraphernalia are the best that can be purchased anywhere. High back chairs for visitors and spectators also add to the ease and comfort as well as beauty of the room. The place is well lighted with electricity, in fact, is brilliantly illuminated by dozens of incandescent lights, re-enforced with three large arc lights. In the front of the store is a handsomely appointed office. In addition to his place of business, Mr. Allen in April, 1903, opened on East Jefferson street, opposite the St. Nicholas Hotel, a billiard and pool parlor. He remodeled the place, put in ten new tables and in addition has ten bowling alleys. Both places are popular resorts and the latter is the best in the city. This resort is noted for the many exhibition games which are there executed by professional billiard players and bowlers. Mr. Allen is a very popular and genial gentleman, winning the friendship of his patrons and the public at large. He traveled on the road for several years and he still sells to the wholesale trade. His business has reached very profitable proportions and his fine cigar store and billiard rooms are the visible evidence of his success. On the 21st of October, 1903, Mr. Allen was united in marriage to Miss Frances Westenberger, a daughter of G. Westenberger, of Springfield, Illinois, who is represented elsewhere in this work. Both Mr. and Mrs. Allen have many warm friends in this city and they are devoted members of the Catholic church. He has fraternal relations with the Knights of Columbus and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. His political allegiance is given to the Democracy. Although one of the younger representatives of business life in Springfield, he has attained success which many a man twice his years might well envy and, moreover, there has come to him high regard, congenial friendship and good will - the recognition of his sterling traits of character.

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