ALLEN, JOHN. - Fortunately Sangamon County still has some of its noble veterans of the Civil War and its people are never weary of according a full measure of appreciation to those who have defended the Union in its darkest hour. One of these old soldiers who is also a representative farmer of his locality, is John Allen, of Spaulding, Clear Lake Township. He was born in the county, April 11, 1844, a son of William and Martha (Cherry) Allen, the former born in Clark County, Ky., and the latter in Clear Lake Township.
William Allen emigrated to Sangamon County as early as 1840, locating in Clear Lake Township. While operating a farm there, he furnished ties for the construction fo track for what was then the Great Western Railroad, but now the Wabash; he also furnished lumber for the present Court House, and a number of residences which were being put up in Springfield and locality. He was a busy man, but found time to enlist for thee months' service in Company A, Missouri Rifles, at the expiration of which time he was mustered out at St. Louis. His death took place March 4, 1873, in Missouri, where he had moved. His wife had passed away in 1854 in Adair County, Mo. John Allen is proud of the fact that not only was his father, a defender of his county, but that his grandfather, Benjamin Cherry, served in the Black Hawk War, his name appearing on the list of soldiers enlisting from Sangamon County.
John Allen did not enjoy the educational advantages of the country boy of today, but went to school in a primitive log building in Clear Lake Township, at the same time assisting his father, with whom he remained until his enlistment, May 11, 1861, at St. Louis. Discharged, August 14, 1861, from Company A, First Missouri Volunteer Infantry, in which he had enlisted for three months, he remained at home until July 25, 1862, when again he offered his services, in the One Hundred and fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, from which he was mustered out May 30, 1865. During his service he participated in many engagements including the siege of Vicksburg and the battle of Guntown, Miss., where he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner. From there he was sent to the infamous Andersonville, and for eleven terrible months underwent hardships which no mere words can describe.
Broken in health and spirits after his dreadful sufferings, he returned to Sangamon County, and from 1865 to 1871 was engaged in farming. Following this he went to Jasper County, Mo., where he continued farming for three years, then returned to Clear Lake township. After trading stock for a time, and traveling about in the prosecution of his business, he opened a meat market in Riverton, and for twenty years was one of the leading retailers in his line in the county. In 1898 he went to the southern part of Missouri, engaging in sheep raising, but five years later came back to Sangamon County and, locating in Spaulding, once more engaged in a meat business. Drawn to new Mexico, he took up a claim there in 1908, but is now farming in Clear Lake Township, where he owns ten acres of land, valued at $200 per acre.
The marriage of Mr. Allen occurred in Clear Lake Township, to Alice Mann, on April 2, 1867. She was born in Sangamon County and died there in 1904. Her parents came to the county from Kentucky, locating on a farm in Clear Lake Township, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Children as follows were born to Mr. and Mrs. Allen; William, of Riverton; Edwin, of Springfield; Ernest, deceased; Robert, of Clear Lake, residing with his father, as does Chester; John, of New Mexico; Frank, of San Francisco, is in the regular army; Carrie, wife of Frank Clippenger, of Riverton, where he is a carpenter; Josephine, wife of Richard Rogers, of Riverton; Jessie, wife of Bert Taylor, of New Mexico; Mae, wife of Joseph Thompson, of Springfield; and Emma, also of Springfield.
Mr. Allen is a stanch supporter of Republican principles, having learned them from his warm personal friend, Abraham Lincoln, with whom he was very intimate. The two often went swimming together and Mr. Allen felt the loss of the great man as though he had been a blood relative.