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 Robert Durward Allen

Robert Durward Allen

Orient, Tom Green County, Texas, USA
Death 23 Oct 1983 (aged 73)
San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas, USA
Burial San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas, USA
Plot Section A (Garden of Christus Annex), Lot A-392, Space 1
Memorial ID 101023223 · View Source
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Robert Durward Allen was usually known as R. D. or Durward (pronounced with middle R silent) to avoid confusion with his father, who was also Robert Allen.

R. D. was born in in the Orient community of Tom Green County, Texas, while his parents and older sisters lived on property owned by his grandparents, Charles and Kate Allen. His other grandparents, Samuel and Addie Gaston, lived in the nearby community of Tennyson, Coke, Texas. His father, a schoolteacher and farmer, was teaching in the nearby community of Ray.

In the fall of 1910, R. D.'s family moved to Silver, Coke, Texas, near where they had lived 2 years prior, to teach school at school at Silver Peak. The family lived in or near Silver for many years, including the McKenzieville community, a few miles away from Silver, where they lived 1912-1916. After the family moved back to Silver, his father became a storekeeper and postmaster, as well as teaching school and farming. It took a lot to feed a growing family and through droughts and other hardships of life in west Texas. Everyone in the family pitched in, and as the oldest son, R. D. gradually took on more and more responsibility for the farming and stock raising.

When he was a teenager, he and his younger brother Charlie started living in a small abandoned house on some property the family had acquired. He related how in the summer time he and his brother would drag their bed out under the porch and soak the mattress with water from the tank so they would have someplace cool to sleep. Soon he was able to rent some land from his father, farming on shares. He was plowing walking behind a team of mules and a singletree plow. He said that later on when he got a tractor and could plow two rows at time, he thought he was really going fast.

On Oct. 18, 1932, he married Maud OCB Holder (normally called by the middle part of her name as though the letters were the vowels of one word, Ohsibee). He said that he and his wife could lay in bed and see the stars through horizontal gaps in the cedar shake roof. It was the depth of the Great Depression, however, and they were glad just have a place of their own to live and a roof over their heads. About three years and two children later, R. D. found farmland he could rent in the Ray community of Tom Green, Texas.

About 1940, R. D. had proven himself as a farmer by sticking it out through the bad years of the Great Depression. He was able to get a loan to buy farmland in the Vancourt community of Tom Green. He related that in the fall of 1941, after the crops had been sold, he was thinking about buying new tires for his pickup truck but, being frugal, he decided to try and get several more months of use out them. In December of 1941, however, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, war was declared, and truck tires were immediately rationed. It would be a few years before he could get his new tires.

In 1949, OCB died of cancer, victim of a family susceptibility that struck down members in their 30s and 40s. R. D. soon started courting Gwendolyn (Davis) Witt, a young nurse and the widow of one of OCB's cousins, a young pilot who had died in WW 2. In Jan. 1950, R. D. married her, and she joined him on the farm at Vancourt.

In June 1951, while R. D.'s sister Cleone and her two young daughters were visiting, a tornado struck the home, destroying most of it. The family survived by getting between mattresses in a strong corner and literally holding onto them for dear life. The only injury occurred to a family member who was not even there during the storm, son Travis, who returned from a fishing trip and stepped on an upturned nail.

R. D. and Gwen built a new house on the north end of the farm where they would no longer have to cross the creek that cut across the land. R. D. had the knack of finding underground water with a green forked stick and built the new house where a narrow but reliable underground stream 80 feet undergound cut across a corner of the property. R. D. was known by many for this skill and was often recruited to find water well locations. He would never accept payment, saying that he did not understand how it worked and could not be responsible if it failed.

R. D. raised field crops and small herds of cattle and sheep. He and his youngest brother Billie Glyn Allen also leased family land in Coke County, Texas, where they partnered on raising cattle.

R. D. and Gwen had a son in 1952 and another in 1955. They lived at Vancourt until 1967, when they moved to San Angelo as yet another drought made it necessary for Gwen to return to work as a nurse.

In 1975 R. D. retired from farming and stock raising, completing the process of turning farm management over to son Travis Allen. About 1978, R. D. and Gwen were divorced. In 1979, R. D. married Shirley Johnson. In 1983, R. D. went dancing with Shirley, went home, went to bed and never woke up. No autopsy was undertaken. His death at 73 was considered an early death in a family where most members died in their 80s and 90s.




  • Maintained by: Robin
  • Originally Created by: Steve Voss
  • Added: 20 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 101023223
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Durward Allen (10 Aug 1910–23 Oct 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 101023223, citing Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens, San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Robin (contributor 48730016) .