Allen Dale, Editors Record
You announced in a recent issue of your paper, the death of Mrs. Nancy E. Allen, the widow of the late Hon. Charles H. Allen, and daughter of Col. James Allen, who (James) died in the spring of 1852. Your announcement, as well as her death, has suggested to me the propriety of giving your readers a brief sketch of Allen Dale, the old family residence, together with a brief notice of the Allen Family, who have occupied that residence for nearly a hundred years
I will do so partly because I have known and appreciated the family, in its different branches, nearly all my life; but chiefly because I feel that every good family, here and elsewhere, has a history that ought not to be lost – a history that gives noble impulses to the young, and sometimes warnings to the thoughtless and wayward – that is full of pleasing reminiscences of the past – draws the same blood closer and closer together – a history that the world can not afford to lose. The truth is we often misapprehend the true position and importance of the family institution. It is as old as Eden; it is older that the State; and is in many respects vastly more important that the State, because the State is necessarily made up of the aggregated families within its limits. And them, too, it is absolutely dependent upon these families for its wisdom, its order, its stability, its Wealth, its prosperity, its continuance. It is just what the families make it – no more, no less.
Our young people, then, ought to be impressed with the truth that they belong to a FAMILY – a family, too, that is just as good as any other family in all the land if all its members are honest, honorable, and upright in the discharge of their individual duties; and that they are bound by the law of God, was well as by the law of natural affection, to love honor, and cleave to that family while it remains true to itself. Young men, you can not, therefore innocently or safely divorce yourselves from all family connections and obligations. Cut yourselves off from these-forget the lessons of your father and mother-care nothing for family property, name, honor, or advancement-say that your are responsible to no ties of home or kindred-sit lazily down in stupid idleness, or leap madly forward into every species of dissipation and reckless waste, and your feet are already upon the road to certain ruin. And remember, that in your shameful fall, you put a foul blot upon your family record and add an unmerited and cruel shame to the worthy kindred who survive you. You can not disgrace yourselves without in some sense bringing shame and disgrace to your blood. Yea, more, you can not become good, useful and honorable citizens of the State without being true and faithful to all family duties and obligations. For, as I have already intimated, the State takes its tone and complexion from the character of the families that are included in it. It receives its wealth from those who have learned how to make and hold individual wealth. It gets its love of law and order from those who have been orderly and law-abiding at home. It gets its spirit of industry, education, and all other schemes of progress and enterprise from that spirit which is engendered in the earliest periods of human education. In short, it is wise in the wisdom, strong in the strength, rich in and wealth, progressive in the progress, and peaceful and happy in the peace and happiness of its individual families. And let it be noted, once for all, that the converse of each of these propositions is fearfully true, as the history of poverty, crime, and lawlessness everywhere attests.
Let the young, then, learn to value their own families at their true worth and importance, and let them try and add something to their good name and influence, and gather up from their past history lessons of caution, as well as lessons of profit and pleasure.
Asking the pardon of my readers for this already too long introduction, I now enter upon the brief sketch which is before us.
The Allen farm, or estate, is eligibly situated upon Simpson's creek, Nelson County, four miles from Bloomfield, and lies upon both sides of the road leading to Bardstown, which is some seven miles distant. Its lands are productive, well watered, and well adapted to the growth of everything that makes agriculture pleasant and profitable in Kentucky. Its springs of running water; its creeks and branches; its valleys, ridges and uplands; its forests, pastures, and cultivated fields, all strike the eye pleasantly; and in their primeval state must have been very beautiful and inviting to the eye of one seeking a western home. This is a grand and beautiful country now; but, in many things, it was farm more so a hundred years ago. Then, its unbroken and majestic forests; its luxuriant undergrowth; its overflowing and dashing of water, together with myriad tribes of beasts and birds, gave it a life, a freshness, and a wild beauty and grandeur that it will never see again.
The first log cabin on the place was built by James Allen, Sr., in 1782, but was never occupied by him. Two years before this, he had come with his family from Rockbridge County, Va., and made a temporary settlement at Dougherty's Station, near where Danville now stands. With his cabin completed, he had gone to this station to move his wife and children to their new home; but, during his absence, the Indians came, burned his house and destroyed Kincheloe's Station, which was a mile or two distant, murdering and capturing most of the six or seven families that belonged to it.
Mr. Allen returned again in 1784, and made a permanent settlement. His second house also was built of rough logs. It was built especially for safety; for a savage foe still threatened these daring early settlers. It stood in the thick and heavy woods that then surrounded it, as a kind of protection, and but a few paces from a fine spring of living water. What a lonely cabin that must have been in 1784, or just ninety three years ago! Its neighbors were few and far between. Kincheloe's Station was near at hand. Cox's was some miles off and ‘Squire Boones' was in Shelby County. These, with some cabins at Bardstown, along Salt river, and one here and there, scattered at wide intervals, were the neighbors of the Allen cabin. The smoke that rose from its chimney in the stillness of morning was seen by no neighbors' eyes, and the tinkling of the bells on the cow was heard by no neighbors' ears. Its inmates had planted themselves in the midst of the wild, lonely, and rugged scenes of frontier life, to battle with their surroundings and to grow with the growth of their new home. John, the future lawyer and soldier, was then twelve years old. And we can well imagine how he and the younger children of the family lay upon their humble couch at night and listened to the hoot of the owl, the bark of the wolf, and the startling screams of the panther; how he and they caught fish from the creek and gathered wild fruits from the unbroken forests; how they climbed trees, studied, worked, played, and passed through all these thrilling and moulding scenes into a strong, healthy, active and useful manhood and womanhood.
The third and present family residence, Allen Dale, stands in the valley, or rather upon the brow of the hill that slopes gently up from Simpson's creek, and commands a fine view of the entire valley, as well as of the farm and pasture lands that environ it – being the outgrowth of the second cabin. But it, too, is old, and, in its structure and arrangements; in its venerable shade trees and quaint surroundings, speaks of age and of the tastes and thoughts of olden times. Still Allen Dale is in a fine state of preservation, and with recent additions and improvements, is a modest but pleasant and tasteful country residence – a residence which the late Mrs. Allen loved with great tenderness, and which she adorned with many a fragrant shrub and blooming flower, and a residence where any thrifty and cultivated family could find plenty, peace, quietude, and all the comforts and joys of rational life. Yea, it has a sweet fresh and joyous look, even in its age. And, then, too, the associations and the mingled memories of nearly a hundred years are gathering about it – gathering there as a part of the intrinsic value and sacredness to those who come back year by year to lie down in the grave with their departed dead.
How many beautiful country homes there in the land! And how many of them are growing still more so by reason of age and because of the hallowed associations and sacred memories that cluster about them! Young men, the homes and the estates which your parents left you ought to have a far higher value with you than merely their annual products in dollars and cents. They tell of the love, of the trials, and labors of these parents who are now gone. Everything in the fields and all over the farm speaks of your father, and of some loved members of the family. And everything about the house, the yard, and garden, whispers some sweet story of mother and sisters. O! value, improve and cling to these paternal gifts. It is beautiful to live at the old homestead – to add to the memories and associations of the same family residence, and to leave this to those who are to follow you. And it may be beautiful at last to sleep with your sleeping dead. [To be concluded next week.] Nelson County Record, 20 Dec 1877, front page. Sadly there were no more issues saved, in fact this was the only issue for the whole year 1877.
The large headstone reads: James Allen Sr. died Jan. 4, 1811. Mary Allen died May 14, 1808. James Allen Jr. born Mar. 26, 1779, died May 13, 1852. Mary Read Allen born July 14, 1780, died April 1, 1856.