James Allen Sr.

Photo added by Millie Ann

James Allen Sr.

Death 4 Jan 1811 (aged 90–91)
Nelson County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Bloomfield, Nelson County, Kentucky, USA
Plot Rows 7 & 8
Memorial ID 130898258 View Source
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Published in a book titled, Kentucky Genealogy and Biography Volume V, (1975) Thomas W. Westerfield, pages 37 and 38: The Allen Family. James Allen, Sr., the progenitor of the Kentucky branch of that distinguished family, was of Scotch descent; he immigrated to America, and the then colony of Pennsylvania, from Ireland, sometime anterior to the Revolutionary war; after spending some time in Pennsylvania he went to the West Indies, but shortly after returned to America and settled in Rockbridge County, Va. He immigrated to Kentucky in 1780, and located near Danville in the present county of Boyle, where he with another pioneer, Mr. Daviess, the father of the distinguished Col. Joseph Hamilton Daviess, made a settlement a few miles from the station, leaving the fort on account of the profanity of the garrison and others, as he was a strict Presbyterian. He lived there three years, then went to what is now Nelson County, and made a settlement near where the village of Bloomfield now stands. He put up a small cabin and returned for his family, but upon taking them to their new home he found the Indians had burned his cabin during his absence. Winter was at hand, but endowed with the energy of the frontiersman, he went to work, and with the aid of his wife soon constructed another cabin. Here he lived until his death at the beginning of the century. His farm, known as “Allendale,” is still in possession of the descendants; his wife, Mary (Kelsey) Allen, was a native Virginian, but died in Nelson County, Ky., in May, 1808. They had five children, three sons and two daughters; the sons were John, Joseph and James; the first, Col. John Allen, was one of the ablest lawyers of his day, the rival of Henry Clay in the court of appeals. He was a colonel in the war of 1812, and fell at the battle of the River Raisin. His name, as well as that of the family, is perpetuated in that of a county (see historical sketch of Allen County). Joseph Allen, the second eldest son, was a small boy when his parents came to Kentucky. He removed to Breckinridge County about the time it was created. In the organization of its legal machinery he was chosen county and circuit clerk of the new county. No other evidence of his official integrity is required than the fact that he held the office for a period of fifty-eight years. He served in the war of 1812, and was the father of Hon. Alfred Allen, a distinguished lawyer and politician. The two daughters of James Allen, Sr., were Sallie, who married Andrew Rowan, brother of the celebrated John Rowan, and Margaret, who married Joseph Huston and became the mother of the well-known Judge Eli and Maj. Huston, of Natchez, Miss. James Allen, the only other child of James Allen, Sr., was born March 26, 1779; one year later the family immigrated to Kentucky; he was reared in and has always remained a resident of Nelson County; in early life received a limited amount of schooling at Bardstown and vicinity, but acquired most of his education by reading and association with men of culture in the transaction of business. He served in a number of official capacities in his county, high sheriff, representative in the Legislature, and other minor offices; in the settlement of neighborhood difficulties he was almost invariably called upon to act as an arbitrator. During the latter part of his life he devoted his entire attention to the propagation of small fruits and flowers. A Whig in politics, he was a warm personal friend of Henry Clay. He died May 13, 1852, at the age of seventy-three years. In his last hours he made a request that a copy of the word of God should be made the pillow for his head, in his tomb. While not identified with any church yet he lived an upright, true and consistent Christian. March 25, 1802, Mary Read became his wife. To their union seven children were born: Joseph, Oliver, Eliza, Mary, Nancy, John and Amanda, of whom Oliver, Mary and Amanda are the surviving ones. Mary is the widow of Henry Rowland, and Amanda is the widow of Charles Q. Armstrong. To the union of the latter were born seven children, of whom five are now living: Kate, wife of Capt. John H. Leathers of Louisville; Anna E., wife of Rev. E. H. Pearce; Lillie, consort of Frank Offutt; John A., who married Jennie Moore and Mattie, wife of S. F. Wilkinson.

Excerpts from a very long article published in the newspaper titled, Nelson County Record, 20 Dec 1877, front page: Allen Dale, Editors Record.
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.

DAR Revolutionary Era Ancestors: ALLEN, JAMES
Ancestor #: A001613
Service: Virginia Rank: Private
Birth: (CIRCA) 1720 Ireland
Death: 1-4-1811 Nelson Co Kentucky
Service Source:Comp Mil Serv RECS M881 Roll#1000, Roll 1062
Service Description: 1) 6TH & 10TH VA REGT
Residence: 1) County: Rockbridge CO - State: Virginia
Spouse: 1) Mary Kelsey

Family Members



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.


  • Created by: Millie Ann
  • Added: 5 Jun 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 130898258
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Allen Sr. (1720–4 Jan 1811), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130898258, citing Wilkinson Cemetery, Bloomfield, Nelson County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Millie Ann (contributor 47622331) .