GEORGE H. ALLAMAN. If the career of any one man might be used as the personal viewpoint from which to shed light upon the historical events of Wallace County it is that of George H. Allaman, long prominent on the Western Kansas frontier as a hunter, explorer, scout, friend of old-time military leaders, rancher and cattle man, merchant and banker. His home is in the Town of Wallace, and in this region he has spent half a century of his life.
Mr. Allaman was born in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, September 30, 1848. He is of old Virginia stock, though his remote ancestors came out of the Province of Alsace and were among the colonists of Virginia. His grandfather, Jacob Allaman, spent all his life in Virginia, where he was a planter. His father was born in Virginia in 1816. He grew up there but when a young man went to the vicinity of Reading, Pennsylvania, and died in Juniata County in 1849, just a year after the birth of his son George. The latter has no memory of his father, but to his mother he pays a tribute of devotion and gratitude not only for what she meant to him but also for the unusual nobility of her mind and character. Her maiden name was Catherine Miller, and she was born near Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1820. She died near Little York, Illinois, in 1911. Of her five children by her marriage to Henry C. Allaman, George H. was the youngest. Edward, the oldest, died when seven years old. William J. was a Union soldier and was killed in the battle of Stone River; Henry C., Jr., served in the Tenth Illinois Infantry, was in Sherman's army and was wounded and taken prisoner but after the war he became a farmer and died near Little York, Illinois; Melissa married James P. Brown, a veteran Union soldier who is now living at Greenwood, Missouri, and where she died some years ago. The widowed mother married for her second husband Solomon Lauver, who was a farmer in Illinois and died at Little York. By this marriage there were four children: Louis Lauver, a farmer in Illinois; Mahlon, also an Illinois farmer; Alice, who married Ralph Morris, a son of Captain Morris who was wounded in the Civil war battle at Independence, Missouri, and they now reside on a farm, near Pleasant Hill, Missouri; and Elizabeth, who died at Omaha, Nebraska, as the wife of Mr. Morris, who lives in Oklahoma.
George H. Allaman spent his first fifteen years of his life in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, where he attended public school. In 1861 his mother and stepfather moved to Illinois, and in that state he continued his education in the local schools and also the college at Monmouth. His education was finished when he was about twenty years of age, and from that time forward his experience has been acquired in the western country.
In 1869 Mr. Allaman first came to Kansas and was employed as an agricultural teacher among the Indians on the Osage Diminished Reserve in Southeastern Kansas. This work was done under government supervision, and he was directly responsible to a sub-chief of the Osage Indians named Twelve O'Clock. When that Reserve was ceded to the State of Kansas Mr. Allaman helped survey the Town of Peru, now in Chautauqua County, in 1870. He remained there a couple of years and in 1872 began following up the Arkansas River along the line of construction of the Santa Fe Railroad. He continued that progress until he reached the state line at Coolidge, then called Sergeant. His special work was as a hunter supplying game, buffalo and antelope moat for the railroad contractors.
From the Santa Fe Mr. Allaman made a big jump over the intervening country along the western state line in company with a party of soldiers to Fort Wallace on the Smoky River, first reaching that locality in which so much of his subsequent life has been spent on July 8, 1872. While with the soldiers he had furnished them with wild game.
Fort Wallace was established on the Smoky River about the close of the Civil war, and for several years it was one of the important frontier posts, its garrison participating in a number of encounters with the Indians. The post was finally abandoned in 1882. Several years before Mr. Allaman arrived on the scene the second important event in Wallace County's history occurred, the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad to Fort Wallace. The railroad reached that point in July, 1868. Some other facts of local history may well be noted at this point. Wallace County was first created in 1868 and was first organized the same year. County government was allowed to lapse in 1873, and for more than ten years the county was attached to Trego County for judicial purposes. In 1886, acting upon an opinion from the attorney general, the county organization was resumed, and at that time George R. Allaman was elected clerk of the district court. Shortly afterward the county organization was declared illegal by a decision of the Supreme Court and a legally constituted county government was not established until 1889.
In these various events of public history Mr. Allaman was a participant only to the extent mentioned. For several years after reaching Fort Wallace he pursued his vocation as a hunter, killing buffalo for the hides and meat. In 1876 he went to Kit Carson, Colorado, and sold out a business for A. L. Dodge, a pioneer merchant there. He is one of the few living Kansans who had a personal acquaintance with the gallant General Custer. While Mr. Allaman was at Kit Carson General Custer ate dinner at his table about thirty days before he was killed. This was only a few days before the General started north to take command of the forces to put down the Indian uprising where he and all his men met the tragic fate which is recorded in every school book history of this country. General Custer was only one of many army officers and scouts of that period whom Mr. Allaman knew personally and many of them intimately.
Returning to Wallace in the fall of 1876, Mr. Allaman built a sod house on the Smoky River, and wintered there. He also farmed and gardened in the sage brush and took up a homestead of eighty acres, which is still among his extensive landed possessions. At the present time his ranch holdings comprise 2,000 acres. This is known as the Smoky Rose Ranch, located on the Smoky River, a mile east of the mouth of the beautiful stream of Rose Creek.
For all his many interesting experiences in this western country Mr. Allaman deserves lasting credit, particularly for the work he has done as a pioneer in agriculture and horticulture. In 1879 he sowed the first alfalfa in this district, and his success with that then little known crop has been the biggest boom the country has ever had. He was also the first to plant apple and other fruit trees and demonstrate the possibilities of practical gardening, especially such crops as cabbage, onions and celery. In 1917 Mr. Allaman sold 1,000 bushels of apples from his orchard, all of the finest quality and flavor. His experience in this line makes him an authority on fruit growing in Western Kansas, and he has used his influence wherever possible to advocate fruit culture as one means of diversifying the production of this region.
No one has more interesting stories of the days of big game in the West than Mr. Allaman. His principal dependence as a hunter during the '70s was placed in a rifle made by the Sharp Rifle Company. With that one gun Mr. Allaman shot over 2,000 antelope, furnishing these under contract to the Fred Harvey Eating System at 5 cents a pound.
Besides his large ranch Mr. Allaman is vice president of the State Bank of Wallace County. He is an independent republican in politics. He also served during the days when Wallace County was attached to Trego County as a justice of the peace. He is a past grand of Wallace Lodge No. 300, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has sat in the state conventions of the body. Naturally he knows a great deal of the wild life of the West. For two summers in 1878-79 he did work as a geological and paleontological collector for the famous scientist Louis Agassiz of Harvard University. During that time he shipped tons of fossils from Wallace and Logan counties, digging up the bones of mastodons, tiradactyls and other marine and terrestrial fossils, such as the three-toed horse, the hyena and other species of fauna of the tertiary period. In 1878 Mr. Allaman was employed as chief guide to the military forces under Major Dallas, and assisted in capturing Dull Knife's Indian band.
In 1872, at Peru, Kansas, Mr. Allaman married Miss Lizzie Alford, daughter of James Alford of Kentucky. She died at Oakley, Kansas, in 1905. In 1907, at Denver, Colorado, Mr. Allaman married Miss Lizzie Toohey. Her father, Frank Toohey, was a veteran of the Civil war and died at Denver at the age of eighty-two. Mr. and Mrs. Allaman have two children: George Toohey, born November 29, 1908; and John Francis, born December 18, 1910.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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