BERT ALLEN. Since his arrival in Seward County less than ten years ago the career of Bert Allen, a resident of Liberal, has been one in which industry and business integrity have served to give him an ever increasing success, a standing as a reputable and substantial citizen, and the respect of the entire community. Mr. Allen is one of those rarer types who handle many things with an energy, thoroughness and efficiency that begets results, and while he has concentrated his activities on farming and stock raising his name is also associated with some of the mercantile and industrial enterprises of the locality.
Mr. Allen was born in Adams County, Illinois, September 17, 1872. His grandfather, Adam Allen, moved from Ohio to Illinois, was a farmer, and is buried in Schuyler County, Illinois. Among his children were David, Robert, James, and Sarah, wife of Daniel Alexander. James Allen, father of Bert, spent most of his life in Illinois, and moved to Adams County prior to his marriage. During the Civil war he was a Union soldier in Company F of the Seventy-Fourth Illinois Infantry, and saw two years of service, chiefly in Sherman's army. After the war he was identified with a Grand Army Post. He was a democrat and took much interest in politics, and was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He died in November, 1916, when about eighty-four years of age. Bert Allen's mother bore the maiden name of Amanda Lierle, a daughter of Morgan Lierle, of an old family of Adams County, Illinois. She was an earnest Christian woman and reared her children to revere and practice the tenets of religion. Her death occurred in December, 1906. The children were: Stella, who married Ernest Grubb and died at Liberty, Illinois; Bert; Lawrence, of Philadelphia, Missouri; and Mabel, wife of George Heine, of Perry, Illinois.
Bert Allen was reared and educated within a mile of his birthplace, attending for a few brief terms a country school near Columbus, Illinois. He was with his parents until reaching his majority and started life with a meagerness of capital that serves to place his present prosperous circumstances in all the greater contrast. He rented land in Adams County, Illinois, and his first equipment was a single horse. He farmed jointly with his brother-in-law the first year, and the next year was able to equip himself with a complete team. For several years he fed most of the crops he raised to hogs, but almost annually he was confronted with a heavy loss of his animals by the ravages of cholera and at the end of five years he determined to give up farming altogether. At the Village of Columbus, near which he was reared, he then entered the hardware and undertaking business and continued that with a considerable measure of success as long as he stayed in Illinois. When he closed out his enterprise and came to Western Kansas he brought a capital of about $3,000.
Mr. Allen and family arrived at Liberal by railroad March 13, 1909. Besides his money capital he brought with him a considerable experience as a merchant, trader and farmer. His first enterprise at Liberal was as an interested principal in a hardware business, and at the end of two years he sold his share in the store and devoted himself to farming and stock raising. He began with a herd of 100 cattle, and he bought land on both sides of the Kansas-Oklahoma line. He put the pasture in fence and turned his stock loose on the grass. Seven years have passed since that beginning, and in that time Mr. Allen has built up a cattle industry of large proportions. At the present writing he has 540 head of White Face cattle, is the owner of 3,200 acres of land, with 600 acres under cultivation, and his entire ranch, including leased land, comprises 4,000 acres. Mr. Allen is one of the big wheat growers of Southwestern Kansas. He has from 1,500 to 2,000 acres in that crop, and out of five crops grown he has had not a single complete failure and has harvested four that have yielded him returns commensurate with his labors and expectations. The biggest yield he had per acre was twenty-eight bushels.
Back in Illinois Mr. Allen had acquired extensive experience in shipping livestock, and along this line he has become perhaps best known in Western Kansas. In fact he is today considered the heaviest shipper out of Seward County. The Rock Island Railroad gets more revenues from the cattle and other stuck shipped from Liberal by Mr. Allen than from any other one source. In 1916 124 carloads of stock left that station billed by Mr. Allen destined for eastern markets.
Mr. Allen is a stockholder in the Wichita Cattle Loan Company and the Hutchinson Packing Company, and is proprietor of a machine shop at Liberal. He owns considerable local property, including the machine shop he erected on South Kansas Avenue, and he has his home on the same street. Mr. Allen is a believer in and an apostle of power machinery for modern farming, especially in the conditions found in Western Kansas. He has used the tractors extensively in plowing and cultivating his fields, and has been called upon for many reports as to the efficiency and economy of the various types of those machines. He is a correspondent for the county on agricultural conditions to the various states and other agencies, and is also somewhat of a local adviser to the Agricultural Department at Washington.
Mr. Allen married near Columbus, Illinois, October 20, 1895, Mary Ertz, daughter of Louis and Emma (Swartz) Ertz, both of German families. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Ertz were: Nora, wife of Ed Keller, of Illinois; Mrs. Allen, who was born February 23, 1876; Fred, of Illinois; and Lizzie, wife of Roll Riley, of Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Allen have five children: Olin, Lemmie, Raymond, Emma and Earnest.
Politically Mr. Allen is for the man rather than for the party. He is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He and his family are members of the Christian Church and he was an active aid in the erection of the present substantial church building of this denomination at Liberal.
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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