EDWARD ALLEN, one of the leading carpenters and builders of Kansas City, Kansas, and ranking among its most substantial and representative citizens, came honestly by the disposition to rove and seek pulse-quickening adventure in life which made him for some years something of a wanderer. His ancestors for two or three generations exhibited this trait, but, as in his case, only used it in aiding the development of new sections of country and building them up from the waste to fruitfulness and beneficent activity for the good of the country and the enlarged enjoyment of its people. The American branch of the family on both sides of the house started in Massachusetts, where the great-grandfathers of Mr. Allen of this sketch, Ephraim Allen and Joseph Clendenin, were born and reared. They left their family firesides in early life and became early settlers in Ohio, and in Cincinnati Stephen Allen married Miss Mary Clendenin. Soon afterward these two took a new flight in the wake of the setting sun and located in Shelby county, Indiana. There their son Stephen was born on January 7, 1830, and there he was reared and obtained a limited country school education. In that county also he met with and married Miss Sarah Russell, who was a native of the county, too, born on January 17, 1833. They were the parents of Edward Allen, whose life began on December 15, 1856, on his father's farm near Edinburg, in the adjoining county of Johnson, where his parents had taken up their residence some time before.
In addition to the dangers, hardships and privations which were inevitable incidents in the life of the frontier, this adventurous family had its early history in Indiana darkened by a tragedy which cast a gloom over it during many subsequent years. Stephen Allen, Edward's grandfather, met an early death while digging a well on his farm. The well caved in on him without a moment's warning. This occurred three months before his son Stephen, the father of Edward, was born. His widow afterward married a Mr. Hartman and moved with him to Marion county, Indiana, where she passed the remainder of her life.
Stephen Allen lived in the home of his mother until he was four years old. He was then taken to the residence of an uncle and grew to manhood under the care and direction of that relative. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a cabinet maker to learn the trade. He completed his apprenticeship in three years, and then worked for his preceptor seven years. He was industrious and frugal, and by the end of the period mentioned had accumulated a small sum of money and developed into a mastery of his spirit a desire to go into business for himself.
In obedience to this desire he worked at his trade on his own account seven years in Indiana. On March 15, 1858, yielding to another overmastering impulse created by the winning voice of the farther West, he arrived at Leavenworth, Kansas, and settled down there for further industry at his trade. During the next four years he worked as a journeyman, making knock-down furniture, wood coffins and similar products of his craft. In 1862 he bought the business in which he was employed, and during the succeeding three years conducted it profitably for himself. At the end of that time he sold it and bought a farm in Leavenworth county, containing one hundred and sixty acres of prairie and forty acres of timber land. He remained in the county and engaged in farming seven years, occupying three different farms during this period, the first one being purchased of the Indian chief, Wolf.
While living in Leavenworth county Mr. Allen was a member of the State Militia, and was in active service in the field forty-eight days. The command to which he belonged passed a few days in Shawneetown, Kansas, then marched into Missouri, stopping for a time at Blue Mills, and later camping for two days at Independence in that state. Mr. Allen took part in seven skirmishes, and, although the engagements were not severe, he got a fair taste of the danger and excitement of the battlefield.
In 1885 he located in Kansas City, Kansas, and soon afterward, in association with his youngest son, started a carpenter shop and contacting business, which they carried on together eleven years. Then his son John's health broke down and he went for recuperation to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, where he died in 1898. Since then the father has conducted the business alone. It has grown to large volume and keeps him very busy. But he gives every detail of it his personal attention and makes the most of the opportunities it affords him for profit and advancement.
Mr. Allen was married on September 12, 1852, to Miss Sarah Russell, a daughter of John Russell. They became the parents of three children, two of whom are living: Mary Ann, the wife of S. Yoakum, and Edward, who is also a contractor and builder. Both live in Kansas City, Kansas, and add to its forces of productiveness, mental, moral and material improvement and refined social enjoyment. The widely known and highly esteemed wife of Mr. Allen died in 1901, passing away in September of that year, at the age of sixty-nine years. Throughout the city of his residence and a large extent of the surrounding country he is well and favorably known as a first rate mechanic, an upright and conscientious man and a very public spirited and enterprising citizen. He has earned his reputation by his merit, which is everywhere freely admitted.
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