Biography of John A. Allen
Riverside County, CA Biographies





JOHN A. ALLEN
Notwithstanding a long absence from Maine and a prolonged association with the genial environment of Southern California, memories of the busy and eventful years spent in the rigorous climate of the northeast linger pleasantly in the mind of Mr. Allen, without, however, arousing any desire to return to that region for permanent residence. Intimate as were the friendships there, useful as were the years and fruitful as was the work, the stern winds of winter sweeping through the dense pine forests and dashing along the rock bound coast; the storms that endangered human lives and imperiled the stock; the isolation of the winter months when deep snows rendered travel unsafe; all these formed influences that attracted him to the land of sunshine and have made of him a devoted admirer of the western country. Prosperity has been the reward of his intelligent efforts and he is now living retired from business cares, enjoying in the afternoon of existence the comforts that so greatly enhance the joys of life.

The first representative of the family in the west was Benjamin F Allen, brother of John A., and a native of Maine The father, John Allen, was born in Franklin county, Me., December 10, 1800. During the early prime of manhood he engaged in the mercantile business in his native county, but in 1841 he removed to Aroostook county, Me., where he became interested in farming and lumbering. When eighty years of age he sold out his interests in Maine and came to Southern California, settling at Riverside, where he bought forty acres on Colton avenue. Later he retired and his death occurred in 1886. The large tract which he purchased was originally an orange grove, but more recently part of it has been subdivided into town lots, representing an enormous increase in value over the amount paid for it by the early owner.

In Franklin county, Me., near the Canadian boundary, John A. Allen was born November 19, 1836. From there at the age of four years he was taken to Aroostook county in the upper end of Maine. Schools were few in that isolated, sparsely settled region, but he was ambitious and made the most of every opportunity. Whenever possible he attended the schools of the county. At the age of eighteen years he went to Fogcroft and became a student in the academy, later attending the Bloomfield academy, from which he was graduated in 1857. Entering upon the work of a teacher, he had charge of a school at East Corinth, Penobscot county. Next he was elected to take charge of the school at Norridgewock, Sumerset county, thence returning to teach in Aroostook county. On discontinuing the work of a teacher in 1862 he turned his attention to agriculture and devoted himself with such energy and application to the calling that a fair measure of success came to him, notwithstanding the obstacles caused by unfruitful soil and rigorous climate. While living on the farm he served for fifteen years as a member of the school board in Aroostook county. On disposing of his interests in Maine he came to Riverside in 1883 and took up the management of his father's property, at the same time studying orange culture. Eventually he became one of the most extensive growers and shippers of oranges in the district, but in 1910 he sold his business interests and retired to an enjoyment of a leisure abundantly merited by years of laborious application.

During the period of his residence in Somerset county, Me., Mr. Allen met Miss Eliza A. Heald, a native of that part of the state. They were united in marriage November 17, 1860, and for years lived on their farm in Aroostook county, but now own and occupy a beautiful residence in Riverside. They are the parents of four children, namely: Mrs. W. A. Purington, wife of one of the leading attorneys of Riverside; Mrs. Vida A. Bixby, of Pasadena; Mrs. J. E. White, of San Francisco; and John W., who is engaged in the growing of oranges at Loma Linda, this state. The family holds membership with the Congregational Church. At no time in his life has Mr. Allen been a leader in politics, his only part in public affairs being the casting of a Republican ticket at all elections. For years he has been a stockholder in the Citizens National Bank, of Riverside, of which he was one of the organizers, and of the Security Bank, also of Riverside, and in both of these well known financial institutions he now serves as a director. Throughout all of his life he has been interested in education. Its importance, in his opinion, cannot be overestimated. In addition to his service in promoting the free schools of Maine, he served as a member of the Riverside school board from 1885 to 1888 and still retains a warm interest in every movement for the advancement of the schools.

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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