Biography of Walter S. Allen
Bristol County, MA Biographies





Allen, Walter S., son of Frederick S. and Susan (Gardner) Allen, was born in New Bedford, July 16, 1858, and is a member of one of the oldest of New England families, one which has been well represented, and, in fact, always located in this section. The first of the name was George Allen, from whom Mr. Allen is a direct descendent in the eighth generation. George (1), Ralph (2), Ebenezer (3), James (4), Prince (5), James (6), Frederick S. (7), and Walter S. (8). George Allen, who was the progenitor of most of the name in this section, sailed from Weymouth, England, in 1635, and, after remaining a short time in Lynn, removed to Sandwich, of which place he was one of the first settlers. Some of his children bought land in Dartmouth and thus the family took root in this section. Many of them were members of the Society of Friends, and five of the sons of George were collectively fined £280 for holding or attending Quaker meetings. On the maternal side Mr. Allen descends from the Nantucket Gardners, also Quakers, who were among the first settlers of the island of Nantucket. Mr. Allen's father, Frederick S., was a native of New Bedford, and a prominent and successful merchant, having been engaged in the whaling business for over fifty years (firm of Swift & Allen). He served at various times in the city government, was a director in numerous manufacturing corporations, and was counted one of the leading business men of the city. For several years he was vice president of the Five Cents Savings Bank. He died May 10, 1896, in the eightyfourth year of his age. Walter S. Allen was educated in private schools and at the Friends Academy in New Bedford, and later he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston, and took the B. S. degree with the class of 1879. In the same year he went abroad to continue the study of chemistry at the University of Leipsic, where he remained two years and then returned to become a special student at Harvard, remaining one year. At the end of this period he accepted a position as instructor in chemistry in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he filled until 1885. when the State Board of Gas Commissioners was created, and he became secretary of the board. In 1892 he resigned to enter the employ of the Boston Gas Light Co., as assistant to the treasurer and general manager, and served in that capacity until the fall of 1896. Mr. Allen has for many years been a student of the question of municipal ownership of street railways and gas plants, and has made several European trips to investigate the workings of the different systems in the cities of England and the Continent. In 1897 he became the secretary of a special committee created by the Legislature to investigate the relation of street railroads and municipal corporations. The report of this committee was adopted by the Legislature substantially as recommended, the first time recorded when a special com mittee obtained a bill embodying its recommendations from the Legislature to which it made its report. Mr. Allen is an active worker for the interests of the New Bedford Public Library and has been a member of the board of trustees since 1892. He is a member of the Wamsutta Club of New Bedford; the St. Botolph and University Clubs of Boston, and the University Club of New York.

From:
Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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