Biography of W. W. Allen



Berrien County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

W. W. ALLEN may be justly ranked among the self made men of Watervliet township. He was born Aug. 28. 1836, in Stafford, Genesee Co., N. Y., and was the oldest in a family of four children. His parents Albert and Sophronia (Tanner) Allen were natives of New York. In 1837 his father came to Michigan and located at Jackson, where he remained about one year and removed to Geauga Co., Ohio, where he died in 1844. His occupation had been that of a miller. Two of his children, a son and a daughter, also died within the same time, and his widow was left with two children and but little means. She returned to Genesee County, N. Y., and W. W. Allen made his home with an uncle, on the latter's farm. His mother with her youngest child moved to Paw Paw, Mich., where she was married to Mr. N. R. Woodruff, and settled in the town of Bainbridge, Berrien Co. Her son remained with his uncle until he was twelve years old, when he followed his mother to Michigan, and for seven years lived with them in Bainbridge. At the end of that time or at the age of nineteen he engaged as clerk in the store of E. Smith & Co., at Paw Paw, and remained with them five years. In 1860, in St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., he was married to Miss Jennie Irving, who was the youngest in a family of four chiidren. Her parents had formerly resided in Canada, but were of Scotch descent, and removed to New York when the daughter was quite young. Mr. and Mrs. Allen are the parents of two children: Irving W., born April 26, 1863, and Blanche W., born Feb. 4, 1867. After his marriage Mr. Allen settled in Watervliet, and engaged in the mercantile business, which he has since continued, with marked success. His stock has been enlarged at various times until he has at present one of the finest stores in the county, and its name "The Centennial Store" is familiar to all. Mr. Allen began with a limited capital, but his credit was excellent and he was proved worthy of confidence, and his success in business is indeed gratifying. His early educational advantages were extremely limited, and beyond "subtraction" the principles of arithmetic were a blank to him. Politically he is a Republican, and cast his first vote for the lamented Lincoln. For nine years he held the office of postmaster, and finally resigned, as his business affairs occupied his time too fully to admit of his attending to the office. Mr. Allen and his wife united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1874. The parents of Mrs. Allen died when she was young. Mr. Allen is now the only living representative of his father's family, except his mother, his brother's death having occurred in the winter of 1873.

History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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