Biography of William J. Allen
Jefferson County, NY Biographies

William Jarvis Allen. - Among the prominent newspaper men of Jefferson County was William Jarvis Allen, who died Jan. 21, 1926. He was for many years owner and publisher of the Jefferson County Journal, at Adams. Mr. Allen was born at Pierrepont Manor, Jefferson County, Oct. 16, 1845, the son of Elihu and Almira (Andrus) Allen.

Elihu Allen was a native of Pierrepont Manor and was a blacksmith by trade. His wife was the daughter of George and Angelina (Betts) Andrus. George Andrus was born in 1789 and his wife was born in 1815. He was paymaster of a regiment of militia in Jefferson County in 1808 and again in 1812, and from 1810 until 1813 was a merchant at Ellisburg. During 1814-15 he was in charge of his father's interests at Little Sandy, from 1815 until 1820 he was magistrate at Ellisburg, and in the latter year became a merchant at Adams. In 1820 he was also appointed county clerk in Jefferson County by Gov. Dewitt Clinton, and two years later became a member of the General Assembly. He was appointed postmaster of Adams in 1822, during 1824-25 was a merchant at Ellisburg, and from 1826 until 1829 lived on a farm at North Adams. He later lived in Watertown and at the time of his death, June 8, 1846, was living at Adams, where he held the office of magistrate. His wife died Feb. 15, 1845.

George Andrus was the son of David Ira and Sally (Ranney) Andrus. David Ira Andrus was born in Connecticut in 1766 and enlisted in the army in 1781 at Southington, Conn. He served as a fifer in the Sixth Company, Fourth Connecticut Regiment, commanded by Col. Zebulon Butler; was transferred later to Captain Robertson's company, Second Connecticut Regiment, commanded by Col. Herman Swift. He served as a private and his name appears on the rolls until May 26, 1783. In 1789 he went to Oneida County, N. Y., and in that year became a charter member of Roman Lodge of Free Masons, of which he served as treasurer in 1802. He became a resident of Ellisburg, Jefferson County, in 1805, and was agent for Col, Samuel Wardwell of Rhode Island. He built the first sawmill at Mannsville and built the first dwelling and hotel at that place. In 1812 he built a hotel which was destroyed by fire in 1890. He also built saw mills, grist mills, distilleries, and blacksmith shops and employed many men. From 1810 until 1825 Mr. Andrus also engaged in the mercantile business with his son George. He built the army barracks at Sacket Harbor in 1812, and in 1817 built the Jefferson County Bank Building at Adams, of which he was a director. He served as a member of the General Assembly from 1809 until 1812, and in the latter year was elected sheriff of Jefferson County, in which capacity he served until 1818.

Joseph Allen, the father of Elihu Allen, was born at Westport, Mass., Nov. 14, 1758. He was a descendant of George Allen, a native of England. Joseph Allen was a blacksmith by trade, and in the fall of 1804 settled at Ellisburg, N. Y., and purchased 320 acres of land at Bear Creek. He built the first house there, the place being a wilderness at that time. He was a MinuteMan two years and nine months during the Revolutionary War, attached to a piece artillery. Joseph Allen was married June 27, 1784, to Prudence Earl of Dartmouth, Mass.

William Jarvis Allen received his education in the district schools and also was a student in the parish school at Pierrepont Manor, which was conducted by Rev. William Paret. He was a student at Hungerford Collegiate Institute, and in 1864 became an apprentice printer in the offices of Dwight & Eddy at Adams. In 1865 the office was sold to George C. Bragdon and that same year the plant was destroyed by fire that swept the main part of the village. Mr. Allen entered the employ of the Reformer in Watertown in 1866 and later worked on the Observer in Utica, N. Y. Three years later he came to Adams with Pratt & DeLong, editors and publishers of the North Temperance Journal, and the following year Mr. Allen purchased the interests of Mr. Pratt, the firm becoming DeLong & Allen. In 1871 Mr. Hatch purchased Mr. DeLong's interests and the paper was thereafter known as the Jefferson County Journal. In 1879 Mr. Allen became sole owner and publisher of the publication, with which he was actively identified until the time of his death. In 1921 his daughter, Edna Frances Allen, became assistant editor.

In 1875 Mr. Allen married (first) Miss Alice Dee Kilby, the daughter of Capt. Austin and Rhoda (Warner) Kilby. She died in 1891. Their children were: 1. Dora Mary, deceased, was the wife of Melvin G. Dodge. 2. Edna Frances, lives at Adams. 3. Alice Mabel, married Henry M. Brown, lives at Utica.

On June 13, 1895, Mr. Allen married (second) Miss Clara Cooper, the daughter of I. S. Cooper, of Henderson, N. Y. She resides at Adams.

Mr. Allen took a prominent part in local politics and was a lifelong Republican. He was identified with the New York State Editorial Association, Central New York Press Association, and Northern New York Press Association, of which he served as vice president.

Mr. Allen was a trustee of the Presbyterian Church, a member of the Citizens Club, Board of Trade, Rising Sun Lodge, F. and A. M. No. 234, Adams Chapter, R. A. M. No. 205, Cecelia Chapter, O. E. S. No. 156. For a number of years Mr. Allen had served as a trustee of Adams Collegiate Institute.


The North Country
A History, Embracing
Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis
and Franklin Counties, New York.
By: Harry F. Landon
Historical Publishing Company
Indianopolis, Indiana 1932

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