Biography of Benjamin Allen
Springfield, Clark County, OH Biographies





BENJAMIN ALLEN, jeweler, Springfield. Mr. Allen has been for a number of years actively engaged in business here; he was born near Mt. Jackson, Shenandoah Co., Va.,Feb. 6, 1810; son of Benjamin and Hannah (Walton) Allen. Mr. Allen, Sr., was a native of Chester Co., Penn., born in 1757, but removed to Shenandoah Co., Va., when a boy; his decease occurred in Belmont CO., Ohio, in 1838, he being nearly 81 years of age. Mrs. Allen was born in Berkeley Co.,W.Va., in 1768, and died June 4, 1854, in her 86th year; her parents removed to Frederick Co., Va., near the Shenandoah County line, about 1776; both Mr. and Mrs. Allen were members of the Friends' Church. Benjamin was the youngest of eight children who attained majority, four of whom still survive, the three older being upward of 70 years of age. About 1810, Benjamin's parents made up their minds they would find a free community in which to raise their children; accordingly, his father came West with a view of locating land in the Miami Valley, but turned back on his arrival at Spring Valley, Greene County, where he had relatives, on account of becoming alarmed at the prevalence of ague; on his return, he purchased a tract of land in Belmont County, upon which there was a small opening and a cabin 16x18 feet, to which he removed his family, arriving in November, after a wearying journey of twenty one days. Mr. Allen, Jr.'s, first recollections are of scenes on this farm, the first being a fight between a wolf and their dog, assisted by the nearest neighbor's dog, which fight took place after night and within fifty feet of the cabin door; when 5 years of age, he began to attend school at the village, about two miles away; more than half this distance there was but a mere bridle path; during these school days, he heard many incidents of pioneer life, as the village was a place of rendezvous, and story telling was the greater part of their entertainment, except "muster-days," when the rougher element was out in force, and wrestling, horse racing, fighting, etc., became the principal attractions; when 11 years of age, his labor was considered more necessary than further education, and Benjamin therefore assisted his father on the farm until 21 years of age, without further school privileges. After he arrived at majority, he hired to a carpenter at $8 per month, and continued to work at that trade, his wages gradually increasing, until he received $26 per month, as foreman during this time, he superintended the construction of some of the first threshing machines made in that part of the State, and continued to follow his trade until 1842, when, on account of failing health, he was compeller to seek some lighter employment, and took instructions in repairing watches, and, being a natural mechanic, soon became proficient, and, in 1844, started business for himself in a small village. Nov. 20, 1846, he married Elizabeth Adams; she was born in Loudoun Co., Va., Jan. 24 1824; her parents were William and Margaret Adams; in 1832, her father being deceased, her mother removed her family to Belmont Co., Ohio, where the mother died in 1867, being 75 years of age. In 1848, Mr. Allen removed to Indiana, where he had bought a farm, but sold out and returned to Ohio the following winter, and in April again engaged at the jeweler's trade, in October, 1853, he removed to Springfield, and purchased a stock in the room now occupied by Leo Braun, where he carried on business until 1864, when he sold his stock to J. P. Allen; subsequently engaged in same business with M. P. Davis, occupying the room directly opposite his present place of business; his nephew, whose name is also Benjamin Allen, joined this firm. In 1866, circumstances compelled Mr. Allen to take the stock of the firm; in 1868, Mr. C. C. Fried took an interest with him, and they removed to his present stand, 35 East Main street, in April, 1869; this partnership continued until 1870, when Mr. Fried withdrew, and Mr. Allen has since continued the business alone at the same stand. Mr. Allen is one of the few now living who represent the connecting generation between the early pioneers and those who know nothing of the trials and hardships of those, reared in pioneer days, without school advantages. and when the "best families" were compelled to labor to keep the wolf from the door; he is a quiet, unassuming man, who would have been much more successful in life but for the loss, to a great extent, of his hearing, which began to fail about 1842; but nevertheless, he has accumulated sufficient for the wants of his declining years, and is respected and regarded as an honest, upright business man and useful citizen.

From:
History of Clark County, Ohio
W. H. Beers & Co.
Chicago 1881


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