Biography of Henry W. Allen
Prominent Persons in Virginia, Biographies

Allen, Henry Watkins, was born in Prince Edward county, Virgina. April 29, 1820. His father was a practicing physician and removed to Missouri, whee the son was educated at the Marionville Collegiate Institute. He studied law, was admitted to the Mississippi bar and practiced his profession. In 1842 he responded to President Houston's call for volunteers to aid the people of Texas in their war with Mexico, and raised a company which he led. He returned to Grand Gulf, resumed practice, and was, in 1846, elected to the state legislature. He then engaged in sugar planting in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was elected to the state legislature of Louisiana, in 1853. The next year he took a legal course at Harvard College, and in 1859 started for Italy, intending to enlist with Garibaldi in his struggles for independence. On his arrival, the war being over, he made the tour of Europe. and returned home, where he again served in the state legislature. When Louisiana seceded he enlisted in the Confederate army and was made lieutenant colonel. He was soon promoted to be colonel of the Fourth Louisiana Regiment and military governor of Jackson, Mississippi. He was wounded at Shiloh and at Baton Rouge, where he commanded a brigade. At Vicksburg he did effective service. He was promoted brigadier general in 1864, and the same year elected governor of Louisiana. In this capacity he organized a route of trade to the Mexican border and exchanged cotton for supplies needed in the state, which he sold to the people at moderate prices, besides giving to the poor. He also, secured to the planters the right to pay the cotton tax imposed by the Confederate government in kind, and was largely engaged in preventing the manufacture and sale of liquor in the state. After the war he removed to the city of Mexico, and established the "Mexican Times." He died April 22, 1867.

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
Volume III
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915

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