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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Andrew J. Allen

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


ANDREW J. ALLEN. The subject of the following sketch was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, the 14th of November, 1832. His father, Stephen ALLEN, was a native of the same county and state, and remained there until his death, which occurred in May, 1862. His father married Elizabeth JACKSON, of same county, in 1831. There was born to them twelve children, ten of whom are yet living. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Elizabeth ALLEN removed to Urbana in the winter of 1863, and at present is still residing in this city.

Andrew J., was raised upon a farm until he was seventeen years of age when he went to the carpenter trade, at which he continued until he was twenty-seven years of age. In the fall of 1854, he left Kentucky and came to Urbana, and worked, at his trade until the spring of 1857, when he married Miss Amanda M. GERE, daughter of Asa and Eliza GERE, of this city. This event occured on the 24th of June, 1857. He then, with his wife, removed back to Kentucky, and remained there for two years. He returned here in the spring of 1859, and engaged in the dry goods business with the firm of Allen, Gere & Co. He continued as a member of the firm until 1865, when his failing health compelled his retirement from that business. In 1867, he embarked in the furniture business in Champaign City, but a destructive fire the same year, put an effectual quietus on that business. He again went back to his trade, and continued at it until 1870, when the I. B. and W. railroad was opened through this city, and the machine shops of the company were located here. He entered the carpenter shops of the company and worked at the bench for one year, when he was placed in charge as foreman of the car department, in which capacity he has continued ever since. During the last eight years that he has been in charge of the shops, the road has passed through different managements, each one replacing old men with new, but such has been his executive ability and skill in the management of his department, that he has remained through all the changes, and is, at the present time, the oldest employee in the shops. Both Mr. Allen and his wife are consistent and active members of the Baptist church, to which he attached himself at an early age. In politics, he is a Democrat. His first vote was cast for James Buchanan, in 1856, and he still adheres to the party of his choice in his youth, and believes that in the old principles as enunciated by Jefferson, is contained the very essence of true political science. Mr. Allen is a courteous and pleasant gentleman, kind and considerate to all, and is esteemed by all with whom he comes in contact. It is with pleasure that we present this brief biographical sketch of Mr. A. J. Allen, to our numerous readers.

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