Joseph Allen

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

JOSEPH ALLEN, a farmer residing on section 21, Terre Haute Township, Henderson County, is a native of the Empire State. He was born near Bath, Steuben County, N. Y., Julv 4, 1 82 1, and is a son of Amasa Allen, who was born in Connecticut, and followed agricultural pursuits throughout his life. The family was of English lineage. On leaving his native State the father removed to New York, and in 1855 came to Henderson County, 111., locating in Terre Haute Township, where he purchased a tract of land, upon which he made his home until his death.

Had he lived two months longer he would have reached the age of one hundred years. He held membership with the Baptist Church, and was a most highly respected citizen. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Susanna Farrington, passed away at the advanced age of ninety-two years, and in Terre Haute Cemetery both were laid to rest. They became the parents of twelve children, namely: Jacob, Elizabeth, Martha, Hannah, Theodama, Mary, Joseph, Catherine, Amasa F. , Alfred T. , David and Charles.

In the usual manner of farmer lads, Mr. Allen of this sketch spent the days of his boyhood and youth. He attended the district schools of his native State until twenty-one years of age, and acquired a fair business education. On attaining his majority he began working as a farm hand, receiving about $10 per month, and in this way was employed for three years. On the expiration of that period, he purchased a farm in New York, and made his home there until October 1, 1854, when he came to the West. Believing that he could better his financial condition thereby, he emigrated to Henderson County, 111., and purchased one hundred acres of land on section 21 , Terre Haute Township. This was a wild tract, still in its primitive condition, but the care and labor he has bestowed upon it has transformed it into rich and fertile fields. The farm has be- come one of the best in the county. The fields are well tilled, good improvements have been made, and the owner is now successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising.

On the 24th of February, 1848, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Allen and Miss Amy C. Westcott, who was born in Jefferson County, N. Y., October 25, 1822, and is a daughter of Henry and Amy (Cushing) Westcott. Her father was a native of Massachusetts, and was of English descent. Mr. and Mrs. Allen have no children of their own, but have reared two: William J., who is now an attorney-at-law of West Superior, Wis.; and Belle J., wife of Joseph H. Donaldson, a farmer of Waverly, Ohio.

In his political views, Mr. Allen has always been a Republican, having voted with that party since supporting Gen. Fremont, its first candidate, in 1856. He has been honored with several local offices, having served as County Commissioner for five years, and as Township Treasurer for the long period of thirty-five years. He and his wife are consistent members and earnest workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Allen has served as Class-Leader for forty years, and as Trustee and Steward, and was Sunday-school Superintendent for fourteen years. His wife has been teacher of the primary class in Sunday- school for fourteen years. The poor and needy find in them friends, and they are prominent in benevolent and charitable work, though all is quietly and unostentatiously performed. Mr. Allen began life a poor boy, with little capital save a bright hope of the future, but he has steadily worked his way upward, and enterprise and a resolute purpose have overcome the difficulties in his path. He has thus achieved success, and become one of the leading and substantial farmers of the community.