Allen is an ancient Celtic name derived from Gaelic ailin or ailene = little rock or hard. Variations are Alan, Allan, Allegyne, Alline, Allin. Patronymic forms include Allenson, Allis, Allanson, Allison, Allinson, Hallison, FitzAlan, McAllan, McAline, McEllen, McElane, McKellan, McKellen. All of our Allen ancestors appear consistently in the records as ALLEN.
Allen was one of the most popular names when surnames were becoming
hereditary. It is said to have to come into England with Alan Fergeant, Count of
Brittany, a champion of William the Conqueror, and the first Earl of Richmond.
It soon became common to Northern England and especially in Scotland which was
the original home of the Allens. The oldest known form of the name, found on
10th Century coins was Alamnus. According to John Urquhart in the American
Weekly of May 15, 1960, it is listed as one of the fifty most distinguished
names in American history. The Allen coat of arms as given in Burke's Peerage is
described as follows:
(last update 29 May 2003)
WILLIAM ALLEN  was born about 1762 in Virginia. He performed patriotic service (non military) during the Revolutionary War in North Carolina for which he may have been granted a land bounty. He was a frontiersman in the truest sense of the word, staying at the very edge of civilization most of his adult life. He moved his family to the Cherokee land (probably in an area which would become Blount County, Tennessee) at the end of the Revolutionary War and four years before the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This area became the U.S. Southwest Territory in 1790. Shortly after Tennessee became a state, in 1796, he moved to Spanish West Florida in what would later become St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. He was there when the residents revolted and demanded annexation by the United States in 1810. Louisiana was admitted to the union in 1812. William remained there during the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans. Five years after the Mexican Revolution, he moved to where he died just before the Texas Revolution and the forming of the Republic of Texas.
William married (1) KEZIAH ANDERS about 1782 probably on North Carolina. She was the daughter of WILLIAM ANDERS and was born about 1762 in North Carolina. Shortly after their marriage, they lived in Georgia where their first child was born. By 1785 they had migrated west to the Southwest Territory, near the northern border of the Mississippi Territory (present day border of Tennessee and Lauderdale County, Alabama) where their remaining six children were born. Tennessee gained statehood in 1796. Keziah is believed to have died there the following year.
In October 1812 President Madison claimed West Florida which became part of the Territory of Orleans. That same year St. Helena Parish was created. On April 30, 1812, the Territory of Orleans (land south of the present day northern border, including the annexed West Florida Parishes) entered the federal Union as the 18th state, Louisiana. In 1813 William is listed in tax records of Wilkinson County, Mississippi Territory. At that time he was the only voter in the household, owned five slaves and 100 acres of land in the area known as Bayou Sarah. It is likely that William had not moved but that confusion over borders resulted in his appearance in records by several local governments.
The War of 1812 had little impact on the region, being fought mostly on the northeast border with Canada, until the British defeated Napoleon. British troops were sent from Europe in 1814 in a campaign to capture strategic points along the lower Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. General Andrew Jackson issued a call to arms for the defense of New Orleans. William's sons Nathaniel and John and his son-in-law John Stephenson (husband of Lydia) enlisted in the 2nd Division, 12th & 13th Regiments, of the Consolidated Louisiana Militia. They served in the Florida Parishes, east of Amite River during 1814 and 1815. Son Peter served in Captain Thomas' Company of the Louisiana Militia. It appears the sons William and Daniel along with son-in-law Charles Myers (husband of Mary) were drafted into the 1st (DeClouet's) Regiment, Louisiana Militia. It is very likely that all these units served during the defeat of the British in the Battle of New Orleans under Andrew Jackson in December of 1814 and January of 1815.
In 1816 sons Daniel and John were married in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. In 1817 the Alabama Territory was created out of what was formerly the eastern part of the Mississippi Territory. On December 10 of that same year, Mississippi was admitted to the Union as the 20th state. Daughters Elizabeth and Sarah were married in St. Helena Parish in 1818 and 1819.
In 1821 Mexico, including the province of Texas, gained its independence from Spain. In 1823 the newly independent Mexican Republic established the empresario contract system to colonize the state with foreign immigrants who would become citizens of Mexico. Empresarios were people who contracted with the Mexican government to bring settlers to Texas in exchange for 9,300 hectares (23,000 acres) of land for each 100 families that they brought. Colonist had to become Mexican citizens. Anglo-Americans were attracted to Texas because of inexpensive land. Undeveloped land in the United States land offices cost $1.25 an acre for a minimum of 80 acres ($100) payable at the time of purchase. In Texas each head of a family, male or female, could claim a headright of 4,605 acres (one league-4,428 acres of grazing land if raising cattle and one labor-177 acres of irrigable farm land if farming) at a cost about four cents an acre ($184) payable in six years, a sum later reduced by state authorities. Not surprisingly, most colonists claimed to be both farming and raising cattle. Another attraction was that Mexico and the United States had no reciprocal agreements enabling creditors to collect debts or to return fugitives. Therefore, Texas was a safe haven for the many Mississippi valley farmers who defaulted on their loans when agricultural prices declined at the end of the War of 1812 and bankers demanded immediate payment. There is no evidence to suggest that this is why the Allen family moved west.
Early settlers of the Bevil District of the Nacogdoches Department in the newly liberated Mexico included James and Absalom Jett (1823), Robert and Elizabeth Johnson, David and Jacob Gamer, Claiborne West and John McGaffey (1824), John Jett (1826) and John and William Allen (1827), John Cole, David Cole, David Burrell, and James, William, and Gilbert Stephenson (1828), and Theron Strong, David Harmon, and George and John Stephenson (1829), John Harmon, Stephen Jett, Hiram Bunch, Clark Beach, and George A. Pattillo (1830). Two early grants, now in Orange County, were issued to John Stephenson and Theron Strong on February 17 and March 9, 1830.
Later land records indicate that William and sons Moses (age 18), George (age15) and Benjamin (age 14) arrived in August of 1826. Hannah, her two infant sons, Elisha and Elijah, and daughters arrived in 1827. It is possible that William and his teenaged sons went ahead to establish a homestead then Hannah and the younger children followed a year later. They arrived before Lorenzo de Zavala obtained a Mexican empresarial grant covering most of what is now Jasper County in 1829. Though John Bevil is credited as being one of the first Anglo-American settlers in Texas, the Allens were not far behind. In 1830 George W. Smyth found about thirty families scattered between the Sabine and Neches rivers. Most were clustered near the present-day site of Jasper. It appears that William was given a grant for 2,214 acres of land (listed as Abstract #1 in district records) along the Neches River. This is one-half league, an odd amount for colonists. Nathaniel remained in St. Helena Parish until after 1828. Daughter Sarah Ann and her husband George Pattillo arrived in 1830. Son Thomas remained in Louisiana and son Peter removed to Arkansas. William and Hannah may have returned to Louisiana as they are listed in the 1830 census of St. Helena Parish. William died between 1830 and 1836 in either Louisiana or Texas. It has been reported that William is buried in Pine Island Cemetery in Jefferson County, Texas but no record has yet been found. It is possible that, after his death in Louisiana, Hannah returned to Texas, perhaps with her recently widowed son Nathaniel, though she was not in his household in 1835.
As the storm clouds revolt gathered in October 1835, it was apparent that the Allen's were to be in the forefront of the Texas War of Independence. On 3 October a Declaration of War is issued and immediately a call for volunteers to muster at Gonzales was sent out. On 11 October the Army of Texas is organized and Sam Houston is elected commander-in-chief. General Austin immediately set out for San Antonio de Béxar with 300 volunteers and requested reinforcements and supplies from Nacogdoches.
Captain James Chessher, the long-time ferryman over Pine Island Bayou, mustered a company of Jefferson and Jasper County volunteers and joined Sam Houston's forces at Bexar. Members of his company included William, Moses, George, and Elisha Allen (sons of William Allen). Elisha, George and Moses were assigned to Lewis' Company on 16 November, the same day Austin ordered rationing for the troops. On 24 November Austin was ordered to go to the United State as Commissioner to appeal for help and Edward Burleson was elected his replacement. General Burleson was firmly convinced that it was practicable to reduce the town conceived a plan of storming the town with a party of volunteers from the army. He accordingly authorized his adjutant and inspector-general, F. W. Johnson, and Colonel Benjamin R. Milam to raise a force of volunteers from the army to attack the enemy on the following morning. Two hundred and sixteen men volunteered for this service promptly, including the Allens. On 5 December Milam and his volunteers attacked. For four days intense house-to-house fighting ensued. Milam was killed but the 1,200 Mexican troops were soundly defeated. There were 400 Mexican casualties but only two dead and 26 wounded among the Texans. On 11 December General Cos surrendered and moved his troops back across the Rio Grande. The victory at the Battle of Bexar effectively liberated Texas as there were no Mexican troops Texas.
A garrison of 104 Texans then moved into the Alamo mission. On Tuesday, 23 February 1836, Santa Anna's troops moved into the San Antonio main plaza and the General demanded an immediate and unconditional surrender by the Alamo garrison. The answer from the Texans was a cannon shot and the siege began. On 24 February Colonel Travis sent an appeal to Sam Houston for reinforcements. When Joseph Dunman reached Liberty on 1 March with a copy of Colonel Travis letter from the Alamo, Captain Benjamin F. Harper immediately raised a company of twenty-eight men at Beaumont. In Logans company were John Stephenson son-in-law of William Allen (husband of Mary) and Hezekiah Williams, father-in-law of Moses Allen. At Liberty, Harpers company was merged with Captain William Logans company. They did not make it to San Antonio before the Alamo fell and all defenders were killed on 6 March.
Harper and Logan joined Houston at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto river and prepared a defense. The following morning Santa Anna's troops arrived but were stopped by cannon fire. On 21 April Houston's forces of 750 men faced more than 1,500 enemy. Houston advanced and when within seventy yards of the enemy the command to fire was given and shouts of "Remember the Alamo" rang along the entire Texas line. Within eighteen minutes 700 Mexicans were killed and another 730 taken prisoner. Only nine Texans were lost. John Stephenson and Hezekiah Williams survived. With the victory at the Battle of San Jacinto the battle for Texas was won. Captain George W. Hargraves was en route to San Jacinto with twenty-one men, including George Patillo, husband of Sarah Allen, John and one other Allen, when the battle was fought but did not arrive until after the surrender of General Santa Anna.
After the surrender of Santa Anna these men returned to their farms and ranches. But, even after the victory at San Jacinto there were a number of Mexican armies still intact in Texas, and the volunteer Texas companies were sorely needed to escort the Mexican forces to the Rio Grande. The threat of a renewal of hostilities continued. On 6 June 6 1836, Captain William Logan discharged his 90-day volunteers, but his lieutenants, Franklin Hardin and B. J. Harper, re-enlisted most of them into two companies. A number of Jefferson County soldiers served in each unit. Among Captain Hardin's enlistees were Elisha and James Stephenson, sons of John Stephenson (who fought at San Jacinto) and Lydia Allen. At Beaumont on 7 July Captain Harpers enlistees included 2nd Lt. George Allen, Moses Allen, and John Allen.
Later that year the newly formed Republic of Texas issued land grants of one league of land to each adult male who was in Texas prior to 1836. Grants in the Bevil District were given to Hannah (apparently William's grant), Moses, and George who each were granted one league. Benjamin, Elijah and Elisha each received 1/3 league as allowed for males over 17 years of age. George Pattillo was granted one labor (177 acres). Additional grants were awarded to Moses, William, Daniel, Elisha, Elijah and John for their service in the Texas War of Independence. In 1838 George Pattillo, in his role as curator of William's estate commissioned a survey of William's land.
Children of WILLIAM ALLEN and KEZIAH ANDERS are:
Children of WILLIAM ALLEN and HANNAH PRIDE are:
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