Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 203] Among the many contractors and builders of New Castle, our subject stands pre-eminent because of his large acquaintance with the work, and also because of the many large and elegant structures he has erected which rank among the first buildings of the city and are the pride of its citizens. Mr. Allen was born in Robinson township, now Stow, Allegheny Co., Pa., March 13, 1829, and is a son of William and Rebecca (Day) Allen, both natives of the Keystone State. John Allen, our subject's grandfather, was a native of County Down, Ireland; when he crossed the Atlantic with his family, he came to the State of Pennsylvania, like many others of his countrymen, and settled in the vicinity of Pittsburg, where he purchased a farm, and remained a few years engaged in agricultural pursuits. The latter part of his life was spent in the same pursuits in St. Clair township, and for those days he was considered a very well-to-do man. He married Jennie McGee, also a native of Ireland, and to them were born the following children, seven in number: John; Thomas, William, our subject's father; Alexander, Mary; Margaret; and Jane. They were Presbyterians.
William Allen was educated in the schools of St. Clair township, and, like his father, followed agricultural pursuits to very good advantage, becoming a prosperous citizen of the community in which he lived and very highly respected for his many sterling qualities. In his political views, he adhered to the doctrines of the Democratic party, but never cared to enter the field of politics, and contest for public office. He married Rebecca Day, a daughter of Jacob Day of St. Clair township, and gathered about him the following family: Jacob, who married Adaline McIntire of Lancaster Co., Pa.; John; Jane; Rebecca, who married Bernard Ingles; Margaret, who married George Blazier of Stow township; Thomas, our subject; and Susan, who married Thomas Hughes of Allegheny, Pa. They favored the Presbyterian Church. Our subject's father died about 1837, aged forty years; his wife survived him many years, finally departing this life to join those gathered on the other shore in 1873, when aged eighty years. Our subject was educated in the schools of his native town, and then learned the carpenter's and joiner's trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years under Charles Campbell of Allegheny City, Pa. He then accepted a position on one of the Mississippi River steamers, plying between St. Louis and New Orleans and continued in that connection eight years. He then went to Allegheny City, where he built several coal barges, which during the war were sold to the United States Government to use as transports. In 1867, he came to Lawrence County, settling at first in Mahoningtown, Taylor township, but two years later moving to New Castle, where he has been very extensively engaged since in contracting and building. He is known as an honest and conscientious workman, and he has the reputation of allowing none but the best labor and materials to enter into the construction of the various buildings which he contracts to build; he has built some of the finest structures now standing in the city of New Castle, among which are the residences of William Patterson, president of the Lawrence County Bank, and J. A. Crawford, Allen's Opera House, the Y. M. C. A. Building, and the First Presbyterian Church of New Castle, which is the largest and finest structure of its kind in Western Pennsylvania. The edifice is constructed of sandstone and fire-flashed buffed brick. Throughout his connection with the building industry of New Castle, Mr. Allen has always received the hearty patronage of those who want good jobs by one who will not allow his reputation in that line to diminish in the least.
In 1862 Mr. Allen was joined in marriage with Elizabeth Simpson, daughter of John Simpson of Mahoningtown, Pa., and to our subject and his wife eight children have been born: John W.; Eliza, who married William J. Rudesill, of Los Angeles, Cal., and has one daughter, Elizabeth; Jane, who married Howard D. Leslie of Mahoningtown, Pa., and has presented him with two children—Allen L. and Mary; Charles; Rufus; George; Ethel; and Mary, who died in her infancy. Politically, Mr. Allen is a stanch Republican, and was elected to the office of city councilman, a position he held for six consecutive years. The family are attendants of the Presbyterian Church.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 10 May 2001