Biography of Rev. Jehu C. Allen of Maryville

Rev. Jehu C. Allen, born December 5, 1833, near Greencastle, Indiana, was a dedicated minister and farmer in Nodaway County, Missouri. Son of John G. and Sally (Cole) Allen, he moved to Missouri in 1839. After marrying Mary Best in 1856, he developed a successful farm and became a respected community member. An ordained minister in the United Brethren Church, he founded a local church in Polk Township and preached actively for decades. After Mary’s death in 1886, he remarried Letitia (Graves) Donaldson in 1890. Retired and residing in Maryville, Allen is known for his lifelong dedication to faith and community service.

Nodaway county has been the home and the scene of labor of many men who have not only led lives which should serve as a lesson and inspiration to those who follow them onto the stage of life’s activities, but who have also been of important service through avenues of usefulness in various lines. Rev. Jehu C. Allen is to be classed with those men of well-rounded character, sincere, devoted, loyal and many other salient points which renders entirely consonant a tribute to his career in this compilation, his labors having long been directed for the amelioration of the people of this and other localities with gratifying results, but who is now living retired, enjoying a well-earned respite in the serene evening of his years.

The subject was born near Greencastle, Putnam county, Indiana, December 5, 1833. the son of John G. and Sally (Cole) Allen. The father, who was born and reared in Indiana, was the son of James and Delilah (Wright) Allen, who came to Indiana from North Carolina in an early day. settling near Greencastle when their son. John G.. was about twelve years old. Prior to the Revolutionary war, or at least during that period, the Allen family lived in Virginia. John G. Allen was probably born in Washington county. Indiana, September 10, 1811. and it was about 1823 that the family moved to Putnam county. Owing to the expected birth of John G.. his father hired a substitute in the army of William Henry Harrison that fought at the battle of Tippecanoe, November 7. 1811. John G.’s father died in Greencastle and his mother in Iowa, having come West with her children. Sally Cole was born in the Hoosier state and reared there, receiving, like her husband, a limited education in the schools of the first settlers. In 1839 John G. Allen and family of three children came direct to Buchanan county, Missouri, locating fourteen miles south of St. Joseph, near the village of DeKalb, and there the family remained until 1851. Mr. Allen volunteered his services in the Mexican war, but the company having its required number he was not taken and he went out as a teamster, driving an ox team to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was absent several months. When a young man he volunteered in the Black Hawk war, marching to Ft. Dearborn, now Chicago. For his services he received a land warrant from the government which he laid in Polk township, Nodaway county, Missouri, near the place where he settled in 1851. His first purchase of land is where the village of Bedison now stands, eight miles southeast of Maryville. At that time the country was wild and he had very few neighbors. Some of them were Allen and Silas Mosingo and their father, John Mosingo, Alexander Clelan, a Mrs. Cook, David Gaskill, John Kerliss, Allen Mosingo lived where Thomas Wright now lives; others lived three or four miles away, some living on One Hundred and Two river or Mosingo branch. The land was prairie at that time. John G. Allen had some money when he came here and he became one of the successful men of the county for those early times. On the place that he purchased was a hewn-log house. About 1875 he built the house that still stands. He at one time owned seven or eight hundred acres, securing most of it when it was cheap. He remained on that farm until 1884 or 1885, then moved to McDonald county, Missouri. After a residence of about thirty-four years in this state he died on his farm which he had successfully operated, on March 10, 1892, at the age of eighty years and six months. His wife Sally had died in Buchanan county. Their family consisted of five children, named as follows: Jehu C., of this review; Eunice died when about twelve years of age; James died in December, 1909, in Oklahoma at the age of seventy-two years: he lived in Nodaway county, Missouri, up to 1872, after which he lived in Kansas and Oklahoma; John G. left Nodaway county about 1902 and went to Texas county, Missouri, and is now living at Mountain Grove, this state; William died in infancy, two weeks after his mother died.

John G. Allen, Sr., was twice married, his second wife being Nancy Graves, a native of Tennessee, whom he married in Buchanan county, Missouri; she survived him, dying in McDonald county at an advanced age. Eight of her children reached maturity, namely: Wright Allen, who died when twenty-six years of age, left a widow and one child; Elizabeth married Richard Burnett, who died in Arkansas, and his widow is now living in Newton county, Missouri; Jacob, of McDonald county, Missouri; George died in Joplin, Missouri, in 1907, where he had been engaged in mining; Marquis D. is a miner living at Joplin; Benjamin lives in Polk township, Nodaway county; Delilah married George McConnell and lives near Joplin; Martha married John Cunningham and lives in McDonald county, Missouri. Thus the only members of this large family left in Nodaway county are Jehu C. and Benjamin.

Rev. Jehu C. Allen remained at home, assisted with the work on the farm and attended the local schools, until his marriage, on July 10, 1856, to Mary Best, daughter of Silas and Susan (Harrington) Best. She was born in Andrew county, Missouri, being nineteen years old at her marriage. Mr. Allen’s father gave him forty acres of wild land where Noah T. Thompson now lives. Here Mr. and Mrs. Allen lived for a period of over fifty years or until 1907. They began here with one horse but no capital. Their first residence was a small cabin built of round logs, containing one room, suitable only for a summer house, but they set to work with a will and soon had a start; in due course of time a frame house was built on the site of the present home. This was later rebuilt, and still later a second house was built to replace the first, which burned with all its contents, none of which was insured, this disaster being a severe blow to them. Mr. Allen added land until he owned one hundred and sixty acres, receiving one forty-acre tract from the government at one dollar per acre, on which he built his present house. Later he secured eighty acres at twelve and one-half dollars per acre, selling his first holdings at seventy-five dollars per acre, which at that time was the top of the market, but in three years was worth one hundred dollars per acre. He has carried on general farming very successfully. He has confined his attention pretty closely to his farm, never aspiring to political offices. He was a school director for many years. Politically, he is a Republican but not a politician. He has a cozy home on East Third street in Maryville, where he now resides. Mrs. Allen was called to her rest on September 21, 1886. Four children were born to this union, namely: Belle married William Thompson, son of Logan Thompson, of Oklahoma, his father having been a pioneer of Nodaway county; Ulysses Grant is mining in British Columbia; Mary A. married George Wright, son of Thomas Wright, of this county, and she is living in Idaho; John G. is living in the state of Washington.

Mr. Allen was twice married, his last union being to Mrs. Letitia (Graves) Donaldson, on April 30, 1890: she was born in Nodaway county, the daughter of Anthony and Margaret (Lower) Graves; one son was born to this union, Paul, now a student in the public schools.

Early in life Jehu C. /Mien became a member of the United Brethren church at Maitland, Holt county, Missouri, some twenty miles from where he lived. He formed a church of this denomination near his old home m Polk township. He is an ordained minister in that church. He has been active in church work since 1863 and he has become well known as a local preacher, having been an ordained minister for thirty years. For twenty years he has preached constantly, but recent failing health has interfered with his work, and for the past ten years he has not taken a very active pan in ministerial affairs; but when possible he does what he can in furthering church work and in doing what good he can.


B. F. Bowen & Company. Past and present of Nodaway County, Missouri. Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F. Bowen & Company. 1910.

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