George Allen Correspondence

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic feet)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase; Carmen D. Valentino, 1990
Processed By: Jill Tominosky, Student Assistant, Manuscripts and Special Collections, September, 2019

Biographical Note:

Joseph Allen (1758(?)-1838) married Prudence Earl (1767-1843) of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on June 27, 1784; they lived in Dartmouth until 1793 when they moved to Galway, Saratoga County, New York. In the fall of 1804, Allen, a Revolutionary War minuteman, and his family moved from Galway to Bear Creek, Jefferson County, New York, now known as Pierrepont Manor. Allen bought 320 acres at three dollars an acre and built the first house in the community. Shortly after, he opened an inn and, a few years later he gave the community land for a cemetery and a public square; in 1818 he built a hotel which he operated until 1823. He served as supervisor of the town of Ellisburg[h] in 1808-1809 and as a magistrate. The couple had ten children, including Elihu (1806-1886), who became a blacksmith.

Elihu married Almira (Andrus) Allen and had three sons: George (1840-1916), who moved to Buffalo, Erie County, New York; William Jarvis (1845-1926), and Edward Betts (1849-1872), both of whom moved to Adams, Jefferson County, New York. Not much information has been found on Edward or on George, whose papers mostly comprise this collection; however, William was a prominent figure in the Adams community.

In 1875, William married Miss Alice Dee Kilby (1849-1891), the daughter of Capt. Austin and Rhoda (Warner) Kilby. Their children were: Dora Mary (1878-1923), who married Melvin G. Dodge; Edna Frances (1880-1983); and Alice Mabel (1886-1976), who married Henry M. Brown. On June 13, 1895, William married Miss Clara Miranda Cooper, the daughter of I.S. Cooper, of Henderson, Jefferson County, New York.

William became a printer’s apprentice under Justus Eddy, publisher of the Jefferson County News on December 19, 1864, receiving $60 per year with board and laundry in the Eddy home. In 1871 William purchased his first interest in the paper, then called Jefferson County Journal, and formed a partnership first with a Mr. Dillon and later that same year with S.W. Hatch, the new firm being known as Hatch and Allen. In 1879 Mr. Allen bought out Mr. Hatch's interest and remained the sole proprietor until his death.

In 1921 William’s daughter, Edna, left her teaching position in Bernardsville, New Jersey, to assist her father in the journal office as his health had been impaired by a serious operation. She remained as his assistant until his death in 1926 and then, forming a partnership with her stepmother, Clara, continued the publication of the journal. Edna became the sole owner and publisher on July 18, 1941, when Clara Cooper Allen died.

Elihu, Almira, George and Edward are buried in the Pierrepont Manor Cemetery; William at Elmwood Cemetery.

Scope and Content Note:

The majority of the correspondence consists of letters George Allen sent from Buffalo, Erie County, New York, to his mother, Almira Allen, who lived in Pierrepont Manor, Jefferson County, New York. His letters comment on his job with the Erie Railway Company, visits with friends and relatives who pass through Buffalo, and on cloth he has chosen to send to his mother. Many of his letters state that he has included some money for his mother and/or his father. Some of the letters are written on railway stationery.

Almira Allen’s letters, sent from Pierrepont Manor, Jefferson County, New York, to her son, George in Buffalo, Erie County, New York, from January 1876 to September 1887, provide news about the family, friends, and the community. Both sets of letters give the impression there were other letters in the correspondence that are not included in this collection.

A letter from George’s young niece, Dora (William’s daughter), and a letter from William to his daughter Edna are included in the collection, as well as are two letters from William to his brother George, written on Jefferson County Journal letterhead.  The first letter, dated March 28, 1879, mentions the enclosure of a photograph of “baby,” probably Dora, and asks George what he would think about William buying out his partner’s interest in the newspaper, which he did do in August or September 1879.

Box and Fodler List:

Box Folder Description
1 1 Letter to George Allen from his niece, Dora Allen, n.d. 3(4)p.
1 2 Letters to Almira Allen, [Pierrepont Manor, New York], from her son, George Allen, Buffalo, New York, 1885-1889 (16 letters, one of which is incomplete).
1 3 Letters to Almira Allen, [Pierrepont Manor, New York], from her son, George Allen, Buffalo, New York, 1885-1889 (16 letters, one of which is incomplete).
1 4 Letters to George Allen, [Buffalo, New York] from his mother, Almira Allen, Pierrepont Manor, New York, 1876-1887 (19 letters)
1 5 Letters to George Allen, Buffalo, New York, from brother, William Jarvis Allen, Adams, New York, 1879 and 1886
1 6 Letter from William Jarvis Allen, Adams, New York, to his daughter, Edma, 1902. 4p.
Last Updated: May 24, 2021