White Hall Register Article from 1873
The Allen Family
In giving the Allen Family, it will be difficult to ? ? ? ? ? notice of the Bell family ? ? ? the most noted member Hon. John Allen, married a Miss Bell, and Mr. Frank Bell, father of Sheriff Bell and all others, married a Miss Allen.
The original proprietor of Belltown and mill, as also joint progenitor of the Allen family, came from Tennessee to Madison County, stopping near Upper Alton, about as early as any other white settlers in that region. His wife was a Miss Bryant having been married in Tennessee [false, they were married in Rowan County, North Carolina]. His house at Belltown was the first house built north of Apple Creek in Greene County. Mr. Morrow was long miller for Mr. Allen at Belltown. He with the others came to Greene in 1819, locating on Apple creek, and at once establishing a water mill, near about where Bell’s mill now stands. The building at first was a rude structure, and the dam was made of logs thrown across the stream, with sand filling. On account of the dry summers and spring freshets, this first dam soon went down the stream, as did a number of others after, made in much the same way. Mr. Allen could not have kept his enterprise in operation but for the fact that when each dam would successively wash away the whole country round, without reward, would turn out for days, and weeks perhaps, and restore it. The first successful dam gotten up was made by one Norton, who placed a formidable barricade of brush and dirt, behind a log wall, as usual, and this stood till the usefulness and reputation of the mill site became established. Mr. Allen then became a widely known and important character in the county. He was sociable, cheerful and a real philosopher. He was a Calvinist seceder from the Presbyterian church. He died at Belltown about 1835…
Thomas Allen’s first son was Hon. John Allen, who was married to a Miss Bell when he came to the county and at once took rank as a first class man. He was for almost 20 years a Justice, and of course was best known as “Squire Allen.” He was also the leading politician of the county from 1820-1837…
The daughter who married Mr. Frankie Bell, perhaps left the largest and most important posterity, being the mother of Allen Bell, in Wisconsin; Peggy Clark, in Missouri; Washington Bell, who married a daughter of Thomas Lorton, and died, Daniel Bell, a noted Cumberland Presbyterian preacher; John J. Bell, residing near Samuel Thomases, Carrollton, but late of Belltown a well known saw mill man; Francis M. Bell, late Sheriff of Greene County, and present proprietor of the original Allen mill, and the town of New Providence; Polly, wife of Jesse Allen, west of White Hall; Wm. Bell, also a noted preacher; and Mrs. Howard, now dead. Frankie Bell, father of all these, lived on a farm just north of White Hall, two miles, and now owned by B. F. Baldwin, and died up in McDonough county, about 20 years ago. This ends the Thomas Allen branch.
Came on with his brother Thomas and located the Joseph Rickart place, one mile Southwest of White Hall, and lived and died there. Aged 80 years. His was the first house built about White Hall. He was also from Tennessee [false, first was in Rowan County, North Carolina], through Madison county, and to Greene in 1819. No man was better known or more respected than Mr. Allen. He lived a smooth even life, and was a remarkably good man. He was father of 25 children. He was as young as a boy all his life, and loved fun and a joke till the last…
The Zachariah branch of this Allen family, have been principally Methodists, we believe except Jesse [Allen], and have always been of the quiet, reasonable, and conciliatory class of people.
Of the Allen’s and Bell’s it may be truthfully said that they have ever been moral, religious, and peculiarly law-abiding people. While in the days of these older Allen’s and even in the prime of Squire John Allen and Frankie Bell, whisky, fighting and racing were to a great extent in repute, yet these families, in all the ramifications and collateral branches have stood on the side of morals, the church and schools. We speak of this specially. In all the ups and downs of society, during the last 54 years, the Allen’s and Bell’s, wherever they have figured in the courts and in public it has generally been in honorable and peaceful capacities rather than as def’ts or even litigants in a vexatious sense of that term.
Transcribed by Paula Snyder
Xerox of original newspaper received from Rae Jean Putnam – June 2005