Biography of Hon. Ira C. Allen
Rutland County, Vt. Biographies





ALLEN, HONORABLE IRA C., the subject of this sketch, was born at Bristol, a small town at the foot of the western slope of the Green Mountains, on the 4th day of April, 1816. His father. Richard Allen, was a descendant of 'timothy Allen, who came from Woodbury, Conn., in 1768 to Pawlet, Rutland county, Vt.; he was a cousin of Ethan Allen. His son, Timothy Allen, Jr., was born in 1757 and died at Hartford, N. Y., in 1834. He married Abigail Morse. Their issue was nine children, one of whom was Richard Allen. Timothy Allen, Br., went to Bristol, Vt., near the close of the last century; he owned a forge there and a farm, which he carried on until 1815, at which time, having lost his wife, he married the widow of Amby Higby and moved to Hartford, N. Y., where she resided. Richard Allen was born in Pawlet, March 31, 1783. He was twice married; first Nabby Groat, of Bristol, February 23, 1806, the issue being two daughters, one of whom, Mrs. N. C. Rose, of Peoria, Ill., is still living. Mrs. Allen died September 10, 1810, and he married for his second wife Annie Johnson, July 21, 1811; she was a native of Ticonderoga, N. Y.

Timothy Allen, jr., was a soldier in the Revolutionary army and fought under Colonel Herrick at the battle of Bennington, when nineteen years old. Richard Allen was conspicuous as a soldier in the second war with Great Britain; was adjutant in a regiment of Addison county cavalry. His regiment was ordered to the Canadian lines to enforce the embargo, and afterwards returned to Vergennes to aid in guarding the shipping then in process of building for MacDonough's fleet, which was to share a glorious part in the battle of Plattsburgh. When the shipping moved out upon the lake, the troops marched to Burlington, only to find the governor's proclamation ordering them not to leave the State. Richard Allen, with others, then resigned his commission. When Jehiel Saxton afterward called for volunteers in the streets of Burlington, Richard Allen's name went upon the list as the seventeenth volunteer; he subsequently took an active part in the engagement at Plattsburgh and Saranac Bridge. It will he seen that the subject of this sketch comes from good and patriotic stock. Richard Allen was the father of seven children by his second wife, viz.: Jane, Richard, Ira C., Elizabeth. Lucinda, Willard and Lucy Ann, all of whom reached maturity and all but the eldest are now living.

In completing a sketch of Mr. Allen we cannot do better than quote the language of Judge C. M. Willard, in an article in the Financier, as follows:

"The Hon. Ira C. Allen, founder and president of the Allen National Bank of Fairhaven, Vt., is a fair type of the energy, industry, frugality and thrift of the better class of New England business men. Such men are seldom born to the purple' and owe little, if anything, to adventitious surroundings or the advantages of scholastic training. The culture and habits born of privation and toil, with the moral and religious culture of a right home life, are a more substantial foundation for a successful life than an inherited fortune. A character thus constituted not only invites success, but survives the storms which not infrequently make shipwrecks of material wealth.

In 1817 his parents removed to Hartford, N. Y., where his father prosecuted the joint business of farmer, tanner and shoemaker. The succeeding eighteen years of the son's life were spent at home, the last six years as an apprentice in the shoe shop, with the annual respite of three months for attendance at the district school. At the age of nineteen his ambition led him to seek a business of wider scope and larger possibilities than a country shoe shop. Strange as it may seem to the young men of today, he negotiated with his father for, and actually purchased from him the value of his services for the remainder of his minority, and started out to shift for himself. He entered the country store of his uncle, Alonson Allen, in Livingston county, N. Y., in 1835, and the following year removed with him to Fairhaven, Vt., where he has since resided, with the exception of one year at Whitehall, N. Y. (1844), and another in New York city (1845), being employed as bookkeeper in the importing and jobbing dry goods house of Woodward & Terbell. He continued in the employment of his uncle until 1846, when he was received as a partner under the firm name of A. & I. C. Allen. In 1851 he purchased of his uncle one fourth interest in the marble business of Allen & Adams, the new firm being Allen, Adams & Co. In 1854 he purchased the remainder of his uncle's interest in the marble business and thenceforth the business was conducted under the firm name of Adams & Allen. This was a most fortunate venture, though it involved a heavy indebtedness. They purchased the marble quarry that had heretofore been worked under a lease. This was among the first marble quarries opened in Rutland county and was worked by this firm to the depth of one hundred and fifty feet. He made no mistake in his expectations of the marble business, then in its infancy. He devoted his untiring energy to its prosperity and reaped a large profit therefrom, until r868, when the company sold their quarry in West Rutland and he in the following year sold to his partner his interest in the mill and other company property at Fairhaven. Since that time he has made heavy investments in railroads, iron mines, slate interests and real estate, all with exceptional success. He was one of the projectors and also one of the ten original subscribers to the capital stock of the First National Bank of this place; has officiated there as director, vice president and president. He was a prominent promoter and investor in the stock of the Fairhaven Marble and Marbleized Slate Company, which was organized in 1869. He served as vice president of this company from its organization until the death of Colonel Allen, its first president, when he succeeded to the presidency, which office he now fills. He was an original subscriber to the stock of the Rutland and Whitehall Railroad Company; for many years was a director, its treasurer and now its vice president. He is also a director in the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad Company. In 1879, with a few other capitalists, he organized the Allen National Bank and was made its president. In addition to his business cares he has served two terms each as representative, 1861-62, and senator, 1867-68, in the State Legislature, with the same fidelity which has characterized his private business.

He purchased of W. C. Kittredge, in 1866, his dwelling and land on the west side of the park and erected his marble residence in 1866-67. He was one of the founders of and contributors to the Vermont Academy, at Saxton's River, Vt., and for many years has been on the board of trustees.

Mr. Allen is a man of large social qualities, of tender domestic affections, decided religious proclivities and a generous supporter of the church with which he is connected.

Ira C. Allen was married September 19, 1855, to Mary E. Richardson, of Geneva, N. Y. Their children are as follows: Charles R. Allen, born May 5, 1857. Ira R. Allen, born March 29, 1859. Jessie A. Allen, born October 16, 1860. Francis E. Allen, born April 29, 1863. All of these are living. Charles R. Allen was married November 29, 1882, to Jessie E. Dailey, of Hampton, N. Y.; they have one child, Lura Elizabeth, born March 10, 1885. Mrs. Allen died on the loth of March, 1885, at Jacksonville, Florida.

From:
History of Rutland County, Vermont
Edited by: H. P. Smith and W. S. Rann
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1886


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