Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Ebeneezer Allen

I live in Allen, Texas. Allen shares the same history as a lot of Texas towns. It sprang up as a farm-to-market town when the railroad laid tracks here in 1872. In those days, towns tended to get named for railroad executives. The railroad executive that gave Allen its name was Ebeneezer Allen. Unlike many similar inspirations, he passed away nearly a decade before he lent his name to the town.

I read a bit about Ebeneezer Allen. He grew up in Maine and New Hampshire. He served as Texas' first Attorney General. He never lived in Allen, of course, since Allen postdated him by nearly a decade.

The records I reviewed indicate that he was a staunch secessionist, who joined the Confederate Army in Virginia. Reports agree that he died in Richmond, Virginia in 1863 but differ on the reason he died. One article states "he died in the service of the South", but a newspaper report of the time suggests "apoplexy", the old-fashioned word for a stroke.

Allen stayed small until the 1990s. Today it has 80,000 or so residents. There are no statues to Ebeneezer Allen, but we do revere the old railroad bridge that still stands. The first train robbery in Texas was in Allen. As close to nobody as close could be favors secession now.

I had forbears on either side in the Civil War, just as this part of Texas had folks who served on one side or the other. But none of my ancestors served with Ebeneezer Allen, to my knowledge. None of my Civil War relatives, to my knowledge, experienced apoplexy during the war years, either.

I want to learn more about Ebeneezer Allen, who was on the wrong side of history, but ended up inspiring the name of a small town.

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