By Richard Gwynallen
In An Allen and Thompson Story – From the Farm to the City, we introduced the family of George Benjamin Allen and Mary Fleming Thompson in order to explore my father’s paternal line, George and Mary being his great grandparents.
In this essay I am particularly looking at the siblings of their son, my great-grandfather, Alonzo Lafayette Allen, whose story was introduced in the above mentioned article, but who will make an appearance here, too.
The Allen-Thompson farm where they all grew up was near modern day Wake Forest, North Carolina. In the 1850 Federal Census the residence is referred to as in the Western Division, Wake County, North Carolina.
By the time of the 1860 Federal Census, Forestville had become the post office for their farm. Forestville developed as a town as it was on a major north-south path used by Indians and settlers on a ridge between Smith Creek and Richland Creek. Also, an early Wake County road, Forestville Road, crossed that ridge and probably continued on toward the community of Falls. During the 1830s stores opened in Forestville, and on 19 March 1840 the railroad reached the village. By the 1870s Forestville was a center for mills as well as stores. “In 1872 the village of Forestville boasted at least eight nearby mills grinding corn and flour, six general stores, one liquor store, a shoemaker and the Masonic lodge.” (Source: Wake Forest Gazette). George and Mary and their children probably traveled to Forestville regularly for a variety of commercial needs.
However, Wake Forest College had its start in a house purchased by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. From early in the 1850s the college worked to get the train depot moved from Forestville north to Wake Forest. As the area grew following the Civil War they finally succeeded in getting a post office and then the relocation of the depot in 1872.
By the 1870 Federal Census, Wake Forest was the post office for George and Mary’s farm.
George and Mary had at least 11 children, of which Alonzo was the youngest. Some moved from the farm to the city. Others tried to stay the course as family farmers. I haven’t found out much about several, but there are small stories to tell about a few. This essay may be a work in progress, with me adding material as I find it.
I am going to start with my 2nd great-uncle, George Michael Allen (1835-1907), because part of his story directly relates to that previously mentioned article.
George enlisted in the Confederate Army in Wake County on 15 July 1861. He enlisted as a Private in Company A, 1st Light Artillery Regiment, North Carolina. For most of the war this regiment was part of General James Longstreet’s army.
His brother William (1833 – 1900), obviously another 2nd great-uncle of mine, had earlier enlisted in Wake County on 8 May 1861 as a Sergeant in Company A, 1st Light Artillery Regiment, North Carolina. He was promoted to Full Quartermaster Sergeant on 1 January 1863.
The brothers were present at the battles of Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness campaign, and others. The regiment was among the last to leave Petersburg covering the retreat of the Confederate Army. The battery joined the army at Appomattox Court House after Petersburg was evacuated. They received word of the surrender at Appomattox and final orders to bury their guns and burn the carriages. Upon completion of this task, the men mounted their horses and rode off for Lincolnton, North Carolina. Officially the battery was surrendered at Appomattox, but the soldiers were never officially paroled as they left the field and did not receive parole papers. I do not know if they were ordered to depart or did so on their own, or what their objective was. In any case, William took the Oath of Allegiance on 6 June 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina. We don’t yet know when or where George took the oath.
In An Allen and Thompson Story – From the Farm to the City, I described the migration of the family from the farm to Raleigh. I particularly focused on Alonzo and his son, Worth Bagley, and their business, Allen Forge & Welding. I understood that Alonzo had been in the business with at least one brother, but I had not seen business records from the forge that would describe who worked there.
In the 1880 Federal Census, George, the eldest child of George and Mary, is living in southeast Raleigh, with his occupation listed as “Foundry Plow Castings and C.” Not sure what “C” means. However, it seems that George was already forging metal plow implements while Alonzo was still living on the farm. As far as I know Allen Forge & Welding did not open until 1910. Perhaps the business got started when more of the brothers, or at least Alonzo, moved to Raleigh. Perhaps they decided to build on the business George had already started.
George was the second oldest child, born in 1835. Alonzo was the youngest, born in 1855. When Allen Forge & Welding opened in 1910 George was already 74 years old. It’s possible that Alonzo and other brothers took the business from George as their older brother was entering retirement. We also don’t know when George died. He was alive in 1900 when the Federal Census was taken. He was listed as living in Raleigh Ward 1, Wake, North Carolina. At that time, Alonzo was a carpenter living in Franklinton, North Carolina.
My 2nd great-aunt, Susan Hicks Allen (1844-1917), married James Anthony Winston in 1865. She was 21. He was 24. James’ parents were Isaac Winston and Salle Allen. Salle may have been Mary Ann’s aunt, making Susan and James cousins, but this relationship is not proven.
In the 1880 Federal Census Mary Ann and James appear as farmers in Freemans, Franklin County, North Carolina.
My 2nd great-aunt Mary Ann Allen was born in 1852. She married Almond Fleming on 7 December 1876 in Wake County, North Carolina. In the 1880 Census they appear as farmers in Little River, Wake County, North Carolina, but they are listed in the Jacksonville, Florida City Directory by 1891. In the 1910 Census they are living in Jacksonville Ward 2, Duval, Florida. Almond died there in 1915.
One of their children, Wade Hampton Fleming married Marcile Haynes. He was a truck driver. They are shown in the Jacksonville City Directory of 1929 to have lived in this house on 3040 Rosselle.
Marcile seems to have been a local pianist of some reputation. One of the clippings shows she was the pianist at the “electric theatre,” meaning she played in a silent movie theatre.
My 2nd great-uncle, Sidney Franklin Allen (1848 – 1918) was by the 1880 Census a farmer in Wake Forest Township, Wake County, North Carolina, and married to Cora Young.
My 2nd great-aunt, Caroline “Carrie” Allen, was born in 1838, and married John Richard Holland on 13 February 1862. They appeared in the 1880 Federal Census as farmers in Wake County, North Carolina. Their farm must have have been very near that of her parents as they appear in the census immediately after George and Mary’s household. After the death of her father, George, in 1884, her mother, Mary, would come to live with them.
My great-grandfather, Alonzo Lafayette Allen (1855-1932), was in the 1880 Census a young man of 25, living at home and identified as a laborer, which probably means he hired himself out to various jobs. His brother Henry, age 40, and sister, Candace, age 34, are also living at home in 1880. No occupation is listed for either. Both are simply identified as “At Home.” They may have just been visiting at the time of the census.
We know Alonzo eventually moved to Raleigh and was in 1910 involved with the opening of Allen Forge & Welding with his older brother, George. In the 1900 census, Alonzo was living in Franklinton, North Carolina and listed as a carpenter. It must have been somewhere between 1900 and 1910 that he moved to Raleigh because in the 1910 Federal Census he is in Raleigh working in a repair shop. This may have been Allen Forge & Welding since it opened that year.
Eventually, Allen Forge & Welding went to Alonzo’s sons, Milton (my great-uncle) and Worth Bagley (my grandfather).
The earliest Raleigh City Directory I have seen to date is the 1928 directory. It shows Milton as proprietor of Allen Forge & Welding. Worth Bagley was a machinist in the business. Perhaps Milton was the blacksmith. Milton’s wife, Lyda Martin Purnell, is listed as the bookkeeper and secretary in different directories. Various directories from 1928 forward show the same listings, and list the various people employed at Allen Forge & Welding.
In 1928, Alonzo was living at 612 Lane Street in Raleigh, and seems to have remained at this residence until his death in 1932.
The 1928 directory shows Worth Bagley Allen and Mabel Mooneyham living at 210 W. Morgan in Raleigh. The next year we find them at 404 Kinsey. By 1938 they had moved to 614 Polk Street, and lived there until 1940 when they moved out of the city to County Road 1, Cary, North Carolina. However, in 1938 we find Milton Allen and his family at 404 Kinsey. Perhaps it was a family property, or a rental property that simply passed from one Allen tenant to the next.
I’ll close this essay with Larkin Jethro Allen. I saw one genealogical chart where he appears as Larkin Jethro Jeter Allen. The Jeters are a family that intermarried with Allens in North Carolina. In the 1850 Federal Census it is hard to read his name. It could be Jethro or Jeter. Usually he appears in records as Larkin J. Allen. So, bottom line is that there is confusion over his middle name.
I have seen Larkin listed as one of the children of George Benjamin Allen, and as the brother of George Benjamin Allen. Personally, I doubt the theory that Larkin was George’s son. Though I’ve not seen a birth certificate for either one of them it appears that George was born in 1808 and Larkin in 1822. The age given for George in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 federal censuses is consistent at placing his birth in 1808. For Larkin, the 1850 census shows a Jethro Larkin in the house of George’s parents, Benjamin Allen and Martha Hicks, age 29, which makes for an 1821 or 1822 year of birth. He may have been married at that time and simply at home at the time of the census, or back performing work on his parents’ farm. Some say he married a Mary (possibly Mary McCall) about 1846, then Catherine Horton in 1851. However, his wife at the time of the 1880 census is recorded as “Mary.” The 1860 census shows Larkin farming in Cleveland County, North Carolina and gives a birth year of 1822. And the 1880 census has him still in Cleveland County and lists his age as 58, for a birth year of 1822.
For him to be George’s son George would have had to have been only 14 at the time of Larkin’s birth. George was not married until November of 1832, and there is a marriage bond and marriage record proving that time period. To the best of my knowledge this marriage to Mary Fleming Thompson was his first marriage.
So, I believe that Larkin was George Benjamin’s much younger brother, making Larkin my 3rd great uncle.
Before moving to Cleveland County, Larkin appears as a witness to the marriage bond of Lucy Earp and Benjamin Perry in Wake County on 24 September 1849.
At the time of the Civil War Larkin and Mary were farming in Cleveland County. Due to his age at the time of his enlistment, he may have been a reluctant recruit to the Confederate Army, most likely conscripted, though not impossible that he enlisted for the enlistment bonus. He enlisted as a Private on 13 August 1863 at the age of 41 or 42. He enlisted in Company G, 49th Infantry Regiment North Carolina. He was wounded about 15 July 1864. He was hospitalized on 28 October 1864 at Richmond, Virginia, and returned to duty on 29 December 1864. I’ve never seen any war records past that.
Larkin and Mary had 12 children, nine of which were listed for their household in the 1880 federal census. Anjaline, Emeline, Margaret, and Eliza were all married at that time and listed as “At Home.” They were present in the house at the time of the census. William, Laban, Perry, and Naomi are all listed as “works on farm.” The youngest, Levis or Lewis, is nine years old.
Information about Larkin and Mary becomes scant after this time. Larkin, not an uncommon name in the 19th century south, is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name, Lorcán.