Family Stories

The Allison Family of Muhlenberg County

The Record, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Thursday, October 19, 1911

The Allison Family

Some weeks ago, Young E. Allison, who is an associate editor of the Insurance Field, a trade journal of prominence, was in Greenville on a visit to relatives.  Mr. Allison is a son of Young E. Allison, Sr., who was born and reared in Muhlenberg County.

Samuel Allison, the father of Young E. Allison, Sr., was born in Ireland and came, with his parents to this country and located in North Carolina.  In after years he came to Tennessee and there married Margaret Dixon, and in 1801 they came to Muhlenberg County and located about four miles west of Greenville, near where the Friendship Church now stands.  At this place Samuel Allison and his wife lived, died and were buried.  Samuel Allison died in 1827, his wife in 1834.  To Samuel and Margaret Dixon Allison were born and reared five sons and one daughter.

Charles M., the oldest son, born 1796; died 1815.

William Dixon, the second son, born 1798; died 1860.

Young E., the third son, born 1801; died 1874.

John A., the fourth son, born 1803; died 1875.

Samuel H., the fifth son, born 1805; date of death unknown to writer.

Nancy R., born 1810; died 1864.

Samuel Allison, Sr., was said to be a man of rare wit and humor.  It is said that in the last years of his life he had a spell of sickness during which, at one time, he was thought to be dying.  His friends gathered around him and while some of there were bending down watching him, he made a sudden loud puff at them which at once dispelled their grief.

John A. Allison, a son of Samuel Allison, lived and died in Muhlenberg County.  He was married in 1825 to Fanny Watkins, who was born in 1803 and died in 1887.  She was a daughter of James Watkins, of English descent.  They settled about two and one-half miles west of Greenville, where they lived and died.

John A. Allison, born February 3, 1803, died April 2, 1875.  Old Liberty Cemetery, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

They were buried at the old Liberty Church burying ground.

Frances Allison, born October 20, 1803, died October 26, 1887.  Old Liberty Cemetery, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

To John A. and Fanny Watkins Allison were born and reared four sons and one daughter.

James W., the oldest son, was born in 1826 and died in 1870.  In 1849 he married Laura A. Martin, a daughter of Hutson Martin.  They remained in Muhlenberg County until 1855, when they moved to Missouri, where James Allison and several of his children died, after which his wife came back to Kentucky, where she now survives in Greenville at the age of eighty-five.  She brought back with her two children, a son, B. F. Allison, now residing in Oakland, California, a daughter, Annie, who afterwards married and in a short time died in 1890.

Finis M., the second son of John Allison, was born in 1829 and died in Greenville, Kentucky, in 1886.  When young he was made a deputy clerk under Charles F. Wing and served several years.  He also studied law.  In 1865 he came to Greenville and commenced the practice of law.  In 1867 he was elected to the State Senate, afterwards was appointed Tobacco Inspector and then appointed United States Commissioner, afterwards practiced law until his death.  He was married in 1849 to Julia A. Burks, a daughter of Foster James, of Butler County; she died during the year 1900; to them were born and reared six children, three sons and three daughters, Finis, John and James; Lucy, Alice and Naomi.  Finis became a doctor and preacher and died in the western part of the state.  John was a prominent lawyer and practiced law in Greenville, where he died in 1903.  James went to Chicago, where he died in 1898.  Lucy married Joseph Frazler and went to Texas.  Two daughters are now living in Greenville, Mrs. Alice Stokes and Mrs. Naomi Lovell.

Samuel H., the third son of John Allison, born 1832, left the state in early manhood and died in Wisconsin in 1855.

William, the fourth son of John Allison, born 1839, died at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1875.

Annie L., daughter of John Allison, born in 1835, married Britton Davis in 1859 and died in 1886.  To them were born five children, three of whom died in early life.  Two daughters survive in the county, Mrs. Belle Duvall and Mrs. Pearl Elkins.

John A. Allison was a good citizen, of moral habits, and a man of good sense and information.  He was of jovial temperament; it seemed to him great good to get a crowd of people around him and tell anecdotes and jokes.  He was full of wit and of quick discernment; he was a rather timid and bashful man.  We have heard him say that he always disliked to approach a crowd of people, that his hands seemed to be greatly in his way and he did not know what to do with them.

Samuel Allison, Sr., settled in a neighborhood with other pioneer settlers who raised families that grew up with the Allisons.  These families were that of Henry Black, Jerry Langley, Matthew Rice, Kennard Hay and Richard Reynolds, all of whom were good men.  The young men that grew up in the same neighborhood with the Allison boys were Wiley, Kincheon and Charles Hay; Henry, Felix and Nathan Black; John, Thomas and George Reynolds; William, Wesley and Sylvanus Langley; Reson, William and Claborne Rice; all these sons of pioneers became prominent men.  Out of the sixteen mentioned, ten became professional men.  There is no other neighborhood in the county that has produced a better set of men than were produced in the Sam Allison neighborhood.  The Black boys grew up and left the county.  Felix Black became a prominent Methodist preacher and located in Cincinnati.  Henry Black became a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher and located in Illinois.  Nathan became a lawyer of distinction and located in western Kentucky.  Wesley and Sylvanus Langley went south.  William remained in the county.  John Reynolds located at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  Thomas became a Methodist preacher and located in Louisiana.  George went to Illinois.  Wiley Hay remained in the county and became a prominent man.  Kincheon became a Baptist preacher and located in Illinois.  Charles became a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher and located in the western part of Kentucky.  Dixon, Young and Samuel Allison located in Henderson County, Kentucky, where Dixon became the Circuit clerk and Young the County Clerk, which offices they held for many years.  They all raised families, the history of whom we are not informed.

Reson Rice, who married Louise Black, remained in the county and settled near the old Black homestead.  He was a man of fine sense and information, but he had an awkward appearance and movement, and in a common way was not a glib talker.  Upon one occasion he had a lawsuit of some interest and acted as his own attorney in the case, having studied law some but had never practiced; as he assumed his case the judge and lawyers seemed to be amused as if they expected some fun, as Rice was a little slow in getting off.  But as the case proceeded Rice began to handle it with considerable skill, and when he made his speech he straightened up and with the fire of his unexpected eloquence astonished the whole outfit and won his case.  He was afterwards regarded as a man of ability.

In the conclusion of this article we shall add that all these sons of pioneers mentioned would gather at the old log school house in the neighborhood of Samuel Allison, where they learned their first lessons from Kennard Hay, a school teacher.  The school house was also used for religious worship, and was called Hickory Withe, and there they would carry on debating societies every year and by practice some of them became good speakers and in after years became distinguished as speakers.  These sons of the pioneer families of the Samuel Allison neighborhood have long since disappeared from the walks of life.

After the death of Samuel Allison and his wife, the old homestead passed into the hands of John Staples who reared a large family on it, where he built a horse mill which was run for years.  At this old horse mill John A. Allison, Reson Rice and John Staples would often meet and discuss history, religion and politics; they were all well posted in such matters.  After the Staples family had abandoned the Allison homestead it passed into different hands and is now owned by one William McWirter.

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