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Benjamin Allen (1807-1873)

Benjamin Allen was born August 28, 1807, in Woodstock, Vermont.  He died July 5, 1873, at Pepin, Wisconsin.  

In 1834 Allen married Calista Dike and they had five children.  The Allen family came to Pepin in 1855, having lived in Hudson previous to that.  Benjamin Allen was a lawyer and store keeper.

Before coming to Wisconsin, Allen had been a colonel of militia in Vermont.  During  the Civil War he was commissioned as the colonel of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry, receiving his commission on October 10, 1861.  He participated in the Battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded in the arm.  The wound never healed properly and he resigned his commission because of it, on July 17, 1863.

Almon D. Gray (captain of Company H of the 16th Wisconsin) was his law partner before the war and married his daughter Calista.  Allen’s son, Cyrus, was a lieutenant in Company G of the 16th Wisconsin.

From The Hudson North Star of April 30, 1862:

COL. BEN. ALLEN.—Among the brave officers and men, who signally distinguished themselves on the bloody field of Pittsburg, was Col. BEN ALLEN, formerly a resident of Hudson.—The utmost bravery, skill and coolness displayed by him on that fatal Sunday, has received from superiors and the press the highest commmendation.  The Milwaukee News says:

“The evidence of the bravery, coolness and competency of the Colonel of the 16 at Shiloh, accumulate.  It is related that the color-bearer was shot down.  A second was wounded.  The Colonel then took the flag in his own hands, and bore it over an hour in the heat of the battle.  The accounts add that ‘he was the coolest man on the field, riding as unconcerned amid the thick hail of bullets, as if on parade.’  When Col. Allen first received his commission, we took occasion say that we knew that he would prove equal to any emergency pertaining to his undertaking.  He has thus nobly fulfilled the highest expectations of his friends.”

From Historical and Biographical Album of the Chippewa Valley, Wisconsin (ARC F 587 .C5 F7 1892 in the UWRF Archives):

Col. Benjamin Allen (deceased) was born in Woodstock, Vt., August 28, 1807 and died at Pepin, July 5, 1873. He was a son of Cyrus and Sally (Fletcher) Allen, the latter born in Chesterfield, N.H. Cyrus Allen, a carpenter by trade was a Scotch descent and died at Wabasha, Minn., in 1867 Mrs. Allen died in 1818.

Col. Allen began to learn the cooper’s trade when a small boy, at the same time studying nights until qualified to enter a store kept by his uncle, Mr. Fletcher.

When about twenty years old he engaged in buying horses for the Boston and Long Island markets, and made several trips to those places. Later he bought an iron furnace, and delt in iron utill 1844, living successively at Huntington, Bristol and Lincoln, Vt.

In that year he removed to Alburg Springs, where he served as United States revenue officer, and studied law under Judge Bowditch. He was admitted to the bar about 1847 and practiced successively at Swanton, Vt., St. Paul, Minn., Hudson and Pepin, Wis., and Wabasha, Minn.

Mr. Allen came west in 1848 and settled in Pepin in 1855, and took an active part in building up the village which he platted in company with Newcomb & Hoyt. In 1856, in company with H.S. Allen, of Chippewa Falls, he started a tri-weekly stage line between Pepin and that place, building most of the road over which theu had to travel. Between 1855 and 1868 he opened and carried on three different stores at Pepin.

Before coming west he was a colonel of militia in Vermont, and at the breaking out of the civil war he was commissioned colonel of the Sixteenth Wisconsin regiment, and served until July 17 1863, when he resigned.

He was wounded in the arm at Shiloh, but rejoined his regiment a week later. He was in command of his regiment until after the siege of Corinth, and shortly after was given command of the brigade, which he held until after the battle at the same place, when he came north on account of his health. He returned soon and took command of his regiment. His health was so poor, however, that after the siege of Vicksburg he resigned. His arm always bothered him, and he never regained his health.

In politics Mr. Allen was a democrat, an admirer of Stephen A. Douglas. He served as district attorney in both Pepin and St. Croix counties, and while living at Hudson represented the district in the Wisconsin senate in 1853-54; also served on the committee to appraise school lands in Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn counties. Col. Allen was an active, enterprising man and a prominent member of the Masonic order.

He was married, March 2, 1834, to Miss Calista, daughter of Amos and Sabrina (Fuller) Dike, who bore him five children: L. Jeannette (Mrs. R. L. Day); Mary M. (Mrs. F. Darlington); Lavette (Mrs N. S. Clapp); Calista (Mrs A. D. Gray), and Cyrus A.  Mrs. Allen died June 6, 1842, age twenty-six years, two months and twenty-three days.

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