Edward P. Allen

Edward P. Allen
Virginia Insurance
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Company E, 13th Kentucky Infantry
Independence Daily Reporter, Monday, November 29, 1915:

Prominent Banker Dies Suddenly Saturday Evening


An Old Resident of County and Prominent in Business Life Over 40 Years

Tribute of Respect

Mr. Editor: I deem it indeed a privilege, as your request, to pay a tribute to our common friend, Edward P. Allen, with whom I have been daily associated for so long a time.

It is not my purpose to pronounce an extended eulogy upon the character, life and services of the man whose death we so profoundly regret. No words of praise, no arch of victory, no monumental pile is needed to endear him to the people of his time. The story of his useful and honorable career illumines our brightest ideals of success and the well-earned fruits of his incessant labors give luster to his name and worth and will perpetuate his memory.

Mr. Allen was a man of activity and industry unsurpassed in public, professional or private life. The secret of his success lay in willing work and tireless toil. In the councils of his fellowmen, he earned and kept the leading part. He easily became a distinguished figure in his county’s history. Alike above corruption and suspicion, he bore himself with that dignity and uprightness which command attention and respect. The shafts of malice and of envy fell idle against his impenetrable armor. Sincere in his convictions, he despised shams, false pretenses and hypocritical professions. He thought for himself and spoke what he thought. He was loyal to his own convictions. Friendship could not swerve him from the path of duty. Enemies did not daunt him. He was an open, honorable, manly foe; he knew his enemies—his enemies knew him; yet he was a loyal, true and constant friend.

Mr. Allen was a marked financial success – the sole architect of his own fortune. Yet to his beloved wife and family he has left more than his splendid estate—he has left them with a legacy, greater, better and grander far than any earthly treasure—the legacy of a good name, a reputation untarnished, an integrity unimpaired. R. S. Litchfield.

E. P. Allen, one of the oldest residents and most highly respected citizens of this city, who has for more that forty years been identified with the business, official and social life of this community, suddenly passed away at his home, 301 South Fourth street, Saturday evening at 5:00 o’clock.

White it has been apparent the past few months to Mr. Allen’s intimate friends that his health was failing it was not until a week ago when he was suddenly attacked with what was considered acute indigestion at his office in the First National Bank that any symptoms of a sudden breakdown were apparent. Even though at this time his suffering was intense and there was some evidence of something more serious than indigestion, he rallied from the effects of the attack after he was taken to his home, and during the last week he became so much better that on Saturday he told President Litchfield of the bank that he would be found in his accustomed place at the bank Monday morning. He seemed very much better Saturday. A few minutes before he died he stepped out onto the porch. On returning to the room where his wife and his sister, Mrs. Ella M. Reed, were sitting, he sank down in to a chair and his head suddenly dropped forward. Mrs. Allen spoke to him and hastened to his side. He made no answer, the power of speech was gone forever. In the twinkling of an eye the last spark of life has gone out from the body of this active man, after an eventful career, marked by patient test, pronounced achievement and exemplary performance of all the duties of life, as citizen, husband, father, and friend.

Edward Payson Allen was born in Green county, Ky., January 3, 1843, and at the time of his death was 72 years, 10 months and 24 days old. He was the son of William B and Huldah (Wilcox) Allen. The Allens came orginally from the north of Ireland; they emigrated from the old country about 1630, and finally settled in Rockridge county, Va., establishing the American branch of the family. Edward’s great grandfather, John Allen, and his oldest parental great uncle, Robert Allen, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war, and at the close of the struggle for American Independence left Virginia, crossed the mountains and became pioneers of Kentucky. David Allen, grandfather of the deceased, settled in Kentucky in 1784. During the war of 1812 he served in the American army against England. Mr. Allen’s father, William B., was a native of Kentucky and by profession a lawyer, and for many years successfully practiced law at Greensburg, Ky., where he pasted his life. He was a Royal Arch Mason and was once a Grand Master of the grand lodge of Kentucky. Huldah Wilcox, Edward’s mother, was a descendant of old Puritan stock. She was born in Kentucky and was the mother of six children who reached maturity.

Mr. Allen obtained a good, practical education in the private schools of Greensburg, Ky., which he attended until 18 years old, when, although a lad he responded to the call for volunteers at the beginning of the Civil war and enlisted in the Thirteenth Kentucky Infantry, Company E, as first sergeant. The regiment saw its first service in Kentucky and participated in the battles of Mill Springs, Shiloh, Perryville, Stone River and many minor engagements and skirmishes.

Mr. Allen was promoted three months after his enlistment to lieutenant and was discharged as such at Louisville, Ky., at the expiration of three years. Soon after the close of the war he was engaged in the mercantile business at Matoon, Illinois, where he remained until 1867. That year he returned to Greenburg, Ky., where he conducted a store for two years and then returned to Matoon, Illinois, from which place he started overland on his journey to Kansas, as there were few railroads west of the Mississippi, arriving in this county with his wife and oldest child in 1870. On October 16 of that year he took up a claim near Clear creek, in section 31-33-16, where as a farmer he began his career in Kansas. On this claim he built a rude house which still stands. He experienced all the trials and hardships of the early pioneer farmers.

In 1873 he located in Independence and accepted a clerkship in one of the stores and was connected with the mercantile establishments of the city until October 5, 1877, when he was nominated for register of deeds on the Democratic ticket and notwithstanding that his political party was in the minority the following month he was elected by several hundred majority. Mr. Allen’s personal popularity won him this election and a re-election in 1879. His four years service in this office was marked by efficiency and a faithful performance of duty, and he retired with credit in 1882.

Then for two years he engaged in the insurance and brokerage business. In 1885 he became a director of the First National Bank, and the following year he bought the interest of the cashier of the institution. The management reorganized and Mr. Allen was the unanimous choice for president. He served as the efficient executive of the bank until 1905, when he resigned the presidency but remained on the board of directors. For nearly a score of years Mr. Allen served as president of the bank, and largely due to his conservative, comprehensive business methods is the solid foundation on which rests this big banking institution which is today one of the largest and most substantial banks in the state. Mr. Allen was succeeded by R. S. Litchfield as president of the bank but he never lost his keen interest in its welfare and it was a source of considerable satisfaction to hem when he saw the bank’s business expand and grow, year after year, the deposits of less than 0,000 when he assumed personal management growing to more than ,500,000.

In addition to his banking business in this city Mr. Allen was vice president of the Caney Valley National bank of Caney, Kan., and a director of the Home National bank of Longton, Kan. He also invested largely in good farm land and had other commercial interests of a sound character.

E. P. Allen’s death will be deeply deplored in Masonic circles where his activities have evoked countless testimonials to his splendid character and his devotion to fraternal duty. He was past master of Fortitude Lodge No. 107, A. F. & M., past high priest of Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, and had officiated for a quarter of a century as recorder of St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, of which he was past eminent commander.

Mr. Allen was to have presided tonight at a meeting of matrons and patrons of Eva Chapter No. 18, Order of Eastern Star, of which he was worthy patron.

On May 2, 1865, Mr. Allen was united in marriage with Mary F. Vansant, in Cole county, Illinois, and the happily united couple this year celebrated their golden wedding, surrounded by their family and intimate friends. Mr. Allen is survived by his wife and four daughters; Mrs. James F. Blackledge of Caney, Mrs. R. W. Cates of this city, Mrs. H. H. Kahn of Coffeyville, and Mrs. Glen H. Amsbury of Longton, and two sisters, Mrs. Ella M. Reed of Rock Island, Illinois, and Mrs. C. B. Johnson of Louisville, Kentucky. The former was a guest at his home when the last sad summons came so suddenly. He had ten grandchildren, in whom he took a great interest and a pardonable pride.

Mr. Allen was in the largest sense a self made man. He forged ahead by his own ability and determination and held an enviable position in popular esteem and respect. He was an affable gentleman and an interesting companion. A man of sound judgment and clear thinking his advice was largely sought and his opinion on a business proposition high valued. As a soldier his services to his country were early recognized by promotion; as a pioneer he met the vicissitudes of frontier life with courage and fortitude and contributed his share to laying the foundation for the great social and civic structure that is now the pride of the people of this section; as a public official he was accommodating and served the people in a manner that he retired with their confidence and esteem; as the successful businessman and banker he was the same plain, straightforward man and honest citizen and pleasant gentleman, performing the larger duties that came with wealth and station with that high regard for right and justice and clear comprehension of essentials and details and fidelity to trust that marked his whole career. He achieved success by frugality, economy and wise investment. His intimate friends have heard him relate how he always managed to live with his income and save a little when he was living on a salary of a month. It was no accidental turn in the wheel of fortune that brought him business success but the result of industrious effort, economy and a strict adherence to sound business principles and upright and honorable living. He gave freely of his time and means to promote these things he believed of benefit to society.

His death came as a great shock to his family and the community. For more than forty years he has mingled daily with the people of this community in the business circles, society and the lodge and church, being an active and influential member of the Presbyterian church of this city. He has left an honored name and an example that young men starting out in life can study with profit and emulate with advantage.

The funeral will take place from the family residence at 301 South Fourth street at 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon. The services will be in charge of ST. Bernard Commandary, Knights Templar. The funeral address will by made by Dr. S. S. Katey of Topeka, former pastor of the Presbyterian church of this city. All friends are invited.

The body will lie in state at the family residence from 10 to 12 o’clock Tuesday and all who desire to do so can call during those hours and view the remains.

The Evening Star, Monday, November 29, 1915, Pg. 1:


End Came Saturday Evening Following a Brief Illness

E. P. Allen, vice president of the First National Bank, and for 45 years an active and influential figure in the affairs of Independence and Montgomery county, died suddenly about 5 o’clock Saturday evening at the family residence, 301 South Fourth street. His death was wholly unexpected and was a shock to the entire city. The happy Saturday night crowds were saddened by the intelligence as it filtered through various channels to the public, for Mr. Allen was a genial, modest, neighborly gentleman who was a friend t6o all, and who, in the 45 years of his identification with Montgomery county affairs, had been the personal adviser and helper of thousands.

Mr. Allen, a week ago Saturday, while at work at his bank, was stricken with an attack of indigestion. He was subject to such attacks and had apparently rallied, so that no particular uneasiness was felt by his family. Saturday afternoon he had been up and about the house and yard. A few minutes before his death he had picked up a newspaper and gone to the porch. After a few minutes outside he came into the house, sat down, gasped a few times and died. Mrs. Ella Reed, his sister, saw that the was desperately ill and summoned Dr. J. T. Davis, but although the doctor was close at hand and promptly responded the veteran baker was beyond earthly aid when he arrived. R. S. Litchfield, president of the First National Bank, and long time associate in business of Mr. Allen, also reached the side of his comrade soon after the alarm was sent out, but too late to see him alive.

Mr. Allen is survived by his wife and four daughters, Mrs. J. F. Blackledge of Caney, Mrs. R. W. Cates of this city, Mrs. H. H. Kahn of Coffeyville, and Mrs. Glen Amabury of Longton, Kas., and a sister, Mrs. Ella Reed of Rock Island, Ill.

The deceased had long been a pillar of the Presbyterian church, an influential figure in politics, one of the strongest financial figures in the county, and a very prominent member of the Masonic order. He was born in Green county, KY., January 3, 1843, the son of Attorney and Mrs. William B. Allen, also natives of Kentucky. Mr. Allen gained an education in the schools of Greenburg, Ky., and when the war between the north and the south came on he listed in 1861 in Company E, Thirteenth Kentucky Infantry, as first sergeant. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and served three years in the army, being in many notable battles. It has given him great pleasure in later years to foregather with the old boys who wore the blue and recount the bitter struggles of that period.

After the close of the war Mr. Allen went to Mattoon, Ill., and engaged in the mercantile business, but soon became infected with the Kansas fever and came to this state Oct. 16, 1870. He located in Montgomery county and settled upon a claim on Clear creek, which he farmed for two years, abandoning farming to take up the mercantile business in Independence, then a frontier trading post. In 1877 he was elected register of deeds on the democratic ticket, for though he had fought for the union he was always a stanch adherent of the principle of the democratic party. He drew a heavy vote outside of party lines, however, and so efficiently did he serve that he was re-elected in 1879. Leaving the office at the end of his second term Mr. Allen took advantage of the extensive acquaintance he had formed to embark in the insurance and loan business, and that brought him into contact with the officers of the First National Bank, whose stockholders made him a director in 1885. The next year they made him president and for seventeen years he piloted that institution through good times and bad, by his strength of character, probity and business sagacity, adding to the strength of the banking house. Feeling the need for a lightening of the burdens bearing upon his shoulders Mr. Allen in 1904 sold a controlling interest in the bank to Royal S. Litchfield of New York, who had been attracted to Independence because of its relation to the oil field and its promise as an industrial and financial center. Mr. Allen, however, continued as a director of the bank and was in harness almost to the day of his death. He had the pleasure of seeing the deposits of the institution rise from the modest trust of a country bank to more than two and a half million dollars.

As heretofore stated Mr. Allen was prominently identified with the Masonic order, and was to have presided as past patron at a special meeting of the Order of the Eastern Star at the Masonic temple this evening. He was past master of Fortitude Lodge No. 107, A. F. & A. M., past high priest of Keystone chapter, No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, and had officiated for a quarter of a century as recorder of St. Bernard commandery, No. 10, Knights Templar.

The deceased has always been in the forefront of every moment calculated to advance the interests of the community, morally or financially, and though always unassuming no man’s counsel was more highly valued. For many years he was an officer of the Presbyterian church; there, too, he was a stanch and true adviser and worker.

In addition to the First National Bank, he was interested in a bank at Caney and had other large financial interests, as well as one of the best farms in the Verdigris bottoms. At heart Mr. Allen was a good deal of a farmer and this Verdigris valley land was a source of pride and pleasure. Though an able and successful business man Mr. Allen was essentially domestic in his tastes and noting gave him greater pleasure than the annual gatherings of his children and grandchildren under the family roof tree.

To those who will know his cheering presence no more in this life the sincere sympathy of the community, county wide, is extended.

The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon from the Allen residence, 301 South Fourth street, under the auspices of the Knights Templar and Grand Army of the Republic, with Rev. S. S. Estey, of Topeka, in charge of the services.

Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.

EDWARD PAYSON ALLEN. One of the most conspicuous figures in the financial and civic life of Southern Kansas was removed with the death of Edward Payson Allen at his home in Independence, November 27, 1915. He had already passed the age of three score and ten and with many ripe achievements to his credit and with the honorable associations of a long and useful life he went to his reward. He was a Civil war veteran, a pioneer in Montgomery County, Kansas, had filled public offices and had long borne the responsibilities of managing one of the largest banks in the state.

His worthy ancestry no doubt was a contributing factor to his own life and character. His great-grandfather and another member of the family had fought as Revolutionary soldiers, in the struggle for independence. After the close of the war this great-grandfather and some of his brothers emigrated out of Virginia and established homes on the western frontier in Kentucky. The Allens were originally from the north of Ireland and had settled in Rockbridge County, Virginia, as early as 1630. David Allen, grandfather of the late Independence banker, was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, October 16 1773, and went to Kentucky with his father about 1783. He served with the Kentucky troops in the War of 1812, and died in Green County, Kentucky, in 1816. Thus members of the Allen family participated in practically every war in which this nation has been engaged.

The father of Edward P. Allen was William B. Allen, who was born in Green County, Kentucky, in 1803 and spent his life at Greensburg, Kentucky. He was a lawyer by profession, being a graduate of a seminary at Nashville, Tennessee, and of a law school. He was very prominent in Masonry, at one time served as grand master of the grand lodge of Kentucky. William B. Allen married Huldah Wilcox. She was born in Massachusetts of Puritan ancestry. Her forefathers had settled in New England during the seventeenth century. Her father Eli Wilcox possessed all the sturdy traits of the typical New Englander. William B. Allen and wife had the following children: Martha; Jennie, who married A. B. Nibbs; Harriet B., who married John Cunningham of Coles County, Illinois; Edward P.; Mary, who married William Hunter; and Ella M., who is the only one of the children still living and is the widow of George W. Reed, her home being at Rock Island, Illinois.

Edward Payson Allen was born in Green County, Kentucky, January 3, 1843. He received all the advantages of the schools at Greensburg, Kentucky, but at the age of eighteen in 1861 enlisted for service in the Union army as a member of Company E of the Thirteenth Kentucky Infantry, under Colonel Hobson. He was made first sergeant, and after three months was promoted to a lieutenancy, and bore that rank when he received his honorable discharge after three years at Louisville, Kentucky. He fought in some of the great campaigns of the war, was at Mills Springs, at Shiloh, Perryville, Stone River and many minor engagements and skirmishes. In later years he enjoyed the associations of his old comrades in the war and took a very prominent part in Grand Army affairs. After the war Mr. Allen went to Illinois and was engaged in merchandising at Mattoon until 1867. Then returning to his native town in Kentucky he opened a store and was in business there for two years following this he again went to Coles County, Illinois, and was a merchant at Mattoon until the fall of 1870. On the 16th of October of that year he arrived in Montgomery County, Kansas. This county was then on the frontier and the only activities to attract a man were homesteading and reclaiming a portion of the wilderness for farming purposes. He took a claim on Section 31, Township 33, Range 16, and long after he had attained a high position in financial affairs the little cabin he erected there was standing as a memorial of his days of poverty and hardship. He bore adversities unflinching and struggled for two years in order to make a living out of his land. In 1873 he gave up his farm and moved to the new Town of Independence, where he again resumed the business which was more to his liking, merchandising

Throughout his career Mr. Allen was a Kentucky democrat. He was always loyal to that party, and in Montgomery County his personal popularity always exceeded the party strength. In 1877 he was elected register of deeds of the county. It was a special tribute to his personality and ability since there were several hundred more republicans in the county than democrats. In 1879 he was re-elected and gave an administration which satisfied democrats and republicans alike. During these two terms he bore the burdens of the office almost alone, and set a standard of official performance that few of his successors have equaled. In the meantime he had acquired an extensive acquaintance over the county, and with this prestige he set up in the insurance and brokerage business with an office at the corner of Main and Sixth streets.

The late Mr. Allen was essentially a financier. He had the rare ability and judgment which make the true banker. He was conservative in temper, and was always strictly business, though a sympathetic personality always mingled with his financial transactions. He was first a patron and afterwards a stockholder in the First National Bank of Independence, and in 1885 was elected a director. In 1886 he bought the interests of the cashier of the bank and with the reorganization of the institution was elected its president, an office he filled with exceptional ability until June 1, 1904, a period of about eighteen years. In that time his judgment and ability were impressed upon the bank so as to make it one of the safest and most conservative institutions in Southern Kansas. In 1904 he sold a controlling interest to the late R. S. Litchfield; but continued as a director of the bank and looked after its loans and also his private interests until his death. During more than thirty years of connection with the institution he saw its deposits rise to more than ,500,000.

His position as a banker and citizen is well summarized in the following brief quotation from a former publication: "The First National Bank of Independence was fortunate in having for eighteen years for its executive head a man of such wide and varied experience, of such unerring judgment and a gentleman of such popular personal traits as Mr. Allen. He came to Montgomery County almost with the earliest, and embodied in his career as a citizen here experience as a farmer, merchant, public official and financier, all of which stations he honored and in all of which he displayed a rational aptitude and adaptation, passing from one to another as a reward of industry and indicating the favor and confidence of his fellow citizens."

Mr. Allen was also interested in a bank at Caney and had extensive financial interests in other directions. He owned one of the best farms in the Verdigris bottoms, and took a great deal of pride and pleasure in the management of his farm lands. He was also identified with every movement calculated to advance the welfare of his community, was active in the Commercial Club, an officer and worker in the Presbyterian Church, and was one of the oldest and most prominent members of the Masonic order in Southern Kansas. He took his first degrees in Masonry in 1864, and was long associated with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Independence, with Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, and for a quarter of a century was recorder of St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar. He was past patron of the Order of Eastern Star and a charter member of the Grand Army of the Republic. The Knights Templar and Grand Army of the Republic were both represented at his funeral, and as a tribute to his financial leadership all the banks of the city were closed on the afternoon of his burial.

On May 2, 1865, a little more than half a century before his death, Mr. Allen married Mary F. Vansant. Mr. Allen was always thoroughly a home man, and found his greatest pleasure with his wife and children and in the recurring annual occasions when both children and grandchildren gathered at his home. Mr. and Mrs. Allen were married in Coles County, Illinois. Mrs. Allen, who still occupies the fine old family home on South Fourth Street in Independence, was born August 27, 1846, in Fleming County, Kentucky. Her father, Isaiah Vansant, was born at Flemingsburg, Kentucky, December 9, 1815, and died there April 17, 1854. His business was that of farmer and stock man, he was a whig in politics, and an active member of the Presbyterian Church. Isaiah Vansant married Martha Jane Darnall, who was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, December 17, 1820, and died at Independence, Kansas, May 9, 1905. Mrs. Allen was the fourth among their five children, the others being: Cynthia, who resides at Hutchinson, Kansas, the wife of J. W. Brady, who is now retired and was formerly a bookkeeper and collector, and for many years connected with the banking institutions; Margaret, who died in Covington, Kentucky, was the wife of A. L. Scudder, who is an express messenger and lives at Covington; Amanda, who resides at Mrs. Allen’s home in Independence; and Elizabeth, who died at Natick, Massachusetts, the wife of H. L. Balcom, a hardware merchant, who is also deceased.

Mrs. Allen’s grandfather Aaron Vansant, was born in Pennsylvania, was reared and was married there to Margaret Keith, who was also a native of that state, and they settled early in Kentucky, where both of them died. The Vansants were originally from Holland and settled in Pennsylvania in colonial days. Mrs. Allen is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and all her daughters belong to that order, the latter having acquired two bars in that organization, and when the records are complete they will have six bars. The daughters received admission through Francis Barrett on their father’s side. Francis Barrett was a Revolutionary soldier, a native of Virginia, and served with the Virginia troops in the war. He was born in 1762, was a farmer after the war, a member of the Baptist Church, and died at Greensburg, Kentucky, July 6, 1833. Francis Barrett married Elizabeth Lowry, and they lived both in Virginia and Kentucky.

Mrs. Allen’s Revolutionary ancestor was her great-great-grandfather Alexander Givens, who came from Ireland to America, served in the Revolution, and afterwards spent his remaining years in Nicholas County, Kentucky. Mrs. Allen’s maternal grandfather was William Givens, a native of Pennsylvania, and a farmer in Fleming County, Kentucky, where he died in 1846. William Givens married Mary Shields.

Mrs. Allen’s children and grandchildren are as follows: Mattie H. was graduated in the classical course from Oswego College, and is now the wife of James F. Blackledge, a banker at Caney, Kansas; their children are: Ralph, who died young; Pauline, wife of Dr. Fillis of Chicago, Illinois; Gwynne, in the automobile and electrical supply business at Caney; and Mercedes, a student in the high school at Caney. Edith the second daughter, graduated from Baird’s School at Clinton, Missouri, with the degree A. B, and took post graduate work in the Kansas State University and is now the wife of R. W. Cates, who is cashier of the First National Bank of Independence, their children are Catherine and Allen, both attending school. Lillian, the third daughter, graduated from the Montgomery County High School and is now the wife of H. H. Kahn, an oil operator living at Coffeyville; their two children, both in school, are Irene and Margaret. Annie, the fourth and youngest daughter, graduated from the Montgomery County High School and married Glen Amesbury, who is a banker at Longton, Kansas they also have two children, George Allen and Clifton, both now in school.

Mrs. Allen besides her beautiful residence at 301 South Fourth Street owns several other improved properties and has two fine farms in Montgomery County.

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