James C. Allen was the son of Charles Henry Allen and his wife, Catherine Linnington Clark. (Groves, p. 240) He was born in Abbeville, South Carolina. Charles Henry Allen and a partner, Henry S. Kerr, started the Abbeville Banner newspaper in 1844. After the Civil War the Banner was merged with the Abbeville Press to become the Abbeville Press and Banner. (ChroniclingAmerica.com)
James attended the University of Virginia in session 37 (1860-1861), during which he studied Latin and Moral philosophy. In the months before the Civil War began, the students at U.Va. began to form military companies, and drill on grounds. Many of the students withdrew from the university, and went home to participate in their local militias.
James was one of these students. In January or February 1861, James went home to Abbeville and enlisted as a private in the McDuffie Guards (later Company B of the 1st South Carolina Rifles or “Orr’s Rifles”). The company was sent to Sullivan’s Island, SC, to join the seige of Fort Sumter.
On 19 February, 1861, James Allen was accidentally killed by a comrade with a bayonet while at the Moultrie House [Hotel] on Sullivan’s Island, thus becoming one of the earliest casualties of the Civil War. He is buried in Upper Long Cane Cemetery, Abbeville, SC. (Findagrave.com; Kirkland; Upper Long Cane Cemetery NRHP Registration Form)
[Note: James Allen’s birthdate of 4 Sept. 1845 is taken from the U.Va. Matriculation Books, and was written by the student himself.—JLC]
- “Abbeville Banner, Independent Press, Abbeville Press, Abbeville Press and Banner.” In ChroniclingAmerica.com. [database online] https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/essays/607/
- Allen, James Clark tombstone, Upper Long Cane Cemetery, Abbeville, SC. Findagrave.com
- Charleston Daily Courier (Charleston, SC).
- Groves, Joseph Asbury. The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina.Atlanta, GA, 1901. Accessed via books.google.com.
- Kirkland, Randolph W., Jr. Broken fortunes. Columbia, SC, 1995.
- “Pvt. James Clark Allen,” Upper Long Cane Cemetery. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, p. 8. http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/abbeville/S10817701013/S10817701013.pdf
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.