James Pierson Allen was the son of Thomas Pierson Allen (ca. 1803-1867), a Massachusetts native who became a Charleston, SC planter, and his wife, Sarah Percy Bell (1814-1894). He studied for two years at Furman University in South Carolina, earning a Ph.B., and attended the University of Virginia in sessions 45-46 (1868-1870), where he became a member of the Alpha Omicron chapter of Chi Psi fraternity.
James P. Allen served the Confederacy as a private in Company B, Battalion of South Carolina Cadets. After the Civil War, he was an assistant engineer on river and harbor work in the northwest U.S., and for six months was the engineer on the construction of the Chimbote, Haaraz and Ricuay Railroad in Peru. As of 1883, he had moved back to Charleston to work on the construction of the Charleston Jetties, and continued his employment by the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Charleston until the end of his career. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Allen married Mary Melvina Bailey (1852-1916), and they had the following children: [a son, name illegible on census], Sarah, Helen A., Sylvia, and Mary Melvina Allen.
Allen is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, in Charleston, SC, near his wife and several members of his family.
- [James Pierson Allen and Mary Bailey Allen death certificates.] in Ancestry.com. South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1955 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2008. (Accessed 8/23/2011).
- “American Society of Civil Engineers.” Engineering News, March 8, 1879, p 74. Accessed via books.google.com.
- Ancestry.com. 1850-1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. (Accessed 8/23/2011).
- Chi Psi Fraternity. The fourth decennial catalogue of the Chi Psi fraternity. New York, 1883. Accessed via books.google.com.
- “Ransom Family Tree.” [database online] http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/2154350/person/-1848817724?ssrc= (Accessed 8/24/2011)
- Tombstones of the Allen family, Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, SC. Findagrave.com (Accessed 8/23/2011).