Benjamin William Allen (1 Jun. 1824-12 Nov. 1886)

Benjamin W. Allen was born in Kingwood, the county seat of Preston County, VA (now WV). His father died when he was two years old, and young Allen was adopted by a Mr. Israel Baldwin and given a liberal education. Allen graduated in 1844 from Washington College (now Washington and Jefferson College) in Pennsylvania, and attended the medical school of the University of Virginia in sessions 24-25 (1847-1849).

Dr. Allen practiced medicine in Kingwood in 1850, then attended “a course of lectures” at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA. In 1852, he was offered the position of demonstrator (professor) of anatomy at the University of Virginia, in which he served until the Civil War. Beginning in 1862, Allen served as a surgeon in the Confederate army in various hospitals around Virginia over the course of the war.

On 1 Oct. 1850, Allen married Helen M. McCoy (d. 1862) of Fauquier County, VA. This couple had no children. In March 1867, Dr. Allen moved to Wheeling, WV, and on 11 Jan. 1872, he married his second wife, Cornelia  E. Jeffers (d. 23 Oct. 1887). In 1882, he became professor of anatomy, physiology, and hygiene at Morgantown State College. He was a member of the Medical Society of the State of West Virginia, and in 1883, was its president. Allen was well known in his field and was considered the most skilled anatomist in the state of West Virginia. He died in Morgantown, WV, in 1886, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery,  Wheeling, WV.


  • “Died [Cornelia E. Allen].” The Wheeling Register (WV), 25 Oct 1887, p. 2.
  • History of the upper Ohio Valley. Madison, WI, 1890, v. 1, p. 582-583.
  • “United States Census, 1880,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 May 2012), Benjamin W. Allen in household of Mary Donlon, Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia.
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
  • “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 May 2012), Benjamin W. Allen, 1850.
  • Washington and Jefferson College. Biographical and historical catalogue of Washington and Jefferson College. Cincinnati, OH, 1889, p. 316. Accessed via 5/18/12.
  • Washington and Jefferson College. Quarter century re-union of the class graduated from Washington College in 1844. Wheeling, WV, 1869. Accessed via 7/14/2011.
  • “West Virginia, Deaths, 1853-1970,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 July 2012), B.W. Allen, 1886.
  • “West Virginia, Marriages, 1854-1932,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 July 2012), Cornelia E. Jeffers, 1872.
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