Benjamin F. Allen was born in Tennessee. His brother, Richard C. Allen, was living in East Florida by 1825. (Dawson) Richard C. Allen settled in St. Joseph, FL, and was a delegate to the Florida Constitutional Convention in 1838. (Territorial Papers) R. C. Allen was the first U.S. District Court Judge for the Apalachicola District in 1838, but died 30 Jul. 1840.
B. F. Allen attended the University of Virginia in session 16 (1839-1840); the Matriculation Books list R. C. Allen of Florida as “parent or guardian.” Benjamin must have moved to Florida after leaving the University, for he is recorded as voting in the first Florida state election in 1845 in the Tallahassee precinct in Leon County. (Norem)
Before the Civil War, his career was varied. He had trained to be a lawyer, and was described as an attorney in the 1850 and 1860 U.S. censuses. He served in the Florida State House of Representatives representing Leon County in 1850-1851 and in 1862. (Ward) In 1855, Allen was appointed Printer for the Florida State Senate. (Florida Senate Journal) From 1856-1858, Benjamin F. Allen was the editor of the Florida Sentinel newspaper.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Allen enlisted in Captain Dyke’s Company, Florida Light Artillery as a private. In 1863, B. F. Allen was appointed Florida Secretary of State by Governor John Milton to replace Fred L. Villepigue, who had been ruled ineligible for the office by the Florida Attorney General because he held a commission in the Confederate Army. Allen, who was a private in the Florida Light Artillery, sought a discharge in order to assume his new office, which he did on 13 Jan. 1863. He served in the office of Secretary of State until 7 Aug, 1868.
Allen never married. In the 1870 U.S. Census, a Benjamin F. Allen (b. ca. 1810 in Tennessee, no profession listed) is living in a boarding house in Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida. It’s possible this is the Allen we are interested in. By 1880, he no longer appears in the U.S. Census of Florida, so it is likely he died between 1870 and 1880. Schele de Vere states that Allen died in Hot Springs, Arkansas. However, I have found no corroborative evidence.
[Note: Benjamin F. Allen’s birth date is from the U.Va. Matriculation Records. — JLC)
- Ancestry.com. 1830-1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
- Ancestry.com. U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
- “Administrator of Richard C. Allen.” in Congressional serial set. Report no. 151, 2nd session, 27th Congress, p 130-131.
- “Commission of Samuel W. Carmack as Judge (Apalachicola District), Sept. 13 1841.” in Territorial Papers of the United States: The Territory of Florida, 1839-1845, v. 26: “Papers Relating to the Third Administration of Governor Call, 1841-1844.” Buffalo, NY, 2006, p. 372.
- Dawson, William A. A compilation of the laws of the state of Georgia. Milledgeville, GA, 1831, p. 327.
- Dodd, Dorothy. Florida becomes a state. Tallahassee, FL, 1945. <http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020428/00001/citation> (accessed 7/14/12)
- “Florida, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XXRD-7YB: accessed 27 Nov 2012), Benjamin F Allen, 1862.
- Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Constitution of 1838. [webpage] <http://www.law.fsu.edu/crc/conhist/1838con.html> (accessed 7/14/12).
- Florida Historical Society. “This Day in Florida History.” [website] http://myfloridahistory.org/library/flahistory/ (Accessed 7/13/2011).
- Florida. House journal. Tallahassee, 1841, p. 131.
- Florida. Senate journal. Tallahassee, 1855, p. 48-49.
- National Park Service. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
- Norem, Betty. “1845 Florida Voters List.” in Leon County GenWeb [website]. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flleon/1845vote.htm (Accessed 5/18/12)
- “Postscript.” Niles’ National Register, 14 July, 1838, p. 320.
- Schele de Vere, Maximilian. Students of the University of Virginia; a semi-centennial catalogue, with brief biographical sketches. Baltimore, MD, 1878.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
- Ward, Robert L. “Membership of the Florida House of Representatives by County, 1845-2012.” [Florida House of Representatives, 2012.] http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/FileStores/Web/HouseContent/Approved/Public%20Guide/Uploads/Documents/house_counties_final.pdf (Accessed 7/13/2011).