Friday, October 11, 2013

Allen line: James Allen Sr.

James Allen, whom I have designated as "senior" to distinguish him from his son James Allen, and his grandson James Allen, is pretty much a mystery.

He was born about 1735, (I suspect closer to 1733, perhaps even 1730) according to undocumented internet sources, in Goochland County, Va. I haven't found any records to support either the year or the location, but it's as good a guess as any, so I've tentatively put that information in our tree.  I've found four different sets of parents for James, but no documentation for any of them.  He could be the son of William Allen and Mary Ann Owen, or the son of James Allen and Anne Anderson, or the son  of James Allen and Mary Dennis, or the son of James Allen and Lucy Hobson.  All these families have sons named James, in the approximate area of our James, and born in the correct time frame. 

The first thing we know for sure about James is that he was married sometime before December 14, 1755.  That is the date his first (presumably) son was born as noted in the Douglas Register.  His wife was Sarah Crowdas/Cloudas/Crowder (various spellings!), daughter of George Crowdas and Susannah.  George and Susannah lived on the Little Byrd Creek in Goochland County, and James apparently lived in the same general area.

James and Sarah had several children, all born in Goochland County.  Richard was born December 14, 1755; Elizabeth January 6, 1759; Susannah June 4, 1761; Mary May October 16, 1763; George November 29, 1766; James March 28, 1769; William 1772; Martha January 22, 1775; and Sally April 4, 1777.

There are several James Allen's from Goochland County who served in the Revolutionary War. It is possible that one of them was "ours", but not yet proven.

The next real information we have about James is his death. He died in 1801 in Goochland County, having left everything to his widow, Sarah. She died in 1825 and only then was James's will probated.  The actual process took several years due to dealing with heirs in Kentucky (the heirs of James Jr, who had already died but were given James's share).  The chancery court case is 45 pages long and is found on the Library of Virginia website (

The body of the will states "My will is that my wife Sarah do possess and enjoy my whole estate furing her natural life or widowhood and after her death or marriage my desire is that my whole estate to be equally divided amonst my children, to wit: Richard Allen, Mary Glass, George Allen, James Allen, William Allen, and Martha Carroll, to them and their heirs forever."  Elizabeth, Sally, and Susannah are not mentioned in the will. I have not tried to trace them but presumably they had already died when the will was written. It was written on July 6, but I can't make out the year (it's either 1800 or 1801).

I have seen references to James described as "planter" so presumably he owned land at the time of his death.  The inventory of his personal property was fairly substantial, but sadly much of the value was due to his owning 5 slaves, each of whom had a high value. They were named Davy, Buck, Gib, Patty and child, and Charlotte.  The estate value was $1925.10, leaving three hundred and twenty dollars and eight five cents for each of the six legatees. 

That is what is known or guessed about James Allen, our ancestor.  I'd love to connect with other people who are researching this man, to talk about the documentation they have that makes them think one of the couples mentioned above is our family,  

Here's our line:

James Allen-Sarah Croudas
James Allen-Tabitha Parrish
Archibald Allen-Margaret Dunn
George Allen-Nancy McCoy
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen(Vernon, Tessora, Corinne, Edith)-Gladys Holbrook