"We'll do the twist, the stomp, the mashed potato too, any old dance that we want to do, but let's dance!" The words to the Chris Montez/Ramones song instantly came to mind when I found a newspaper article this week about my grandfather, Edward F. Allen. He died 10 years before I was born and my father made sure I knew something about him, but as it turns out, that wasn't much. Since my grandfather was 51 when my father was born, perhaps Dad didn't know much about his father's early years, either.
However, enter the Allen County Public Library and their subscription to NewspaperArchives.com.
I found several bits and pieces of social news about my grandfather, but the main article, the one that made me want to dance, was from the Salt Lake Tribune, dated Wednesday morning, September 19, 1928.
Headline: "Edward F Allen enters race for City Judgeship" (front page news!)
"Edward F Allen, assistant county atatorney, announced his candidacy Thursday for city judge, at the convention to be held Thursday.
Mr. Allen has been a deputy in the office of County Attorney Wallace B Kelly since the beginning of his administration nearly two years ago. Duting that time, he has prosecuted a number of criminal cases.
Coming to this city nearly 30 years ago, Mr. Allen at first was in the government mail service. He was graduated from Valparaiso University, Ind., and began his practice before the bar of justice in 1911.
He is a member of the Sons of the Veterans of the Civil War, Knights of Pythias and the Eagles Fraternity. During the world war, Mr. Allen served as a member of the legal advisory board of Salt Lake County."
That was enough for a happy dance right there, but there was also a picture! I have a picture of him as a young man, and one in his later years, but this is the closest I've seen to a picture of him as a middle aged man.
This article told me several things I didn't know, and I know several things that can fill in some of the gaps in this article. First, Mr. Allen did not win the election. He (or the reporter) omitted this detail from the story: He was an elder at Central Christian Church, hence, not a Mormon. That may or may not have something to do with not winning the election
Prior to "being in the government mail service", he was a school teacher. I am not sure whether he had two jobs in the government mail service, or one, but I know that at one time he worked in the mail car on the railroad. He may have worked at the post office itself after moving to Salt Lake City about 1900.
I know that he "studied at night to become an attorney", so I'm wondering if he actually did correspondence work with Valparaiso University. I have never heard that he actually left his family to go to Indiana.
Edward Allen served one term as county attorney from 1932-1934. When he was defeated for re-election, he entered private practice. He didn't make a good living as an attorney, though, because he either didn't charge enough or charged absolutely nothing for most of his clients. He was a good man with a big heart.
Edward F Allen was born January 17, 1868 in Gallatin, Missouri to George Allen and Nancy McCoy Allen. He married Edith Clarissa Knott on December 27, 1896 in Soda Springs, Idaho, and had 6 children. They are Forest Wilson (died before he was two years old), Vernon Edward, Tessora Clarissa, Nancy Corinne, Edith Marie, and Richard Franklin Allen. He died July 10, 1940 in Salt Lake City.
I wish I had known my grandfather, but I am so grateful for this newspaper article, that gave me more facts about him than I had before.