Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Colonel Frederick Hobbes Allen, An Owner of Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor

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As I noted in yesterday's blog posting, as I continue my work with the biographical volumes that comprise three of the five volumes of Alvah P. French's 1925 work entitled "History of Westchester County New York", I will be transcribing some of the biographies for early 20th century residents of Pelham. Today's biographical information is for Frederick Hobbes Allen, an owner of Bolton Priory during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Photograph of Bolton Priory in About 1910.

Frederick H. Allen's wife was given the Priory as a wedding gift and the couple lived in the home for many years. Lockwood Barr's account of how the Allens came to own the Priory reads as follows:

"Soon after Rev. Robert Bolton had built Christ Church and The Priory, one of his friends in Savannah, Georgia, asked that his daughter be taken into the family to share the schooling given by the Rev. Bolton to his eight daughters and five sons. That was the beginning of the Priory School for Young Ladies. Rev. Robert Bolton died in England, August 19, 1857, but the School was continued by Nanette Anne Bolton until 1881. Among the pupils had been Adele Livingston Sampson, who became the wife of Frederic W. Stevens. Because of her attachment for the place, Mrs. Stevens bought The Priory on August 8, 1883, from Miss Bolton. She presented it to her daughter, Mrs. Frederick H. Allen, as a wedding gift, and it has since remained in the Allen family. "

Frederick Allen served as President (i.e., Mayor) of the Village of Pelham Manor from 1904 to 1906. He was an internationally famous and colorful character. Below is his biography from Alvah P. French's work.

"FREDERICK HOBBES ALLEN -- A descendant of an old American family who first sees the light of the world and passes his boyhood in that priceless pearl of the Pacific, our island possession, which travelers declare comes, from the point of view of climate and scenery, as near as possible to the conception of an earthly paradise, unites in himself qualities of heredity and envrion- [Pg. 44 / Pg. 45] ment of 'nature and nurture' which in this combination are but rarely met with in the same man.

Frederick Hobbes Allen, member of the law firm of Allen & Cammann, No. 63 Wall Street, New York City was born in Honolulu, Hawaiian Territory, a son of Elisha Hunt Allen, a lawyer and member of Congress, but later Minister to the Hawaiian Islands, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Hawaiian Islands, Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States from 1869 to January 1, 1883, the day of his death, and Mary Harrod (Hobbes) Allen. Mr. Allen received his pre-university education in Eureope, Germany and Switzerland, and equipped with his knowledge of foreign lands and the most important European languages, matriculated as a student at Harvard University, where in 1880, he graduated with the A. B. degree, and in 1883 with the A. M. and the LL. B. degrees. In the year 1882, Mr. Allen held the position of secretary of the Hawaiian Legation; in 1883 that of Charge d'Affaires of the same legation, which he resigned before being called to the bar in 1884. After this he became managing clerk of the old established law firm of Miller, Packham & Dixon, later practicing alone. In 1894 he formed the firm of Adams & Allen, and on the death of Mr. Adams the senior partner, in 1900, Mr. Allen formed the present firm of Allen & Cammann. He has been director of the National Bank of Cuba and Eastern Trust Company; is attorney for the village of Pelham Manor, and president of the village. In politics Mr. Allen is a member of the Democratic party, and from 1904 to 1914 occupied the post of chairman of the Democratic County Committee of Westchester County, New York, and was elected as delegate to several National and State conventions of the party. He also served on the National Finance Committee in 1912-1916-1920 and in 1924. In religion he is an Episcopalian, and with his family attends Christ Church (Episcopal) at Pelham Manor.

"Mr. Allen is one of the select band of Americans who have rendered most conspicuous and most distiguished service to their country, to the cause of the Allies, and of human liberty and civilization throughout the world during the World War. Having enlisted with the rank of lieutenant, senior grade, in the Naval Aviation, with the Reserve Flying Corps, Mr. Allen was promoted in March 1918, to the rank of lieutenant-commander, and served as aide to the commander of the Naval Aviation Forces in France, England, Ireland, and Italy, and his brilliant services were duly rewarded by the Allied Governments through the bestowal upon him by the French Republic of the Order of Chevalier de le Legion d'Honneur, as a member of the Lafayetee Flying Squadron, and by the King of Belgium of the Order of Officer of Order of Leopold II. After the Armistice he was sent on a military mission into Germany, and on his return to Paris was attached to the Commission to negotiate peace, serving under Colonel E. M. House. Mr. Allen, as befits an American with his patriotic and military record, is prominently connected with the Society of Colonial Wars, Sons of the American Revolution, the American Legion, the Security League, and the Military Order of the World War. He holds membership in the Knickerbocker Club, Union Club, National Democratic Club, New York Athletic Club, Pelham Country Club and many others.

"On June 30, 1892, Mr. Allen married, at New York City, Adele Livingston Stevens, a daughter of Frederick William and Adele Livingston (Sampson) Stevens, and they are the parents of six children: 1. Frederick Stevens, born June 15, 1894. 2. Mary Dorothy Adele, born August 30, 1895, deceased. 3. Barbara Frances Gallatin, born February 16, 1897. 4. John Livingston, born March 30, 1898. 5. Julia Broome Livingston, born April 8, 1900. 6. Priscilla Alden Sampson, born November 4, 1904."

Source: French, Alvah P., ed., History of Westchester County New York, Vol. V, pp. 44-45 (NY, NY & Chicago, IL: Lewis Historical Publishing Co. 1925).

Allen died on December 3, 1937. His obituary published in The New York Times was quite extensive and is transcribed here in full.



Former Pelham Manor Mayor Honored by Many Nations for World War Work




Member of Group Organizing Lafayette Escadrille -- Served With Colonel House



NEWPORT, R. I., Dec. 3. -- Colonel Frederick H. Allen died today at the Newport Hospital at the age of 79. He was a former member of the Democratic National Finance Committee, a former Mayor of Pelham Manor, N. Y., long a prominent Summer resident of this city and holder of decorations from at least five nations for his service during the World War.

Colonel and Mrs. Allen and their daughter, Miss Priscilla Allen, had planned to conclude their long season here Sunday and leave for the South. Early in the week the Colonel, who had been suffering from a cold, became ill with pneumonia and was taken to the hospital.

Colonel Allen had beomce a legal resident of this city and was especially interested in its historical and veteran organizations. Recently he became a charter member of Narrgansett Chapter, Military Order of the World War, and his name was mentioned as a possibility for its first president, an honor which he declined.

Funeral services will be held at Colonel Allen's Summer home, The Mount, tomorrow afternoon, after which the body will be taken to Pelham Manor for funeral services and burial Sunday Afternoon.


Once in Diplomatic Service

Frederick Hobbes Allen, lawyer and economist, was born in Honolulu, the son of Chief Justice Elisha Hunt Allen and Mary Herod Hobbes Allen. He traced his descent directly from Edward Allen, a member of Cromwell's 'Ironsides,' who emigrated to colonial America in 1661 and settled at Northfield, Mass., in 1685.

He was graduated from Harvard with the degree of A. B. in 1880 and also studied in Germany and Switzerland. Later he took his L.L. B. and A. M. degrees at Washington, his father being at that time Hawaiian Minister and dean of the diplomatic corps. On his father's death in 1883 Colonel Allen was appointed charge d'affaires.

In 1884 he entered the New York law office of Holmes & Adams. That same year he was admitted to the bar and became managing clerk for Miller, Peckham & Dickson. His next association was with Colonel Hugh I. Cole, who had offices at 59 Wall Street. In 1896 he formed the firm of Adams & Allen, which continued until Mr. Adam's death in 1900, when the firm was reorganized as Allen & Cammann.

At Pelham Manor, where he resided, he was appointed a corporation counsel and later President of the village. He was a Democrat, and in 1904 was chosen chairman of the party's Westchester County Committee, and afterward became a member of the executive group of the New York State Democratic Committee. He was a member of the National Democratic Finance Committee in 1912, 1924, 1928 and 1932.

In 1916 Colonel Allen was a member of the committee of four which formed the Lafayette Escadrille, first American aviation unit to fly in France, and on Aug. 20, 1917, he was commissioned a lieutenant commander in the United States Naval Reserve Flying Corps, and served as aide to the commander of the American aviation forces in Paris. Subsequently he became a member of the Peace Commission under Colonel House.

Received Honors Abroad

He retained his rank as lieutenant commander in the reserve, and also was a colonel on the staff of the Governor of Kentucky. The French made him a member of the Academie Diplomatique Internationale and the Legion of Honor. He was also an officer of the Belgian order of Leopold II, and of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Polish) and commander of the Czechoslovak Order of the White Lion. In 1926 he was a representative of the American Cooperative Committee of the Pan-European Congress in Vienna, and the following year observer for the Pan-European Council at Geneva.

Colonel Allen remained active in Democratic politics throughout his career. During the Governorship of President Roosevelt he was executive chairman of the League of Citizens of Foreign Birth, which was friendly to Mr. Roosevelt, but in 1936 he notified the National Democratic Committee that he did not approve of the Roosevelt Administration's methods and policies. He announced that he would vote for Governor Landon.

Colonel Allen married Adele Livingston Stevens on June 30, 1892. They had six children, Frederick Stevens Allen, the late Mary Dorothy Adele Allen, Mrs. Andre Vagliano, Mrs. Goodhue Livingston Jr., Julian Livingston Allen and Priscilla Alden Allen.

Julian Allen was cited for courage in France in December, 1916, when, as a member of the American Ambulance Corps with the French Army, he transported wounded in his ambulance over a heavily shelled route. He was 16 years old then, and was known as 'the Kid Chauffeur.'

Colonel Allen maintained an office at 233 Thames Street, Newport, and a home, Bolton Priory, at Pelham Manor. His clubs included the Union, Knickerbocker, City, New York Athletic and Westchester Country Club, of which he was at one time president. He was a member of the Patriotic Society of the Colonial Wars and the Sons of the Revolution."

Source: Col. F. H. Allen, 79, Dead At Newport, N.Y. Times, Dec. 4, 1937, p. 17.

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