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, July 07, 2015

Frederick Hobbes Allen of Bolton Priory in Peham Manor

Frederick Hobbes Allen was a notable resident of the Village of Pelham Manor during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  A diplomat and attorney who specialized in the practice of international law, Allen and his wife owned and lived in Bolton Priory.  

Frederick H. Allen, an active Democrat, served as President (i.e., Mayor) of the Village of Pelham Manor and was Chairman of the Democratic County Committee.  I have written about Allen on a number of previous occasions.  See, e.g.:  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog provides additional information about Frederick Hobbes Allen.  It transcribes the text of an article published in 1932 describing Allen's distinguished career.  The article included a photograph of Allen that is reproduced below.  Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.  

The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Mar. 21, 1932,
p. 7, cols. 1-2.  NOTE:  Click Image To Enlarge.

"Allen, National Figure, Also Hero In Home Town

The school children of Poland learn of Mr. Allen from their history books as the American who did so much to bring the republic of Poland into existence.

When the village of Pelham Manor has a problem to solve, it calls upon Frederick H. Allen.  When the Bank of England encounters difficulties in Uganda, it sends for Mr. Allen.

For as an attorney practicing international law, his name is known in every country of the world; but his warmest interest is for Pelham Manor where his estate, Bolton Priory, nestles in the rural quiet of wooded hills, only fifteen minutes from the New York City line.

Distinguished Family

Truly a gentleman of the world, is Frederick H. Allen, of Pelham Manor, whose servants converse with him in peasant French.  Yet few men have a history identified so closely with American growth.  His grandfather, a lawyer, was Senator from Massachusetts early in the 19th century.  His father, Elisha Hunt Allen, was Senator from Maine.  In 1854, Elisha H. Allen was sent by President Taylor to Hawaii to obtain a reciprocity treaty from King Kamahameha III.

Frederick Allen was born in Hawaii while his father was on that mission, which was not concluded until 1875.  During his sojourn in the islands, Elisha Allen became Chief Justice of the Hawaiian kingdom and chief advisor to the native rulers.  To him, history gives the credit for opening the Hawaiian Islands to American trade.

Sent Abroad to Study

He was a growing boy when his father returned to the United States where, for a time, Elisha Allen was dean of the diplomatic corps at Washington.  As a lad, Frederick Allen was sent abroad to study, for his father wished him to be a diplomat; so the boy was sent to spend his formative years in the capitals of Europe.  He matriculated at Harvard where he earned his M. A. and his LL. B.

In 1892, he married Adele Livingston Stevens and Bolton Priory became their home.  The wooded estate, with its low, rambling manor house of stone, was a wedding present to Mrs. Allen from her father.  She had lived there as a student in the school which the Misses Bolton maintained for young ladies in the old house, built early in the 19th century.  

In 1883, Frederick Allen became secretary of the Hawaiian Legation at Washington and the next year was Charge d'Affaires of that group.  In 1894, he established his law firm in New York and there he has maintained headquarters ever since.  His legal practice mainly is as advisor on international law to both American and foreign banks and business houses.

Frederick Allen is a Democrat and has served his party both locally and natijonally.  In 1912, 1920 and 1924, he was a member of the Democratic National Finance Committee.

Serving His Country

He was a member of the commission sent to Europe to study agricultural problems and rural credits, and upon the report of this commission the Federal Farm Loan Act was based.

He was one of a commission of four men who secured the first formation of the Lafayette Escadrille in 1916.  When America entered the World War, he was made Lieut. Commander of the United States Naval Reserve Flying Corps and in 1917 became aide to the commander of United States flying forces in France, with headquarters in Paris.

After the armistice, he was assigned to President Wilson's staff at the peace negotiations and as an aide to Colonel House was placed in charge of the affairs of the smaller Baltic States.  He was so active in the organization of the republic of Poland that last year, when a statue of President Wilson was unveiled at Posen, Mr. Allen, with General Pershing and Mrs. Wilson, was a guest of honor of the Polish Government.  At that time, he was given the Star of Potonia Restitute (for restoring Poland) and the Cross of Polonia Restitute, two pretty gold and enamel ornaments which he may wear on a ribbon about his neck, and on a ribbon stretched across his vest.

His Many Decorations

These two medals took up the last open space on the front of Mr. Allen's military dress blouse, for on it hangs already 14 decorations, including the Legion of Honor (French), and the Order of Leopold II (Belgian).

Every member of his family served overseas during the war.  Mrs. Allen did hospital work.  A daughter, Madame Andre Vagliano, whose husband is the golf champion of France, received the Croix de Guerre as an ambulance driver.  Frederick, his oldest son, a New York banker, served overseas and another son, Julian, was a member of the Cold Stream Guards.  War service did not stop in this family:  the Allen butler, a Frenchman who has served Mr. Allen for many years, was a prisoner in Germany during the war.

Mr. Allen's children include Frederick Stevens Allen, Madame Vagliano, Mrs. Goodhue Livingstone Jr., Julian Allen and Priscilla who lives at home with her parents.

The third generation of Allens at Bolton Priory is Goodhue Livingstone III, ten years old, who comes home from school every week-end and, when the weather permits, engages his grandfather is a fast game of hockey on the ice of a little pond outside the library windows.

Prominent Polo Player

That library is lined with silver cups which Mr. Allen won for his horsemanship a few years ago, when he was one of the most prominent polo players in Westchester County.  There's a big picture of Moonlight, the polo pony which he used top ride at the Westchester Country Club and which, in its day, was one of the best polo ponies in the country.  Mr. Allen still rides but the polo honors of the family have been taken over by Frederick, who is well known on the Long Island fields.

Mr. Allen is a member of the Academie Diplomatique with headquarters in Paris.  His interest in international affairs and his knowledge of Europe make him an authority quoted often in Congress.

Just now he's interested more in the coming election and there is reason to think he may be a strong Roosevelt man, though Mr. Allen has made no public avowal."

Source:  Allen, National Figure, Also Hero In Home Town, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Mar. 21, 1932, p. 7, cols. 1-2.  

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