AMBROSE MONTGOMERY ALLEN, D. D. S., the skillful dental surgeon of Grove City, comes of one of the earliest and most highly respected families of Mercer county. He is the son of the venerable Samuel Allen, of East Springfield township, this county, who was born in Ireland in 1825, a son of Robert Allen, who with his family emigrated to America in 1835, and in the same year located on what is known as the “Allen Farm” in East Springfield township, Mercer county. At that date Samuel Allen was a lad of ten summers. There he grew to manhood and received a fair education in the early “district school,” and settled down in life as a farmer on land which he cultivated in an excellent manner. He married Mary Gilmore, and they together conducted the farm, he thus spending his long and useful life, he reared a highly respected family which is an honor to his name as well as to that of his faithful wife. The names of their children are here recorded: Rev. R. C., a minister of the Covenanter church, now residing in Grove City; Dr. Samuel R., of whom a more extended mention is made hereafter; Ann Jane, a promising young lady who died aged twenty-two years, in the full bloom of a beautiful young womanhood; Eliza, who died in infancy; Julia Mary, who married Robert Wilson and is now residing in Los Angeles, California; William J. C., at home; and Dr. Ambrose M. Allen, of this memoir. The family was reared on the farm and in the strict faith of the Covenanter church, to which religious body the good parents were united in early life. The father, Samuel Allen, was ardent in his zeal and support of the cause of abolition in its day, before the Civil war settled that vexed national question, and he was a powerful and convincing man in debate, in principle uncompromising, and his forensic ability won for him enviable distinction alike upon the floor of the Lyceum and the literary society of that period. In connection with the so called “Underground Railroad” be helped more than one poor slave to make good his escape to Canada, where he became his own master. He has ever been on the side of the down-trodden and oppressed and active in the great and growing cause of temperance, and now, although in his eighty-fifth year, he is an earnest advocate of the principles and doctrines of total abstinence for the individual and Prohibition for the state.

Concerning his children let it be said in this sketch that his son, Rev. R. C. Allen, has long been connected with the ministry and has held high rank in the church of his choice. Dr. Samuel R., the second son, was born on the old parental homestead in Mercer county December 5, 1850, united with the Covenanter church (Reformed Presbyterian), received a liberal education in what is now Grove City College and in Westminster college, and read medicine under Dr. James Mehard, of Mercer. and later graduated from the medical department of the Western Reserve University of Cleveland. Ohio, in 1881. He then entered upon the active practice of his profession at Grove City, where for eight years he did an extensive medical practice, and then health failing him, he went to Blanchard. Iowa, thinking a change of locality might benefit him, but there he died August 3, 1890, when not quite forty years of age, just in life’s prime, when all seemed fair for a long and useful career. In 1882 he had married Harriet Shaw, who survives him. He also left three children, Mary Jane, Newton R. and Samuel.

Before proceeding with the personal sketch of Ambrose M. Allen, whose name heads this memoir, the subjoined reference will be made to the family history: The father was twice married, his first wife, whose maiden name was Mary Gilmore, having died, aged forty-four years, in 1874. For his second wife he married Mary Porter, and by this second union he has one daughter, Lillian Askew, now Mrs. William White. In each instance of marriage he was fortunate and highly blessed by having for a companion a lady possessing sterling traits of womanly character, both of heart and mind.

The reader’s attention will now be called to the facts concerning Dr. Ambrose M. Allen’s career. He was born on the old homestead in East Springfield township, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, June 7, 1863. He spent his youth upon the farm and in attending the country schools. He also spent three years at learning the carpenter’s trade, and by working at this trade as well as by teaching school he obtained means to defray his expenses in attending Grove City College and the Pennsylvania Dental College of Philadelphia, from which latter institution he graduated in 1889. For a short time he practiced dentistry in Philadelphia, but in 1890 located in Grove City, where he has long since enjoyed a large and profitable practice. He is a worthy member of the Lake Erie Dental Association. He has ever taken a commendable interest in the public school system, having in 1892 served upon the board of education of his city and held the office of school director. Politically he is an ardent supporter, as is his father, of the Prohibition party, believing in the final triumph of its principles. The Doctor is a director of the First National Bank of Grove City, was formerly connected with the Peoples National Bank, of which he was one of the organizers and its first vice-president and later became its president, but withdrew from the institution in 1903.

He was happily married in 1890 to Sarah Sewell, of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. They are both active members of the Covenanter church. They have always been active in religious, educational and reform work, and many prominent public workers along those lines have found in the generous and boundless hospitality of their home a temporary haven of rest. Three children have been born to them: Irma Sewell, who was born September 23, 1891, and died June 6, 1892; Percival Wayne, born October 9, 1893; and Dorothy Mae, born November 14, 1906.

Source: (Twentieth Century History of Mercer County, 1909,  pages 510-512)

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