Mercer County PAGenWeb


FRANCIS ALLEN, retired iron manufacturer, post-office Hermitage, Penn., was born in Luzerne County, Penn., March 15, 1817,and is a son of Richard and Nancy (Mowery) Allen, the former being a native of Ireland, and the latter a daughter of Andrew Mowery, of Luzerne County. Mr. Allen removed with his parents in 1827 to Waterford, Erie Co., Penn., where he was reared. He was educated at the Waterford Academy, incorporated in 1811, and at one time a prosperous institution of learning. At the age of eighteen our subject commenced a business career which has extended over a successful period of fifty years, engaging at that time with B. B. Vincent, of Waterford, as a clerk in his store. In 1841 he went to Erie and entered the employ of Johnson, Himrod & Co., mercantile and iron manufacturers. Early in 1845 he came to Mercer County in the capacity of general manager for Vincent & Himrod, to superintend the erection of the Clay Furnace, situated two and a half miles from Clarksville. This was the first blast furnace built in Mercer County. He remained three years in charge of the works, and then, returning to Erie County, purchased a farm and engaged in farming. In 1852 the Clay Furnace, having changed hands, was re-organized as the Sharon Iron Works, and Mr. Allen returned and acted as manager and agent for the company. Under his official management it was demonstrated that Lake Superior ore could be successfully manufactured into iron in paying quantities. In 1861 the works closed, and Mr. Allen purchased the property. In 1862 our subject formed a connection with James Wood & Sons, of Pittsburgh, as superintendent, and erected the first furnace built in Wheatland. In the spring of 1863 he became a member of the firm composed of the Hon. William L. Scott, Gen. James Pierce and F. Alien, and opened the Oakland Coal Bank, in Hickory Township. He located his residence five miles south of Sharpsville, and was identified with the building of the Sharpsville & Oakland Railroad. In 1868 he removed to Sharpsville, and superintended the building of the Allen Furnace, Henderson, Allen & Co., proprietors. He continued there as its manager until 1882, when he purchased his present place of residence at Hermitage, in Hickory Township, where he is engaged in farming. He was united in marriage in April, 1846, to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Jane (Patton) Woodworth, of Conneaut, Ohio. By this union he has had four children: Blanche, who died in 1851; Jane, who married T. K. Mackey, of Carbondale, Ill., and died in 1886; Charles B., who married Fannie F., daughter of T. M. Ford, of Sharpsville, who has blessed him with two children: Francis F., and Jessie, wife of David Jamison, of New Castle, Penn., who has one daughter, Elizabeth W. Politically Mr. Allen is an unswerving Democrat, and is one of the most successful business men who has ever lived in Mercer County. He is a man of unblemished reputation, and a fitting representative of the growth and development of the leading interests of the Shenango Valley.

Source: (History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 862-863)

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