|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)