Thomas Miller Allen (F234)1,2,3

M, #47670, (1791 - 1871)

Biographical Sketch of Thomas M. Allen ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Text from James Challen, (editor), Ladies' Christian Annual, July, 1857 (Volume VI, No. 7), Philadelphia: James Challen, Publisher. Pages 209-213. This online edition © 1998, James L. McMillan. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Born: Shenandoah, now Warren County, Virginia, October, 1797 Died: Boone County, Missouri, October 10, 1871 THOMAS M. ALLEN was born in Shenandoah, now Warren County, Virginia, in October, 1797, and is now in the 60th year of his age. His father, William Allen, was a native of the same County, and was the son of Thomas Allen, who married Abigail Miller, and lived on the Shenandoah River, near Front Royal, upwards of sixty years. His mother was Sarah Meredith Scrogin, of whose ancestry but little is known, as her parents died when she was an infant, in Charles County, Maryland, from whence she was taken by an uncle to the Valley of Virginia. She died in 1804, and his father in 1809, leaving two small children, the subject of this notice, and a sister, who married Thomas A. Russell, of Fayette County, Kentucky. His ancestry were of the Presbyterian faith; his mother lived and died a communicant in that Church. Although not richly educated, his principal teachers were the Rev. Mr. Snyder, and the Rev. William Williamson, Presbyterian preachers; and John S. McNamara, one of the most eminent mathematicians of his day. During the last war with England, Mr. Allen entered the Army as a volunteer, and served upwards of six months in a Virginia regiment, commanded by Colonel Tancy, before he was seventeen years old. In May, 1816, when returning to Virginia from a visit to Kentucky, six miles west of Washington, Pennsylvania, in a terrible stormy a large tree was blown across the road, instantly killing a young lady by his side, (Miss Elizabeth Vanmeter, of Hardy County, Virginia) and crushing his own horse under him; he escaped, with a serious injury, in the almost entire loss of his left arm. He was married to Rebecca W. Russel, of Fayette County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1818, and became a resident of the same County in 1819. He was a member of the Law class in Transylvania University, during the first course of lectures by Professor William T. Barry; and commenced the practice of law in Bloomington, Indiana, in the spring of 1822, in partnership with James Whitcomb, who has since been Governor of Indiana, and Senator in Congress. His success equalled his highest anticipations; but professing religion, he abandoned the law, and returned to his farm in Kentucky, in 1823. He and his wife were immersed by Elder Barton Warren Stone in May, 1823; and on the 23d day of June, 1823, the church at "Old Union," in Fayette County, Kentucky, was planted, by Barton Warren Stone, with six members, viz., T. M. Allen, Samuel Ellis, James Rankin, and their wives; this was the beginning of that flourishing congregation--the mother of preachers. The following is all that was written before the members names were enrolled, viz.: "We whose names are hereunto annexed, agree to unite together as a Church of Christ; taking his word as the only rule of faith and practice, and the name Christian as that by which to be called." Mr. Allen soon commenced speaking in --210-- public, with much acceptance to the brotherhood and the public; many additions were made to the church; and in May 1825, "he was ordained an elder of the Church at Union." From that time he has been actively and constantly engaged in preaching the Gospel; and few men have consecrated themselves with more untiring zeal in the good cause, than he has; and with what success, let the churches he has been instrumental in gathering and planting, both in Kentucky and Missouri, and the hundreds, who, with the Divine approbation, he has encouraged and persuaded to obey the Gospel, testify. The churches at Paris, Antioch, and Clintonsville, Bourbon County, and Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky, were planted by him. He was the companion and colaborer of many, if not nearly all the pioneers of the reformation in Kentucky, and enjoyed the confidence and affection of the entire brotherhood. His removal from the State was deeply regretted by his brethren and friends; and on his leaving, the Church at Union gave him the following letter of commendation, viz.: "To all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, we hereby commend our beloved brother, Thomas M. Allen, and his companion, our beloved sister, Rebecca W. Allen, as members of the Church of Christ at this place, for thirteen years past, and enjoying uninterrupted, to this moment, our warmest Christian affection. As occupying a high seat in our affections, we commend them to the care of the Lord, and the love and fellowship of his people. It has been our happy privilege to enjoy, for many years, the signal services of Brother Allen as an Elder in our congregation; laboring with fervent love in word and doctrine; oft presiding in our assemblies, to our great edification, and oft proclaiming glad tidings to our fellow-creatures. Long shall we remember with joy, mingled with our tears, his devoted exertions in the Saviour's cause, his extensive labors and usefulness, his love, his zeal, his knowledge, and his Christian deportment. Though we may feel much disposed to repine at our loss in his removal, we rejoice in the hope of meeting beyond the grave; and endeavor to submit, as to a dispensation of Heaven, and ardently pray that his life may still be spared, his usefulness extended, and you and he be mutually blessed in each other's society. Done, unanimously, by order of the Church at Union, Fayette County, Kentucky, September 10th, 1836. John Allen Gano, Elder in said Church." Mr. Allen had been, for many years, a member of the County Court, in Fayette County, and would have been High Sheriff of the County, at no distant day, by virtue of his office. In the fall of 1836, he emigrated to the State of Missouri, and settled in Boone County, where he still resides. In this new sphere of labor he has continued his work of faith and labor of love with a zeal and energy worthy of him and the cause he pleads. He has repeatedly traversed the State extensively, and the Heavenly Father has greatly blessed his ministry; enabling him to induce many to submit to the Lord Jesus, and organized several flourishing congregations. Few persons have travelled as extensively, and labored more in word and doctrine, in Missouri, for the last twenty years, than he has; and although he is now borne down by the weight of sixty years, he is still actively engaged in his duties as a Christian minister, with his usual success, by the Divine blessing. It is said that Mr. Allen has the names of all the hundreds he has immersed, with the time when and places where; which of itself would be an interesting record. We commend this fact to the notice of other preachers. In the early part of his public career, Mr. Allen met with the Christian Baptist, and being much edified on the Christian institution by it, he became its warm supporter and friend, and exerted himself successfully to extend its circulation. It is due to Mr. Allen to observe, that in a letter to a friend, he says, "In the commencement of my labors in the Gospel, I did, in some small degree, indulge in speculation on one or two subjects, but I soon learned the way of the Lord more perfectly and abandoned all speculation. Having --211-- taken the Bible as the only and all-sufficient rule of my faith and practice, I determined to study it prayerfully, that I might know the truth it revealed, so that, with faith in God's word, and willing obedience to his commands, I may enjoy his blessings, and hope for his promises." Mr. Allen is a warm and ardent friend to Christian and benevolent enterprises. He was one of the first to move for the endowment of a Professorship in Bethany College, in Missouri; and he and Elder A. Proctor accompanied President Campbell in his campaign through Missouri, for the accomplishment of that noble object, which was crowned with success. There is a certain class of men, who, by their force of conception and weight of character, invest their opinions with an importance which renders an assertion by them superior to an argument by others, bearing down the opposition of inferior minds, and carrying conviction to all around them. They become the centre of confidence of multitudes, who gladly and gratefully yield them their judgment and their hearts, and thus clothe them with an authority only limited by numbers. From the soundness of their judgment, the clearness of their perceptions of truth and duty, and the force of their will, added to the warmth of their affections, they achieve a victory over the weaker parts and more amiable infirmities of human nature; and succeed in imparting the spring of their own energy and manhood, to all who are brought under their influence. Such persons, either by intuition or by a rapid and easy process of reasoning, the several steps of which are not easily perceived, reach the highest problems of moral and religious truth, and rest firmly ever after upon the solid basis on which they stand. They do not hold their minds in abeyance or cherish suspicions and doubt, as did Thomas, the sceptical [sic; skeptical] disciple, until some sensible demonstration overpower their reason, and subdue their will; but like Samuel, in the days of Eli, they say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." They are all eye and ear, and gladly receive the word--the right word, no matter by whom or when it may be spoken. This is an amiable greatness. It is allied more to genius than talent. It calls into requisition the moral as well as the intellectual nature of the man. The eye being single, the whole body is full of light. Greatness, indeed, is a comparative term. Among the hosts of heaven, there are different ranks and orders. The heavenly bodies differ in regard to their size and distance; and this is true in regard to human beings. All ages have had their great men. Great, not in comparison with some who have preceded or followed them, but great in comparison with those around them, because fitted to accomplish what others had not conceived, or if conceived, what others could not do. This largeness of mental vision is seen in the force of intellect, the clearness of judgment, the vividness of perception, and the power of will, summoned for the work assigned them. And the best evidences of their fitness for their labors, is the success which follows them. They have accomplished the work intrusted to their hands; they have chosen their field of labor; they have seen the fitness of the means to the end proposed; and have gone to work, assured that in the evening, their task will be done, and the reward certain and sure. In this class of favored spirits--the brotherhood of great men, a place unquestionably belongs to Thomas M. Allen. A man who would have been welcomed to any circle, and honored in any communion; and who, in the State or in the Church, would have commanded respect, if not added lustre [sic! luster] to the cause he espoused. He embraced the Gospel with the fullest conviction of its truth and importance, and gave himself to its advocacy, and has been steadily advancing, by the light it shed, with the "rod and the staff" as his only companion and guide. It must be remarked, too, that he commenced in the wilderness, uncertain whither the path might lead; and yet as he pressed on, the way opened before him, and the vistas of truth came shimmering through the trees, and pouring light and beauty upon the distant objects, now more clearly seen before him. His early life was spent in Kentucky. It --212-- was here that he became acquainted with the Saviour. His love had touched the secret springs of his being; and, having found the truth, which gladdened his own heart and subdued his own will, he was anxious to bring to others what had proved to him a source of such comfort and hope. His labors were crowned with success, for he brought all the freshness of a vigorous mind and an earnest heart to the work; and the zeal of a recent convert to a long-hidden, and soul-stirring theme. The newness of his advocacy received no disparagement from the strength and the number of those who opposed it, but rather nerved him with greater courage and boldness in his pleadings in its behalf. It is easy to stand up and speak to listening crowds, sustained by the approbation and ready assent of the multitude, and encouraged by the labors of men who have won the confidence and sympathy of all around them; but it requires resolution and patience, and the pricking goads of conscience, to advocate and sustain unwelcome truths and proscribed opinions, without honor or profit and in the midst of prejudice and opposition. Such men are worthy of all praise; their inner life is not known, and cannot be appreciated by the age in which they live; and, too frequently, those who have derived benefit from their labors, and reap the fruits of their hard-earned fame, fail to do them justice, and assume an arrogant authority over them, as if they themselves were not debtors, but creditors--not borrowers, but lenders. It is not a little mortifying to see this tendency of poor human nature; this tilting ambition, which struts its brief hour upon crutches which others have formed and bequeathed them. It is as if a wren were to perch upon the highest tree of the forest and boast of its proud eminence; as if it bore the tree instead of being borne by it. "Honor to whom honor is due," is a Christian precept, alike sanctioned by reason as by religion. And we hope not to see the day when it shall be reversed or despised. Thomas M. Allen was naturally a fluent speaker. He could express what he knew and what he felt, with ease and grace, and commend it to others. He knew the avenues to the human heart; could analyze its hidden springs, and touch them. Nay, more, he has a heart of his own, into which he has searchingly looked, and by its own questionings he has learned to sympathize with others, and knows how to feel for and silence them. This has been, and still is, the secret of his power. It is that self-knowledge, which is indispensable to success, and the chief resource of all earnest and properly endowed minds. This cannot be gained by books. It is not the result of observation. It is the sweat upon the brow, of anxious hearts and intensely agonizing spirits. They are the Ariels, confined for years within the cloven pines, where they do vent their groans: "As fast as mill-wheels strike," or, like another imaginary character, drawn by a master, who, in the silence of deep thought, hears "Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hunt about mine ears; and sometimes voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again, and then, in dreaming, The clouds me thought, would open, and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked, I cried to dream again." The characteristic of Mr. Allen's mind, we think, is highly practical. It has to do with facts, not with theories; with settled principles, not abstractions. He is an observant man. He enters into details, and is fond of order. His reports of stated meetings, and the labors of his brethren in the district in which he lives, are full of details, and are models for their minuteness and order. We should think that nothing escapes him; and, in all matters connected with the object and interest of the work in which he is engaged, he has his own plans, and carries them out; and, therefore is a most reliable man. And, though we have never heard him preach, we should say that he is free from the speculations which others indulge in, and, though not unmindful of the great generalizations of Christianity, his mind naturally adheres to sound conclusions, based upon facts and observations, rather than those resulting from philosophical speculation. --213-- He is a pioneer preacher. In early times he moved to Missouri, from the heart of one of the finest counties in Kentucky, and the midst of warm and highly attached friends, and began to propagate, what he deems to be the Gospel of Christ; and has lived to welcome others into the same field as co-laborers, and to see numerous churches planted, and the wilderness to bloom and blossom as the rose. He stands now a patriarch, among the tents pitched around him, and is always heard and received as one who had justly earned the rank and position he has reached, by his wisdom and experience, his labors and self-sacrifice. It is pleasant to think that in this day of hard political scrambling for place and profit, and of unconquerable thirst for gold, and in a country filled with feverish excitements, fanned by the world, the flesh, and the devil, that Thomas M. Allen has devoted thirty-four years of his life, steadily and cheerfully, to the propagation of the Gospel, and with but little fee or reward; and that he still continues to labor in the Word and in teaching, with his accustomed zeal and success; and is willing to crown his days with the chaplet of the Cross, rather than the gems which flash upon the brow of earthly captains and conquerors. His example should not be without its influence; and we trust that those with equal talents and education, who, since he was gray, have entered into the field as fellow-laborers, will not consult their ease and comfort, or turn from their chosen and appropriate work, to gather fame or pelf, but will consecrate their time and resources to the good of souls. Nothing in the last day will compensate for the loss which they shall meet, who have been unfaithful stewards in the House of God. Better to suffer with Christ here, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, and fail of the recompense which awaits the faithful. "The time of hope And of probation speeds on rapid wings, Swift and returnless. What thou hast to do Do with thy might. Haste, lift aloud thy voice, And publish to the borders of the pit The Resurrection. Then, when the ransomed come With gladness unto Zion, thou shalt joy To hear the valleys and the hills break forth Before them into singing; thou shalt join The raptured strain, exulting that the Lord Jehovah--God Omnipotent--doth reign O'er all the earth."
  • Reference: [47670:L]



Children of Thomas Miller Allen (F234) & Rebecca Williamson Russell

  • Marriage*: 23 Mar 1818, Rebecca Williamson Russell, Fayette Co, KY, 1st cousins;
    6 additional children died in infancy; Ancestry: "Kentucky; Fayette; County; Allen, Thomas M. married Russell, Rebecca W. on 23 Mar 1818 in Fayette County, Kentucky."1,2,5,3

Family: Thomas Miller Allen (F234) & Mary M. Duncan

  • Last Edited: 5 Dec 2008


  1. [S2567] Unknown short compilation title.
  2. [S2570] Unknown short compilation title, 21 Dec 2001, [21 Dec 2001].
  3. [S29] William G. Scroggins, "John Scrogin (B2)," Scroggins09.
  4. [S2568] , Database: "unknown short compilation title",
  5. [S2572] , Database: "unknown short compilation title", Kentucky; Fayette County; Allen, Thomas M. married Russell, Rebecca W. on 23 Mar 1818 in Fayette County, Kentucky.
  6. [S2571] Mrs. E.E. and Mrs. J. Frank Thompson, comps. Evans, Tombstone Records of Boone County, Missouri, 21.
  7. [S2569] Unknown short compilation title, 21 Dec 2001.
  8. [S2573] , Database: "unknown short compilation title", M19_35\KYM19_35-0617.sid.
  9. [S2565] Unknown short compilation title, 21 Dec 2001.