John Wesley Allen - Son of Alexander and Nancy Branson Allen

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The following biographical sketch was written by Eric Allen, Fort Smith's famous western novelist and son of John Wesley Allen. It was published in 1976 in The History of Sequoyah County 1828 - 1975, The Sequoyah County Historical Society (1976), ARC Press, 13581 Tyree Mt. Rd., Cain Hill, Arkansas 72717. Eric used a bit of his novelist imagination when he described his father's ancestry. The story about his father's grandfather being a ship's captain is probably no more than a family myth. Allentown, Pennsylvania was named for a British Chief Justice William Allen, not for any Allen of this family.  Other than that, there are several of clues in this biography to help us on our search for the origins of John's father Alexander Allen. Several of us have been scouring the available records, cemeteries, etc. looking for clues to the origins of the Allen Family. I want to thank Barbara "Bobbie" Bates for sending me the document this is taken from and for her help in trying to track down the origins of the Allens. Also, thanks to cousin Francis Titsworth for her work and for sharing it with us.

I have highlighted clues that may help us with our search for ancestral Allen's. Note that Eric's story about the ship's captain from Ireland is most likely a myth and Allentown in Pennsylvania was not named for him or for any of Eric's ancestors.

Allen, John Wesley
By Eric Allen

It was the fall of 1888 when a young boy stepped across a shoal on Big Lee Creek in present Sequoyah County and hurried along a dim track trough the forest. He climbed the hills of extreme eastern Indian Territory at that time.

Fourteen-year-old John Wesley Allen was traveling from Natural Dam, Arkansas, to visit his uncle Fate Rich. The Rich home at that time was between Liberty and the communities of Blue Mouse and Scott.

In this region John Wesley Allen was to meet, court and later marry Cynthia Annie Vaughn, who was living with her mother and brothers near the Shonny (Czarnikow) Creek.

The house was beside the road along which Wesley Allen traveled that day in 1888. He told pretty Cynthia Annie the first time he met her: "You're mine if I never get you, girl. I'll tell you that!"

They were married in 1898. They farmed, raised a large family, operated a grocery store and remained in Sequoyah County all their lives. From about 1913 until 1929, John Wesley Allen served as constable of Roland Township, and was a deputy sheriff a great portion of his adult life. He and Cynthia Annie were highly active throughout all their years.

For almost fifty years they lived at the first place they bought, two miles east of Liberty School.

Both had interesting historical backgrounds. John Wesley Allen's grandfather came from Ireland as captain of a ship. He never could manage to speak English without the customary full Irish brogue. Some records indicate the first community of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was named for him. Later, the Allen family migrated to Kentucky and Tennessee and then into Arkansas.

John Wesley Allen's maternal grandfather was of a totally different breed, called "Granddad" Bronson [Branson] He was a Cherokee minister and emissary to the Indians... a far traveling man who boarded a ship around Cape Horn to California in 1849. He often told young John Wesley of seeing San Francisco when there was nothing except a tiny huddle of shacks, and also the "falling of the stars," which he witnessed in 1833.

John Wesley Allen was ">a cousin of the noted Jim Branson, sheriff of Crawford County, Arkansas, many terms. Jim Branson for years operated a big general store at Short.

John Wesley's mother was Adeline Branson [Nancy]. She died at an early age and is buried near Cedarville, Arkansas. John Wesley's father, Alec [Alexander] Allen, once ran a store at Long.

Cynthia Annie Allen (nee Vaughn) had perhaps an even richer historical heritage. She was descended from William Vaughn, the explorer who is noted as the first white man to view and taste the so-called "healing waters" of Eureka Springs. He spread the word and it went throughout the nation and worldwide, and thus the "Little Switzerland" city of the Ozarks - Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was born.

Cynthia Annie's father, James Vaughn (1846-1884) fought with the Union Army during the Civil War and was honorably discharged at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1865. He is buried in Pope County, Arkansas.

John Wesley Allen (1874-1954) and Cynthia Annie Allen (1879-1961) are buried in the cemetery at Roland, Oklahoma.

Their first born child was Villa, 1899; next, Addie, 1902; Audra Allen, a noted teacher in Sequoyah County for 45 years, 1904; little Ella Vadis died in infancy; The first son born was John Wesley, Jr., 1908; then another daughter, Evangeline (Vangie), 1912; another son, David Eric, was born in 1916; and Dayton Hughes, the last-born of this family, was born in 1919.

Ronald N. Wall
Modified: 10 March 2017