The History of Florida: Past & Present
FL-GenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Don O. Allen
The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923, Vol. II, page 302.
ALLEN, DON O., formerly one of the faithful employees of the Florida Southern Railroad, but
now one of its retired pensioners, and a veteran of the war of the '60s, is a highly esteemed
resident of Punta Gorda. He was born in Oswego County, New York, April 12, 1841, a son of
ETHAN and ALMIRA (WHEELER) ALLEN, both of whom were born in Dutchess County, New York.
ERASTUS ALLEN, the paternal grandfather, was born in Vermont, as were the maternal grandparents,
ASHBUL and POLLY (WEBSTER) WHEELER, the latter being a daughter of ELISHA WEBSTER, a nephew
of DANIEL WEBSTER. In 1853 ETHAN ALLEN sold his interests in New York and moved with his
wife and family to Ashtabula County, Ohio, bought there a farm and resided upon it until he
died. His wife also died on this farm.
Brought up by careful parents, DON O. ALLEN attended the country schools of New York and Ohio
until he was seventeen years old. Leaving school then, he went to Warren County, Pennsylvania,
and for the succeeding 2 1/2 years was an oil driller in the oil fields of that region. Returning
to Ashtabula County, Ohio, he entered upon his railroading as a fireman on the Lake Shore
and Michigan Southern Railroad, with which he remained for over three years, and he also had
a preliminary training in the shops of that road. After he had completed his work as fireman
he was promoted to engineer, and continued in that position for twenty years, and then resigned
and came to Florida. At Palatka, Florida, he secured a position as engineer on the Florida
Southern Railroad, and held it for 2 1/2 years, and then was sent to Southern Florida to
superintend the laying of rails from Lakeland to Rembleston's Ferry. Still later he was
sent to Bartow, Florida, and from December, 1885, to June 26, 1886, was occupied with the
building of the Charlotte Harbor Extension Railroad. He then purchased five lots on the
shore of Charlotte Harbor, on which he erected a large frame, two-story residence, which
continues to be his home. Since 1912 he has been retired from his road on a pension.
On June 21, 1869, Mr. ALLEN married Miss ELEANOR RANDALL, born at Erie, Pennsylvania, a
daughter of BENJAMIN and ELIZABETH (WRIGHT) RANDALL, and they became the parents of the
following children: JESSIE, who is the wife of LEWIS YANCEY, of Atlanta, Georgia; IRIS,
who is at home; DANE RANDALL, who is a resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee, married RAY
SMITH, and they have one son, JEAN. Mr. ALLEN is a republican. He belongs to the Brotherhood
of Locomotive Engineers, and to Tampa Post Number 20, G. A. R.
When war was declared between the North and the South, being of Northern birth it was but
natural that Mr. ALLEN should offer his services to the Union, and he enlisted September 21,
1861, at North East, Pennsylvania, in Company F, One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania
Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Braden. He was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, and
was sent to Harper's Ferry. Subsequently he was in the engagements at Charlestown, Maryland,
and Winchester, Virginia, and his command was defeated at the latter by "Stonewall" Jackson.
Crossing at Front Royal the Union forces defeated the Confederates, and then, going to
Culpeper, Virginia, fought the battle of Cedar Mountain, at which the commanding general
was General Banks. Mr. ALLEN's command then fell back to Culpeper, crossed the Rappahannock
River, and then for four days were engaged with the Confederate forces under "Stonewall"
Jackson at Manassas, known as the Second Battle of Bull Run. The command was then sent to
Washington City for two days, and returning to the front, had a battle on South Mountain on
Sunday, and the following Wednesday helped to fight at Antietam, September 17, 1862. It was
at 2 o'clock in the afternoon that Mr. ALLEN received a gunshot wound in the left knee that
laid him on the ground near an old barn. There he remained for two days and two nights,
suffering agonies, before he was rescued. He was taken to the field hospital where there
were 26,000 other wounded, and was not discharged from the hospital until January 13, 1863.
Owing to his injuries he was honorably discharged on account of disability, and for 2 1/2
years thereafter he was compelled to use crutches.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
This page created May 1, 2010
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