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Hillsborough Biographies

ALLEN, William George

Transcribed from:  The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol II, 
page 99, 1923.

ALLEN, WILLIAM GEORGE, president of Tampa Drug Company, is one of the sound business men and
responsible citizens of Hillsborough County, to whose efforts and ability may be directly
traced not only the remarkable success of his own house, but the general prosperity of the
community in which he is living and working. He was born in Merriweather County, Georgia,
November 19, 1865, a son of CLEMENT JEREMIAH and ELLEN JOSEPHINE (MARCHMAN) ALLEN.

The Allen family is traced back in this country to the early Colonial days. DREWRY ALLEN,
his great-great-grandfather, was a soldier under General Washington's command in the American
Revolution. He served under Washington in the battle of Brandywine, and was with him at
Yorktown. He was also with Greene in the Carolinas. He also fought in the battle of Cowpens
and Gilford Court House. He was of Scotch origin, born in North Carolina. His son, CLEMENT
ALLEN, also was born in North Carolina. JOSIAH ALLEN, son of CLEMENT ALLEN, was born in
Georgia and he became the grandfather of WILLIAM GEORGE ALLEN. CLEMENT JEREMIAH ALLEN, his
father, was born in Georgia, and casting his lot with the South during the war between that
section and the North, he enlisted in the Confederate Army, Company D, Eighth Georgia Volunteers,
in which he served until he had the misfortune to lose both eyes in the battle of the Wilderness.
Following his discharge from the hospital he was honorably discharged on account of disability.

He married in 1864, his wife being also a native of Georgia, and a daughter of GEORGE and
AMANDA MARCHMAN, natives of Georgia, of Scotch descent. There were four children born to
CLEMENT J. ALLEN and his wife, as follows: WILLIAM GEORGE, CHARLES JOSIAH, FRANK HENRY and
WALTER, the last named being the youngest of the family, but died at the age of two years.

Losing his father in Alabama, in 1872, WILLIAM GEORGE ALLEN was brought to Florida by his
mother when he was about ten years old. Their first place of residence was at Live Oak, but
in the summer of 1876 they left it for Gainesville, where he attended school, a private
institution conducted by Miss TEBEAU, and the East Florida Seminary. During the summer
months he was kept busy doing farm work. During 1883 and 1884 he served an apprenticeship
as a wagon-maker with LOUIS T. ROUX at Gainesville. In 1885 he took a position with the
old Florida Railway and Navigation Company, but left it and Florida to go to Waco, Texas,
in 1886, and was employed there on a ranch owned by Capt. JOHN WINSHIP, his uncle, and the
following year was employed in the Winship cotton gin manufactory at Corsicana, Texas.
During the later part of 1887 he returned to Gainesville, and he and his brother CHARLES
went into a partnership for the purpose of farming. In 1889 they moved to Kissimmee, Florida,
where they embarked in a grocery and baking business, but subsequently Mr. ALLEN sold his
interest to his brother, and in February, 1890, came to Tamps and engaged in the grocery
business here, in which he continued until 1911, when he took active charge of the Tampa
Drug Company, wholesalers. Mr. ALLEN became president of the company at that time and has
since held the office. The company employs about forty-five persons, and the territory
covered by it extends practically all over Florida. Mr. ALLEN has other interests in Tampa.

On July 12, 1891, Mr. ALLEN married RACHEL RUTHVIN RAY, a native of Kentucky, who was then
a resident of Tampa, having come here from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which had for a time
been the family home. Mr. And Mrs. ALLEN became the parents of nine children, namely:
ELLEN RACHEL, who married C. F. IRISH, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work;
WILLIAM RAY, married, who resides at Tampa; WALTER GEORGE, DOROTHY, MARGUERETE, RUTH, JOSEPHINE,
CHARLES FRANKLIN and NANCY, who are at home. Mr. ALLEN is a thirty-second degree Mason, and
is also a member of the Mystic Shrine. He is a member of the First Baptist Church of Tampa.
He belongs to the Rotary Club, is a member of the Tampa Board of Trade, and, withal, is a
true Floridian.

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