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ALLEN, Dwight A.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923, Vol. II, page 193.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
ALLEN, DWIGHT A. A retired merchant, many years a resident of West Palm Beach, DWIGHT A.
ALLEN has had a successful individual career, and he is a member of a family of great prominence
in the commercial and political affairs of the state since pioneer times.
His father was WILLIAM SMITH ALLEN, of New England ancestry and a native of Enfield, Connecticut.
He came South during the early forties, first locating in Georgia, where he taught school.
About 1848 or 1849, he removed to Jacksonville, and became a pioneer of that city. While
there he was employed as bookkeeper by the Fairchild Company, saw mill operators and lumber
shippers. At the beginning of the war between the North and the South in 1861 WILLIAM S.
ALLEN, a staunch Union man, removed with his family to Key West, which was then and remained
in the hands of the United States Government. At Key West WILLIAM S. ALLEN and his three
brothers, GEORGE D., MOSES A. and BENJAMIN WHITING ALLEN, engaged in the mercantile business.
In time this firm built up the largest establishment of the kind at Key West. WILLIAM S.
ALLEN also established a plantation at Chokoloskee, at the mouth of Allen's Creek, which was
named for him, and flows into the south part of Gullivan's Bay in the extreme southern point
of Lee County. WILLIAM S. ALLEN after retiring from business lived at Key West until his
death in 1891.
His wife, MARY JANE (SPRAGUE) ALLEN, soon after the war broke out between the states took
her children and returned to her old home at Ithaca, New York. They embarked on a steamer
at Key West, and this ship was captured by Confederate gun boats, and she and her children
were removed as prisoners to Charleston, but later were released and continued their journey.
She remained at her old home in Ithaca until her death in 1869.
The late GEORGE W. ALLEN of Key West was a brother of DWIGHT A. ALLEN. He was born at
Jacksonville in 1854, and during his life, which closed at Key West, May 30, 1922, he earned
a place among Florida's most distinguished and successful citizens. As a young man he was
associated with his father's mercantile business. Later he engaged in banking, and became
president of the First National Bank of Key West. He served several years as collector for
the Port of Key West, and as one of the leaders of the republican party was candidate for
governor in 1918.
DWIGHT A. ALLEN, who was born at Jacksonville in 1861, received his first conscious impressions
in the University City of Ithaca, New York. He attended school there, and after his mother's
death returned to Key West and as a young man had charge for several years of the Allen
farm at Chokoloskee. Through the influence of his brother GEORGE he was appointed in 1885
first assistant keeper of the Government Light House at Jupiter, Florida. Later he was
promoted to lighthouse keeper, and continued on duty there something over five years. In
the meantime Mr. ALLEN had acquired some property in the locality now covered by the City
of West Palm Beach, where at the time there was scarcely a settlement. After leaving the
federal lighthouse service he located on this land, and has been a resident of West Palm
Beach throughout practically all the period of its growth and development. For twelve years
he was deputy collector of customs here. He conducted a successful mercantile business,
which he finally sold in 1922.
Until the summer of 1922 his home was the property at the Southeast corner of South Poinsettia
and Fern streets. Here he had 120 feet frontage on Poinsettia and 100 feet on Fern Street.
He paid only $950 for this in 1904. It was sold in 1922 for $55,000. Since then Mr. ALLEN
has built a home on Hibiscus Street.
He married Miss IDA RUSSELL, of Oconee County, South Carolina, member of a prominent family
in that section of the state. They have six children, CLARAMAE, WILLIAM, KIBBEE, GEORGE D.,
MARGARET and JANE. The son WILLIAM ALLEN finished a technical course in Wentworth Institute
at Boston in 1922.
This page created August 24, 2010
© 2010 Fran Smith