George Washington Allen – Dryden Pioneer

George Washington Allen was born September 15, 1813 in Wales Township, Erie County, New York (southeast of Buffalo) to William Allen (1746-1808) and Abigail Gardner Allen (1781-1830).  His father and uncle, Ethan Allen (1778-1846), were among the first settlers of Wales Township in 1806.  William and Ethan were second cousins to Ethan Allen of the Green Mountain Boys of the Revolutionary War fame.

George’s grandfather, Parmalee Allen, was a Revolutionary War patriot.  Parmalee was an officer in Colonel Herrick’s Company.  This unit was instrumental in defeating General Burgoyne’s British Army regulars at the Battle of Saratoga.  The British defeat resulted in the United States being recognized and supported by France and Spain.

In 1822, his parents moved to a farm near Pontiac.  At that time, Pontiac consisted of only three homes.

In 1824, William moved the family to section 9 of Washington Township (between 30- and 31-mile and Campground and Mound Roads), Macomb County.  William’s family was one of the earliest settlers of Washington Township.

During the spring, summer, and fall of 1827, George helped his father, James Thorington (Washington Township’s first settler) and Levi Washburn in cutting a road – more accurately a path – northward from 30-mile Road to downtown Almont.  Historically, the reason for cutting this road was to get to a stand of pine trees beyond downtown Almont.  How they got paid for their efforts is unknown.  They may have sold the logs they cut down to the saw mill in Romeo or traded a portion of the logs for milled lumber which they could use on their homesteads.  It also could be a combination of those two.

This road (path) led to the first homesteads being purchases in what would become Almont Township.

The next year, 1828, the Deneen family purchased property in section 9 in Almont on October 16, 1828.  On their travels from Detroit to their homestead, the Deneens – James, wife Elizabeth Miller Deneen and their five children, stopped at William Allen’s homestead.  When they left George accompanied the Deneen’s.  He helped cut a path from downtown to the Deneen homestead at the corner of Hollow Corners and Van Dyke Roads.  George also likely helped construct the Deneen’s log cabin and structures for their animals.

When in his early twenties, George moved between farms in Dryden, Oakland County, and Almont.  On October 12, 1836 he bought property in Section 33 in Dryden Township.  He then moved to Oakland County and stayed for a year.  He then purchased property from his brother-in-law in Section 31 of Almont Township (southwestern most section of the township).

On March 26, 1843 he married Julia Ann Beach, who was born December 15, 1815.  They had three children – Caroline (1844-1916), Almon O. (1847-1932) and James Orra (1853-1924).  George died on February 26, 1893 and was buried in the Sandhill Cemetery.  Julia survived another 6 years and died March 31, 1899.  She was buried next to George.  All three of their children are buried in Sandhill Cemetery along with George’s aunt, Sally Allen Johnson and her husband, Samuel, and George’s grandmother, Deborah Burroughs Allen. 

Allen Family Grave Site

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