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John Allen

Birthplace: Bacons Castle, Surry, Virginia, United States
Death: October 04, 1738 (78-79)
Surry, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Arthur Allen, of Bacon's Castle and Alice Hardy
Husband of Elizabeth Allen
Brother of Valentine Allen, of Old Rappahannock; Joan Proctor; Elizabeth Jackman, widow Caulfield; Mary Long; Katherine Johnson and 3 others

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About John Allen

John Allen (Arthur, Arthur) was the eldest son of his father, per the Allen Land Act. Author Eve Gregory persuasively suggests that he was born in circa 1684, given his activities at the College of William and Mary. Gregory notes that he entered this school as a student by 1699, when he would have been about fifteen, and served as a teaching assistant in 1702, at which time he was paid a substantial fifteen pounds per annum, when he was probably age eighteen [177]. If he were, however, at least twenty-one years old at the time, which was far more likely, than he would have been born by 1681: this estimate is consistent with Allen's appointment as Surry County's Surveyor in 1707 (a post that he would hold until December of 1741), by which time he would in [sic] have been of age [178]. Moreover, it is unlikely that any under-age person would have been paid so large a stipend.

....Elizabeth died "very suddenly" after breakfast at age 42 on Saturday, 14 October 1738. [183] Allen not only outlived her but their children, whose graves are mentioned in his will, as well as his three younger brothers. Allen died without surviving issue between 5 March 1541/2 and 21 April 1742, when his will was made in probated.

177. Gregory (op. cit. ft. 1) 33 and Horn (op. cit. ft. 12) 100 & 153 [50 pounds was the average wealth of a middle-class person].

178. Gregory (op. cit. ft. 1) 33 and Kneebone, John T., et al., eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Biography of John Allen by Eve Gregory. Richmond: The Library of Virginia, 1998. Volume 1, pages 88-89 ("Gregory II").

183. Gregory (op. cit. ft. 1) 34-35; Gravestone of Elizabeth Allen, wife of John, transcribed in Gregory 40 & Tyler Allen History (op. cit. ft. 10); Gregory (op. cit. ft. 178); II 88-89; and Elizabeth Allen obituary, 20 October 1737, The Virginia Gazette, transcribed in Robert K. Headley, Jr., Genealogical Abstracts from 18th Century Newspapers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987, page 40.

from "The Allen Family of Surry County, Virginia: Its British Roots and Early Generations in America," by William P. Carrell II, B.A., J.D., Louisville, Kentucky, (c) May, 2004 & Revised October, 2011

pp. 32-33

Wills and Administrations of Surry County, Virginia, 1671-1750

by Eliza Timberlake Davis - 1980 - p. 4


"...I desire the piece of ground where my wife and children be interred, after my death, may be handsomely walled in with Brick and the Tombstones which came lately from England to set up in a handsome manner over my wife's grave and it is my earnest desire that the said wall be always kept in good repair by those who shall enjoy my Estate.

...All the rest of my Estate real and personal to my nephew, Wm. Allen, Son of my brother, Joseph Allen, deceased. My nephew not to have my estate until he is 21 years old. In the meantime friend, James Baker, see after my whole estate...."

D: 5 March, [1741/2]. P: 21 April, 1742.


The Allen family was one of the wealthiest in the Virginia Colony. Seated in Surry County, first building and residing at "Bacon's Castle," then moving to "Claremont," the family possessed substantial property throughout eastern Virginia. This particular account book first belonged to John Allen (ca. 1684-1741 or 2). He was the son of Arthur Allen II (ca. 1652-1710) and his wife, Katherine Baker. Arthur was the owner of the house that gained fame by being occupied by Bacon's rebels in 1676, which incident led to its being dubbed "Bacon's Castle."

John Allen married Elizabeth Bassett (1697-1738), daughter of William Bassett of Eltham in New Kent County, and Joanna Burwell. This marriage allied Allen with several families with representatives on the Governor's Council. Allen's own career included work as a surveyor, clerk of Surry County, colonial militia colonel, and member of the House of Burgesses. By the time of his death, Allen had increased the approximately 1,300 acres inherited from his father to some 24,000 acres in Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Nansemond, and Surry Counties.

Having no surviving children, John Allen named nephew William Allen (1734-1793), a minor at the time of John's death, as heir. The younger Allen first married Clara Walker (1737-ca. 1764), having with her one son, John Allen (ca. 1760-1793). After Clara's death, he married Mary Lightfoot (1750-1789), with whom he had eight children. William Allen built Claremont Manor, in Surry County, on Upper Chippokes land inherited from his uncle.

For more information on the Allen family, see the Eve S. Gregory book Claremont Manor: A History.


John Allen, son of Arthur Jr. was a student at William and Mary College in 1699. He married Elizabeth Bassett, born 4 July, 1697 and died 4 October, 1738. She was the daughter of William Bassett of the Council of Virginia. Elizabeth died before her husband, they had no children.

The bulk of the John's estate went to his nephew, William Allen, and requested his brother, Joseph Allen be educated at William and Mary College until twenty one years. John requested his gold watch go to Mary Roscow, daughter of Col. William Roscow. His will was proved March 5, 1741 with Capt. John Ruffin executor.

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John Allen's Timeline

Bacons Castle, Surry, Virginia, United States
October 4, 1738
Age 79
Surry, Virginia, United States