Thomas and Nancy Allen

Thomas and Nancy (Brown) Allen were my great-great-great-grandparents. As is the case with several of my ancestors, I started out with nothing more than their names. Eventually, more information was filled in by cousins with whom I came in contact via the Internet.1 Then, once I knew where to look, more details on them and their descendants were gleaned from United States census records. Between the census and our cousins, we now have a portrait of several generations of this family.

My grandmother had listed this couple as Thomas Jefferson Allen and Eliza Brown. I question whether Thomas had any middle name; he was listed in his marriage license with no middle initial, whereas his son was listed as Thomas J. Allen. It appears that, whatever her given name might have been, his wife was usually referred to as Nancy, which was often used as a nickname in those days.

Birth. Thomas and Nancy were both born in Kentucky, around the turn of the 19th century, a time when settlers from the Eastern seaboard poured into Kentucky in great numbers, stayed a few years, then continued their Westward migration. Based on census data, we believe Nancy was born about 1804.2 Thomas may have been born as late as 1800. Nancy's mother may be buried along with their son Thomas at Greenlawn cemetery in Greenville, IN, where a Mrs. Brown is listed as being buried 1 Jan 1855. However, the Brown surname is just common enough that this is only speculation.

Marriage. The Indiana marriage index lists a license issued (but not returned) in Floyd county, 2 Dec 1820, to Thomas Allen and Nancy Brown. It wasn't uncommon for a girl to marry at sixteen years of age on the frontier. Their families must have been among the earliest settlers of Floyd county, which was formed in 1819 along the Ohio River. It's even possible the couple eloped across the river to Indiana from a nearby area in Kentucky. Many of Thomas and Nancy's descendants lived in Floyd county, either in the county seat, New Albany, directly across the river from Louisville, or in Greenville, a very small town about 12 miles away. New Albany was second in size only to Indianapolis in those days.

There were five Brown families, but no Allen families living in Floyd county in 1820. The 1830 census lists a Thomas Allen household in "Floyd county, exclusive of the town of New Albany", which includes:

These numbers agree with the children listed below. However, I couldn't find Thomas in the 1840 or 1850 U. S. censuses, nor could I find Nancy or any of their children in 1850 who should have been living with their parents. Locating people with common surnames like Allen and Brown is like finding a needle in a haystack, but I almost have to believe that the Allens just weren't enumerated in 1850!

We have no information as to what Thomas Allen's occupation was. It's worth noting, though, that almost all of his sons and sons-in-law were involved in the woodworking trades, such as carpenter, cabinetmaker, chair factory worker, etc. Even though his son Thomas J. Allen owned a store in Greenville, one of T. J.'s daughters married into the family which operated the Showers furniture factory in Bloomington, Indiana, and several of his sons worked there.

Janelle Hawley1 sent us this photo of Nancy Allen, writing:
"On the back of the actual picture it says Grandmother Allen (Mother's Grandmother).
My father, Pierce Leapson [Hussey] and his father Pierce Andrew [Hussey] both called Birdie mother."

Children and descendants. According to the obituary of Thomas and Nancy's daughter Martha, she came from a family of twelve children and was the last to pass away. My grandmother told me that T. J. was born in Greenville. Martha's obituary also gives Greenville as a birthplace, so it's possible the rest of Thomas and Nancy's children were also born there. The names of all twelve children were found by Phyllis Ewer in Floyd county legal documents pertaining to the distribution of Thomas Allen's estate after his death. Our fellow researchers Theresa and Janelle provided information on the Leapsons and I was able to fill in additional facts from the U. S. census records. The following list of Thomas and Nancy's children should be considered speculative, but it's based on the best information available...

  1. Thomas Jefferson Allen, born 25 Nov 1822. Married Martha Gibson 13 Jun 1844. Thomas died 14 Feb 1873 in Greenville and Martha 28 Feb 1901, in Bloomington. They are my great-great-grandparents.
  2. James M. Allen, born about 1823. Married Elizabeth R. Pickens3 14 Nov 1842 in Floyd county. Elizabeth was born about 1825 in Indiana. James worked as a carpenter and was enumerated in New Albany in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. James and Elizabeth had the following children, all born in Indiana:
    1. Hester Allen, born about 1846, died between 1850 and 1860.4
    2. James Allen, born in early 1850.
    3. Thomas Allen, born about 1851.4
    4. Lewis Allen, born about 1854.4
    5. William Allen, born about 1856.4
    6. Isabel Allen, born about 1858.4?
    There's a Mrs. James Allen who was buried in Wilford Allen's plot at Greenlawn cemetery 8 Jan 1862. In 1870, James turns up again in New Albany, but with a collection of people that includes little Isabelle, a new wife (?), Marie J., some young people who may be Marie's by a previous marriage, and some boarders. Although James is listed as 44 years old, this would seem to make him too young to have married Elizabeth in 1842, so we'll stick with his estimated 1823 birth date, based on the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
  3. William G. Allen, born about 1828. Stayed in Floyd county, working as a cabinet maker. Married:
    1. Martha J. Plott, 24 Jun 1849. Martha was born about 1829 in Indiana. William and his bride stayed in Greenville long enough to be recorded there in the 1850 census. By the time of the 1860 census, William and Martha were living in New Albany with the first of their two childen:
      1. Oscar Allen, born about 1852 in Indiana. Married Bettie Green, who was born about 1854 in Kentucky. In 1880, they were living in New Albany with Bettie's mother and their child:
        1. Delia Allen, born about 1879 in Indiana.
      2. William J. Allen, born about 1865 in Indiana. The following notices, which appeared on page 4 of the New Albany Ledger, Monday, 19 Dec 1887, appear to pertain to this person:

        William J. Allen, aged 24 years, died on Sunday, of consumption after a lingering illness. The funeral is announced elsewhere.

        ALLEN--William J., on Sunday, the 18th inst., of consumption, aged 24 years.

        The funeral will take place from the residence of Mrs.Townsend, West Fifth, between Main and Market Street, at 1:30 to-morrow, Tuesday afternoon. Friends of the family invited to attend.

    2. Jane A. Coffman, 7 Jul 1867, in Floyd county. Jane was born about 1839 in Indiana. William, Jane and both boys were enumerated together in New Albany in the 1870 census. An interesting note - the family's $3,000 worth of real estate was listed on Jane's line, while their "personal estate" of $2,000 was on William's line. In the 1880 census, William G., Jane and William J. were enumerated together in New Albany, and were listed just three households below Oscar's family.
    3. Ella Wolfe, 14 Feb 1881, in Floyd county.
    The notice of William G. Allen's death appeared on page 4 of the New Albany Ledger for Tuesday, 21 Mar 1882:
    William G. Allen, for many years foreman of Shrader's factory, died at 11 o'clock last night, at his residence on West Fourth street, of typhoid pneumonia, after a long illness. Mr. Allen was an old and respected citizen, and was for forty years a member of Park Christian church, having joined that church when but 12 years old. He had done more for his church than any man in the city. He was 52 years old. His funeral takes place from Park Christian church at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon.
  4. Matilda Allen, born about 1829. Married Robert Brown 16 Apr 1846, in Floyd county. Robert was born about 1825 in Indiana and was a carpenter. The couple was listed on the same census page in 1850 as Thomas and Martha Allen, in Greenville. In 1860, Matilda and Robert were living in Leavenworth, KS, with one child:
    1. Helen Brown, born about 1851 in Indiana.
  5. Markins or Margras Allen. Married Mary E. _____.
  6. Elisha W. Allen, born about 1832. Married Alice Sutton 1 Sep 1856, in Floyd county. Alice was born about 1835 in Indiana. They were enumerated in New Albany in 1860, and in Kansas City, MO, in 1870. They had the following children:
    1. John W. Allen, born about 1859 in Indiana.
    2. Robert N. Allen, born about 1864 in Indiana.
    3. Benjamin W. Allen, born about 1869 in Missouri.
    According to the Civil War - Indiana site, Elisha served in Company A of the 81st Indiana Infantry, entering and leaving as a private.5
  7. Eliza J. Allen. Married _____ Miller.
  8. John R. Allen, born about 1839 in Indiana. Married Sarah Emeline Kimberlin 22 Sep 1861, in Floyd county. The 1859 New Albany city directory lists "Allen John R., cooper, w side up Main bt Mkt and Spring." In the 1860 census, there was a John Allen working as a carpenter and living in a boarding house with eleven other young men in New Albany. Sarah was born 12 Sep 1841 and died 7 Sep 1863. Her obituary appeared in the New Albany Daily Ledger on the day of her death:


    In this city, this morning, Sept. 7th, 1863, Mrs. SARAH E. ALLEN, wife of J. R. Allen, in the 22d year of her age.

    The funeral will take place from the residence of her father, Mr. Jacob Kimberlin, in Greenville, Ind., to-morrow (Tuesday) morning, at 10 o'clock. The friends of the family are invited to attend without further notice.

    Lexington, Mo., Leavenworth City, Kansas, papers please copy.

    Sarah is buried along with her father, Jacob Kimberlin, and several other Kimberlins in the Greenlawn cemetery. The Kimberlin family appears to have lived in Clark county, IN, before moving to Floyd county after the 1860 census. We can't help but wonder about the tragedy which struck the Kimberlin family, in which Sarah's brother Jacob II died a month before her, then her father and brother Hiram in September 1864. And what is the significance of the notice to Leavenworth and Lexington newspapers? Matilda (Allen) Brown had moved to Leavenworth. Were there other Allens or Kimberlins in those cities? (I have no information on John Allen's life after Sarah's death.)
  9. Wilford M. Allen, born about 1840. Married Sarah J. Richards 15 Sep 1861, in Floyd county. Enumerated in Greenville in the 1860 census along with his mother and his sisters Martha and Laura. This census listed a 16-year-old Sarah Richards two households above the Allens. Wilford was listed as a cooper in that census and also in 1870, when he was living in Greenville in the same household as an older couple Samuel and Mary Ann Shipley, and Mary Allen, who was two years old. The census did not yet list relationships between persons enumerated, so whether Mary was his daughter is anybody's guess. The Civil War - Indiana site lists Wilford in Company A of the 81st Indiana Infantry, along with his brother Elisha, going in as a corporal and mustering out as a sergeant.5 Sarah may have died just before and Wilford just after the 1870 census, since there's a W. M. Allen who was buried April 1871 in the Wilford Allen plot at Greenlawn cemetery, a Mrs. Sarah Allen, buried 11 Feb 1870, and a Sam Shiply, who was buried 28 Aug 1874. How were the Shipleys and Allens related?
  10. Mary Allen, born 1841 or 1844? The 1870 census lists a 26-year-old Mary E. Allen as a housekeeper living in New Albany, in the home of Michael and Mary Kerr. In 1880, a 39-year-old Mary Allen was once again listed with the Kerrs. Her father's birthplace wasn't listed, but her mother was said to be born in Virginia. Mr. Kerr was a lawyer. We have no idea whether the Mary Allen of the census records was the same person as Thomas and Nancy's daughter.
  11. Martha E. "Mattie" or "Nettie" Allen, born 23 Mar 1846.6 Married 5 Apr 18667 in New Albany, to John J. Leapson,1 who was born 18 Dec 1832 in Philadelphia, PA, and died 8 Apr 1927 in Tulsa, OK. John worked as a tailor all his life. They moved to Lyons, Michigan, where they were counted in the 1870 census, along with John's mother, then eventually to Atchison, KS, where they were enumerated in 1880, in 1910 too illegibly to transcribe, and again in 1920, and where Martha died 25 Mar 1925. See Mattie's obituary and John's below for more details of their lives. She and John had the following children:
    1. Anna Cecelia Leapson, born 25 Nov 1866 in Floyd county, IN, died 19 Jan 1954 in Wichita, KS. Anna married Franklin Scott Jones, who was born Sep 1860 in Illinois, 27 Oct 1886 in Atchison, KS. They had the following children:
      1. Robert L. Jones, born Nov 1889 in Atchison, KS.
      2. Grant Lane Jones, born 1 Sep 1897 in Atchison, KS.
      Anna's obituary below is from the Atchison Daily Globe, Tuesday 19 Jan 1954.
    2. Emma Gertrude "Gertie" Leapson, born 12 Jun 1868 in Lyons or St Charles, MI. Married Frank K. Creamer, who was born about 1859 and with whom she was enumerated in the 1920 census in Chillicothe, MO. They had at least one child:
      1. John Creamer.
    3. Ida M. Leapson, born 28 Mar 1870 in Lyons or St Charles, MI. Married:
      • About 1888, George A. Maltby, who was born about 1858 in Indiana.8 Ida and George had at least one child:
        1. George L. Maltby, born 7 Nov 1889 in Kansas, died Nov 1968 in Kansas.
      • _____ Cross.8
    4. Laura Estella "Birdie" Leapson, born 5 Nov 1872 in Atchison, KS. Laura married Pierce Andrew Hussey, who was born about 1873 in Massachussetts. Birdie and Pierce moved to California, and were enumerated in the 1920 census in Sacramento, before eventually settling in Berkeley. Their children were:
      1. Edgar William Hussey, born about 1905 in Kansas.
      2. Pierce Leapson Hussey, born 16 Nov 1909 in Salem, OR, according to Janelle, although the 1920 census record says Kansas.
    John Leapson served his country during the Civil War, enlisting 12 Sep 1861 in Huntingdon county, PA. (See his PA archives file card.) He mustered in 13 Dec 1861 as a private in Co. M, 9th Regiment of PA cavalry. He transferred to Co. F, of the Veteran Reserve Corps Volunteers and mustered out with an honorable discharge at Madison, WI, 23 May 1864. He also served in Hospital #5, New Albany, IN.
  12. Laura Allen, born about 1849. Laura was married twice, to:

Death. Thomas died about 1855 in Floyd county. Nancy died July 1876 while living with her daughter Laura in Kansas City, MO. The New Albany Daily Ledger-Standard stated on Tuesday, 25 July 1876, column 2:

The remains of the mother of Mr. Wm. G. Allen, of this city, arrived from Kansas City, MO., Monday night. Mrs. A. died several days ago, and as she resided for many years in Greenville township, this county, her friends brought her body here for interment, that they might rest with the members of her family who preceded her to the grave. They were taken to Greenville this morning at an early hour, and the funeral ceremonies took place at the Christian Church, of which she had been a consistent member for a number of years.

According to Phyllis Ewer, there is a stone for Nancy in the Greenville cemetery, but none for Thomas.2

I welcome your comments on the information presented here.

Martha Allen Leapson. We thank Theresa Weak1 for supplying the following obituaries, along with a 1907 photo of Martha and her grandson, Edgar William Hussey:


Death Comes Suddenly to a Pioneer Resident of Atchison.

Mrs. Nettie Leapson, 79 years of age, a resident of Atchison for 52 years, died suddenly last evening at 6:30 o'clock, at her home, 801 North Seventh street.

She was the wife of John J. Leapson, veteran Atchison tailor.

Death came within half an hour after an attack of heart trouble, in the house in which Mr. and Mrs. Leapson had lived for more than 44 years.

Mr. Leapson is past 92 years of age, and is very feeble. He retired about 15 years ago from the tailoring business, after having operated a shop for many years at the corner of Sixth street and Kansas avenue.

Mrs. Leapson, whose maiden name was Nettie Allen, was born in Greenville, Pa., March 23, 1846.6 She was one of a family of 12 children, and the last of them to pass away.

She was married to Mr. Leapson in New Albany, Ind., March 5, 1867,7 a few days more than 58 years ago.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Leapson were splendid people, highly respected, and her death came as a severe shock to her many friends.

The funeral services will be held at the Leapson residence tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, and will be conducted by the Rev. G. C. Stevens, of Kansas City. Interment will be in Mt. Vernon cemetery.

Surviving Mrs. Leapson are her husband; four daughters, Mrs. Scott Jones of Atchison; Mrs. Frank Cramer, of Chillicothe, Mo.; Mrs. Ida M. Cross,8 of Tulsa, Okla., and Mrs. P. A. Hussey, of Berkeley, Calif.; six grandsons, Robert L. Jones, of Pittsburg, Kas.; Grant L. Jones, of Atchison; George L. Moltley, of Topeka; John Cramer, of Chillicothe, and Edgar and Pierce Hussey, of Berkeley, and one great granddaughter, Cecelia, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Grant Jones. All the grandsons will be here for the funeral except the Hussey boys.

Members of the family have requested that no flowers be sent to the services.


End comes at home of Daughter in Tulsa
Resident here 53 years.

John J. Leapson, 94 years of age, a resident of Atchison for more than half a century and a splendid gentleman, died at 5:30 o'clock Friday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Ida Maltby,8 in Tulsa, Okla. The body will arrive in Atchison this morning and will be taken to the former Leapson residence, 801 North Seventh street, now occupied by his son-in-law and daughter Mr. and Mrs. Scott Jones. Burial will be in the Mt. Vernon cemetery Monday afternoon at two o'clock, local Masons conducting the services. Mr. Leapson was a Spiritualist and services of that denomination were conducted at Tulsa yesterday afternoon at four o'clock.

John Leapson come to Atchison 55 years ago, and lived here until two years ago, when he went to Tulsa to make his home. He was a clothes cleaner, repairer and dyer by profession and opened the first clothing renovating establishment in Atchison, many years ago.

Mr. Leapson was born in Philadelphia, Pa., December 18, 1832, and early in the civil war enlisted with the Ninth Pennsylvania cavalry, serving until the close of the war. He moved to Kansas City9 from Pennsylvania with his wife soon after his marriage in 1866, and lived there for a year before going to Michigan. He came to Atchison in 1871. Mr. Leapson built the Leapson residence at the northwest corner of Seventh and Riley streets and lived there for 47 of his 53 years in residence here.

He was a member of the Masonic bodies from 1867 until his death, and of the A.S. Everrest post. Grand Army of the Republic in Atchison for a long period.

Surviving are four daughters, Mrs. Scott Jones, Atchison; Mrs. Frank Creamer, Chillicothe, Mo.; Mrs. Ida Maltby, Tulsa and Mrs. Pierce Hussey, Berkeley, Calif. Six grandchildren and one great-grandchild also survive.

Mrs. Anna Jones, widow of Scott Jones, who was a clerk at the Atchison post office many years, died at 10:20 o'clock this morning at the Masonic home in Wichita. Her son Grant Jones is custodian of Central school. The body will be brought to Atchison for funeral services. The Stanton mortuary is in charge of the arrangements.

1 The following people, the main contributors to this page, have been especially helpful: 2 Her 1860 census record lists her as 53 years old. The 1870 record says she's 66. I'm going with the latter for now, even though it would make her 45 years old at the time of the birth of her last child. The former would make her about 13 years old at marriage! There's yet another set of dates provided by her tombstone in Greenlawn cemetery, in Greenville:

Nancy Allen
Wife of Thomas Allen
My Mother
Born Jan. 31, 1800
Died July 28, 1876, Kansas City, Mo.
Aged 76y 5m 22d

3 The surname Pickens was supplied by Phyllis. The Indiana marriage index gives Perkins.
4 These four, or possibly five, children shoudn't be confused with their namesake first cousins, who were Thomas J. and Martha's children!
5 There's an interesting connection to another Allen family here. In a different company of Elisha and Wilford's regiment was Riley S. Allen (1838-1910), from neighboring Washington county. After the war, Riley named his first son Wilford Nelson Allen. We don't have any evidence that Riley's family is related to ours, but Riley was the grandson of an Elisha Allen (1762?-1819). One of this Elisha's sons was named Thomas Allen. We've more or less ruled out that this Thomas is the same person as our own Thomas Allen, though. (The information in this footnote was provided by one of Riley's descendants, David Kent Coy. Research continues!)
6 The obituary writer may have confused Mattie's birthplace with her husband's. Theresa sent us a copy of Mattie's death certificate. It lists her birth date as 22 March 1846, in Greenfield, Indiana. It gives her mother's name as Nancy Brown and her father's name as [no first name] Allen. "Don't know" appears for parents' birthplaces. The informant for the death certificate was Mattie's son-in-law, Scott Jones. Theresa also located John J. Leapson's death certificate, for which his daughter Ida was the informant. It didn't provide much information on John, since Ida stated "don't know" for his mother's name and birthplace and "John Leapson" and "don't know" for his father's.
7 Janelle supplied the 1866 marriage date for Mattie and John, which is confirmed by Indiana Marriages 1845-1920 and by John Leapson's Civil War pension record.
8 There is a lot of confusion here. The 1910 census finds Ida living with George A. Maltby and George junior in Kansas City, KS. The 1920 census lists a widow, Ida Maltby, living at 407 Kenosha in Tulsa. In the same census, a divorced George A. Maltby is still living in K.C., and George junior has married and moved to Topeka, KS. Ida is listed as Ida M. Cross in Mattie's 1925 obituary and Ida M. Maltby in John's 1927 obituary. Just where does Mr. Cross fit in, anyway?
9 Theresa writes, in April 2005:
I find this a little hard to believe, I have never seen anything about living in Kansas City before this. There is also no mention of them living in Indiana. This is were JJ and Mattie got married and the first daughter Anna was born. I don't think there was any time to be in Kansas City, since Anna was born IN 1866, Emma (1868) and Ida (1870) were born in MI, and Laura "Birdie" was born in KS in 1872. The obit was in the Atchison Daily Globe dated Sunday April 10, 1927, Pg 2.
This page was last updated 18 May 2009.