Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Colonel John Allen

by Carmen Doyle

Back in December, we mentioned some of the important people that got streets and places named after them. (http://historycenterfw.blogspot.com/2013/12/why-is-he-so-important.html)

One of the most prominent people in Fort Wayne was John Allen, the man for whom our county is named.

John Allen was from Kentucky. He went to Virginia to study law and then came back to Kentucky to practice, becoming a prominent lawyer.

One of the cases he helped try, with Henry Clay, was the defense of Aaron Burr in the Burr Conspiracy trial. (Burr was Jefferson’s Vice-President. In a duel, Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton, who was Secretary of the Treasury. After leaving Washington, Burr traveled to the Southwest and was later accused of treason. Accusers said he wanted to create an independent state in the Southwest. Burr was acquitted. And you thought politics today was rough!)

When the War of 1812 began, John Allen was one of the first in Kentucky to respond and was made a colonel. His regiment came to the defense of Fort Wayne at the urging of William Henry Harrison. Colonel Allen was not only a brave fighter,  he was also known to be able to rally his men’s spirits.

Allen went from the defense of Fort Wayne to the defense of River Raisin, Michigan, where he unfortunately was killed.

Allen County Courthouse c.1916
His bravery impressed many settlers and soldiers, enough that they named a county after him. Despite his short amount of time in Fort Wayne, and in Indiana, Colonel John Allen was so noteworthy that he inspired counties in three states.

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