Saturday, September 24, 2011

Great-Grandpa's Link to the Legendary Bushwacker Bill WIlson

Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

  The Life and Times of Valentine "Tine" Allen

Valentine Allen was born 9 Nov 1843 in Newburg, Phelps County, Missouri. He was the son of Samuel T. Allen and Frances Hudgens (Wilson)(Malone). Great-Grandpa "Tine" Allen ran a country store, and also served as the town postmaster.  He was the father of many children by his first wife, my great-grandmother Catherine Ellen Fore.  "Tine" Allen and his wife lost at least 4 of their children in infancy and early childhood to childhood diseases, epidemics, and accidents; including their daughter Minnie Allen who succumbed to burn injuries at age seven after a terrible house fire accident. Unfortunately, such losses were not uncommon in those days. Great-Grandpa remarried at age 58 after losing his beloved wife Catherine. Valentine's second wife was Cordelia Paralee Miller Hawkins, a widow.  My great-grandparents Valentine and Catherine Allen are buried together at Allen Cemetery, in Phelps County, Missouri.

Valentine "Tine" Allen's half-brother was "Bushwacker" Bill Wilson, son of Frances Hudgens and her first husband Valentine Wilson. I have already written about Bushwacker Bill on this blog, so won't go into great detail about him again.   For those of you who may have seen the old Clint Eastwood film "The Outlaw Josey Wales", you will be familiar with the story of my Great-Grandpa's half-brother Bushwacker Bill, on whom the film's story is loosely based.  The Outlaw Josey Wales character is actually a composite of several known Bushwackers who lived in the area during the Civil War.  While it is true that some Bushwackers during the war were vicious murderers, such as the one known as "Bloody Bill Anderson"; others were regular family men who banded together to try to protect their families and properties during the War. Bushwacker Bill Wilson, my great-grandfather's half-brother, was one of the more sympathetic figures who actually became a folk hero in Missouri.   There was a book written about him by George Clinton Arther, entiitled: "Bushwacker, Missouri's Most Infamous Desperado".   The book is based on first-hand accounts of those who knew Bill Wilson.   The story goes that Bill was simply avenging the harm and atrocities that befell his family and property at the hands of renegade soldiers. Whether the "bad guys" were Union or Confederate soldiers is not entirely clear.   There was some wrong-doing on both sides during the war.   Missouri was technically a neutral state, but sympathies were dividied among families....some were for the Confederate cause, and others supported the Union cause.  It was not unusual for brothers within the same family to join up and fight on opposing sides during the Civil War. This happened within my own family tree.  I have not found a record that Tine Allen served in the military during the Civil War, though several other ancestors and relatives living in the area at the time did serve.

  Perhaps Tine Allen preferred to try to remain neutral and go about his life, operating his store and providing for his family. He would have been a young man in his early twenties during the war, having married very young at age 17 to my Great-Grandmother Catherine Ellen Fore. We are not sure whether Great-Grandpa "Tine" Allen ever rode with his half-brother and their band of Bushwackers.   Indications are that he probably did not, though there is little doubt that he probably aided and abbetted his outlaw half-brother.  There is a well-known cave in the area where legend has it that Bushwacker Bill hid out, and was brought food and supplies by various family members.   Tine Allen's store was very likely a primary source of such supplies.

Valentine "Tine" Allen, 1843- 1919

I don't have a lot of first-hand knowledge of my Great-Grandfather, Tine Allen.  He of course died long before I was born.  However, my Aunt Lona, (also now gone and dearly missed) did remember visiting her grandfather's store as a small child.  She remembered riding on the train from St Louis to Phelps and Maries Counties, Missouri to visit relatives with her mother, my paternal grandmother Susannah ("Susan") Allen Harrison. Aunt Lona told me stories of  remembering her maternal grandfather Tine Allen as being a tall, dark haired man with a long handle-bar mustache.  The highlight of those visits for her was getting to reach into the candy jars at Grandpa Tine's store and take out sweet treats.   In those days, that must have been quite a treat indeed. Aunt Lona was the original family historian in my clan.  She saved everything over the years like pack rat.  I now have copies of photos of Valentine Allen and other ancestors in my tree, thanks to her.  The originals now belong to a family member who inherited them from her as her direct descendant, and who unfortunately has little interest in genealogy or sharing those photos with others, even cousins. This partiuclar descendant seems to have inherited the "intense privacy gene" that is so prevalant among my ancestors, and which contributes to so many of the Brick Walls I encounter today in doing my genealogy research. They seem to have been intent on making it hard to trace their movements, especially in the branches of the tree prior to Missouri in the early 1800's. I wish that I had had the foresight to make better copies of the photos and records that were in my Aunt's possession while I still had access to them, however at the time I was not thinking about preserving the family history so much as just listening to my Aunt's stories.   I am one of the few descendants in my branch of the tree who takes any interest in genealogy; and my quest is to try to preserve some of those memories, photos, and stories of the past to be enjoyed by future descendants.

   Valentine Allen and Catherine Ellen (Fore) Allen

Valentine Allen's beloved wife with whom he was laid to rest was Catherine Ellen Fore, born 1843 in Kentucky; daughter of Benjamin Fore and Sabra Stogsdill. Valentine and Catherine Fore Allen had many children, including my grandmother Susannah "Susan" Allen who married my grandfather John Pettis "Pinkney" Harrison. Catherine died in 1900, leaving Valentine a widower at age 57. Valentine had two other marriages, to Cordelia Paralee Hawkins Miller and Susan Wilson, with whom he also had children. The Allens and Harrisons have deep roots in Missouri in the 1800's, and many descendants still live there today.

 Susan Allen Harrison, 1875- 1933

Above is a photo of Tine Allen's daughter, my paternal grandmother Susan Allen Harrison. I never met Susan or her father; all of those generations of my family tree had passed long before I was born.  Perhaps that is one reason I am so interested now in reconstructing the past and learning about the people who all contributed to making me the person I am today.   I often wonder what they would think about our world today, with such things as Blogs, Internet, Facebook, and cell phones.    I do know that most from those generations in my family tree were intensely private individuals, and perhaps would be horrified that I am seeking out and publishing for posterity bits and pieces of their lives today.  However, I prefer the beleive that they are pleased that I am playing a small part in making sure they are never forgotten.