Biography of Hon. John B. Allen

HON. JOHN B. ALLEN. – “I think Walla Walla is destined to be the central and commercial city of that large area of country in Eastern Washington lying south of the Snake river, and of much of Eastern Oregon. Probably no city of its population in the Northwest equals it in wealth. It is just now emerging from years of transportation extortions, which few other regions could have borne. Competitive systems will infuse new life to every industry, and stimulate the developments of resources heretofore lying dormant.”

This is the horoscope of the young city as cast by Mr. Allen; and his opinions are certainly of great weight. He has been a resident of the territory since 1870; and, as United States attorney for Washington under Grant, Hayes and Garfield, he has visited nearly every locality within the field of his labors; and his opportunities for forming correct judgment have been very extensive. While a citizen of Dayton or Pendleton could not be expected to agree with him fully, and Spokane Falls and North Yakima would naturally demur from his opinion that the Blue Mountain slopes are the finest in the territory, the unbiased mind will, at least, regard his view with interest. Mr. Allen is one of the territory’s most prominent citizens. As delegate to the United States Congress, he has achieved a lasting fame, and will leave the stamp of his mind upon history.

He is a native of Indiana, having been born at Crawfordsville, in that state in 1843. He was educated at Wabash College, but at the age of nineteen joined the “hundred-days” men and served his time in the civil war. After the restoration of peace, he went with his father to Rochester, Minnesota, where he was admitted to the bar. In 1870, he came to Puget Sound, and made his home at Olympia. He was married at Portland in 1871. Upon his appointment as federal attorney in 1875, he made extensive tours of the country, going by stage-coach in the old ante-railroad days of the territory. In 1881, he removed with his family to Walla Walla, where he enjoys his fine residence in that city, which he regards on the whole the most eligible in the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Allen is essentially a public man, virile, full of vitality, popular, and finding his chief interest in great measures embracing large areas and many people. It is generally conceded that, as a lawyer, he is the foremost in Washington.


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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