Hollis Herbert Allen found his life work in the grocery business. He came to Arkansas City twenty-eight years ago, then a young man, and learned the grocery trade by work in every capacity, at first for others and afterwards for himself. Any one who had had experience in the grocery trade knows that hardly any other business is subject to the operation of more circumstances and influences affecting its prosperity, and anyone who had been successful in that line fully deserves all he had won. Mr. Allen now had one of the finest retail grocery houses in the State of Kansas.
He was born at Montpelier, Ohio, March 1, 1873. In the paternal line he is of German ancestry. His great-grandfather came from Germany and located in Pennsylvania. The grandfather was born in Pennsylvania in 1819, and was an early settler at Montpelier, Ohio, where he died in 1899 at the age of eighty years. On going to Ohio he worked for a time on the Erie Canal, also was a merchant, subsequently a farmer, and besides farming he conducted an undertaking shop. Through his mother H. H. Allen is of Yankee stock, the Potters having come from England in colonial times.
John Allen, father of H. H. Allen, was well known in Arkansas City and was a resident of that town during his last years, though his death occurred in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1912. He was born in Williams County, Ohio, in 1847, grew up and married in his native state, and gave his energies chiefly to the grocery business. He came to Kansas in 1889, locating in Arkansas City, and soon established a grocery store at 316 South Summit Street. He afterwards sold that business, then did some farming, and after that retired. He was a democrat, and while living in Williams County, Ohio, served as county treasurer. He held various other town and county offices. Fraternally he was a Mason, having preserved his affiliations with that order during his whole life. Though very young at the time, he saw some service in the Civil war. He had enlisted February 25, 1865, in Company D of the One Hundred and Eighty-ninth Ohio Infantry, and was in the army until mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee, September 28, 1865.
John Allen married Mary Jane Potter, who was born in Ohio in 1854 and is still living at Arkansas City. L. E. Allen, the oldest of their children, lives at Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had the agency for the Crystal Spring water; the second in the family is Hollis H.; Edna is the wife of J. B. Tisseur of Arkansas City, employed by a contracting and building company; Pearl married Henry Vance, a locomotive engineer living at Enid, Oklahoma. Addie is the wife of Charles Strubble, a painter and decorator at Arkansas City.
Hollis H. Allen attended the public schools of Montpelier, Ohio, and was in high school until the senior year. His father had come out to Kansas in April, 1889, and the son followed him, arriving at Arkansas City June 15th of that year. Since then practically his entire time and attention have been devoted to the grocery business. For a time he was bookkeeper, worked as clerk, and had mustered every detail of both the wholesale and retail departments. It was in 1902 that he engaged in business for himself as partner with Otis Moore. That firm continued until 1909, when Mr. Allen established a store on his own account at 107 North Summit Street. In order to accommodate his growing patronage he moved his store to 101 South Summit Street in 1916. The business had enjoyed a steady growth, and without question is one of the best stocked and best equipped stores of the kind in Southern Kansas.
Through his close attention to business Mr. Allen had prospered in a material way, and besides his residence at 812 North Summit Street he owned a dwelling house at 312 on the same street, a dwelling and two lots at 401 South Fifth Street, and some lots in the Enterprise Addition to Arkansas City.
Politically he is a democrat. For the past seven years he had spent much time in his efforts as a member of the school board, of which he is vice president. He is a member and trustee of the Baptist Church, and is affiliated with Canal City Lodge No. 352, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; with the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Court of Honor and the Anti-Horse Thief Association. He is also a working member in the Commercial Club.
Mr. Allen was married at Arkansas City, December 25, 1900, to Miss Gertrude B. Woods, a native of Tipton County, Indiana, and a daughter of William and Mattie (Boone) Woods. Her parents reside at Arkansas City, her father being a shoemaker. Mr. and Mrs. Allen have four children: Lillian B., born August 5, 1902; Doris, born October 21, 1906; Herbert Woods, born July 7, 1910; and Helen, born May 28, 1915.