Hon. James M. Allen, one of the prominent citizens of the county, was born September 25, 1822, at Allen’s Ferry on Caney Fork, seven miles from Smithville, the county seat of Dekalb County, Tenn. He is the youngest of eleven children born to Jesse and Nancy (Walker) Allen, both of whom were natives of Virginia. The father settled in what is now Dekalb County in 1801, being one of the oldest settlers. He died in 1857, and the mother in 1840. Both were members of the Baptist Church.
Our subject was reared on the farm and became interested in agriculture. His education was acquired in the country schools and at the Fulton Academy in Smithville, his present home. He studied law, and in 1876 was licensed to practice. His public services began as a constable in the Ninth District of his native county, which position he held for twelve years. He was justice of the peace for twenty-two years, was engaged in the mercantile business in Smithville for five years, and also served as deputy sheriff. In 1884 he was elected to the State Legislature. The term was so satisfactory to his constituents that he was re-elected in 1886.
October 22, 1846, he wedded Elizabeth M., daughter of Spencer and Araminta (Eddings) Talley, of Statesville, Wilson Co., Tenn., who was born January 2, 1830. To this union ten children were born, two of whom died in infancy. The others: Emma (born in August, 1850, Married A. T. Phillips, and died in April, 1878), Ada (born in 1853, married J. A. Marks, and died in August, 1878), Nancy W. (born in 1856, Married W. D. Carnes, and now resides in Texas), Elizabeth J. (born in 1858, is the Wife of W. B. Carnes, a resident of Trousdale County, Tenn.), James M. (born in 1862 and died in 1881), Jesse T. (born in 1865), William G. (born in 1868), John S. (born in 1872).
The mother was a consistent member of the Christian Church, and died in September 1886. Our subject is also connected with the same church, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He is a Democrat, and one of the county’s most enterprising and worthy citizens.