El Dorado County








            Perhaps no state of the Union has been more richly endowed by nature than California, with its vast mineral and agricultural resources, from which spring the other great branch of activity, commerce.  Its orchards furnish pasturage for flocks, and its mines yield the greater part of the precious metal that forms the standard of our currency and is in use as a medium of trade throughout the country; but nature merely provides the material for the workman, and it remains to man to develop its resources and adapt them to his own use.  Actively interested in the mining region of El Dorado County is John P. Allen, one of the early and well known settlers of this portion of the state and now residing in Cedar Ravine, a short distance from Placerville, where he has valuable mining interests.

            Mr. Allen was born in Fairfield, Maine, on the 22nd of February, 1826, and from Scotland to New England came his ancestors at an early period in the development of that portion of our country.  Holoway Allen, the father of our subject, was born in Maine and there married Miss Hannah Spaulding.  They became the parents of six children, and the father died at the age of seventy-four, while the mother reached the very advanced age of ninety-nine years.  She was a member of the Society of Friends.  Mr. Allen of this sketch was reared on the farm of an uncle until his nineteenth year and then served an apprenticeship at the ship-joiners trade.  In 1858 he sailed on the Star of the West for California, and on reaching the Pacific Ocean took passage on the John L. Stephens, landing at San Francisco the 17th of October of that year.  He worked for a month at his trade in that city, but he had been attacked by the gold fever and in consequence started for the mines, going by steam to Sacramento, whence he proceeded on foot to his destination, carrying his blankets upon his back.  For three years he engaged in placer mining near Newtown, meeting with moderate success, after which he came to his present location in El Dorado County.  With two partners he engaged in mining on Spanish Hill, where they continued their efforts for six months, without result.  Forming another partnership, Mr. Allen put a tunnel in the hill and the property then yielded to them a good return.  Subsequently he sold his property there and in the winter of 1861 purchased a claim in Cedar Ravine.  Here he has since prospered, and mine yielding a good percentage of gold.  In 1862 he built a pleasant and comfortable residence on the banks of the ravine, so that he is pleasantly located near his business.  The hillside shows the marks of his industrious hand.  He has vigorously prosecuted his work and he is accounted one of the leading representatives of mining interests in this locality.

            In 1849 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Allen and Miss Crispianna Young, a native of Bath, Maine.  Two children were born to them in the Pine Tree state, and in 1862 the mother and children joined Mr. Allen in his new home in California.  The younger daughter, Kate, married a Mr. Hart, and the elder daughter, Mary Ann became the wife of G. W. Van Vleck and passed away leaving three sons.  Her husband is still living in California.  After arriving in this state Mr. and Mrs. Allen became the parents of two daughters and two sons:  George W.; Drucilla, the wife of George Bertshi; Frederick, who is associated with his father in the breeding of Belgian hares; and Mildred C., who is assistant chief operator in the Sunset Telephone Company in Sacramento.

            In 1851 Mr. Allen took the initiatory degree in the Masonic fraternity, joining Solar Lodge, No. 14, at Bath, Maine; and on the 26th of June, of the same year, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.  He is also a Royal Arch Mason, joining Montgomery Chapter at Bath, Maine, on the 8th of April, 1857.  He afterward took a demit from Solar Lodge, No. 14, and now affiliates with Palmyra Lodge, No. 151, at Placerville, California.

            Mr. Allen has been a life-long Republican, but has never sought or desired the honors of emoluments of public office.  His pleasant, genial manner wins him friends wherever he goes, haughtiness and ostentation forming no part of his composition.  Although well advanced in years, he is still quite vigorous.  He is a typical representative of the age in which he lives and of the state which is his home, and truly his life may be termed as a success, for the principles for which he has lived he has seen adopted and honored, a success which is above that of the millionaire.




Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 376-377. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.



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