Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thomas Allen

From: "Rebecca Smith" rsmith45@nycap.rr.com

My name is Rebecca Smith and I am president of the Pittsfield MA historical commission and a board member of the Berkshire Historical Society.  

As I am certain you know, Thomas Allen … of the Central Pacific Railroad [sic] ... was the grandson of Pittsfield’s first pastor, Thomas Allen, known as the famous "fighting parson" as he kept a musket under the alter at the congregational church in our historic Park Square during the Revolutionary War.   His grandson Thomas headed west to St. Louis, owned a granite quarry, became a state senator and then retired back in Pittsfield where he donated the city’s first library, the arch at the Pittsfield Cemetery and other philanthropic works.   

His son, William Russell Allen, built a grand mansion in the center of town.  When he died, the house was willed to St. Luke’s Hospital ... then acquired by the state of Massachusetts and now lies boarded up.  Thomas’s gravesite is marked by a fabulous piece of Missouri polished granite.  It took a special rail car to bring it to the city … dragged 1,000 feet per day through town to the cemetery … famous event for the city.  

Our two historical groups, working with the city and the state, are intending to restore the house and open it as a museum of the guilded age.   Our society is based at Arrowhead … Melville’s home, where he wrote Moby Dick ... but we have extensive collections which cannot be displayed until we find another museum.  

I own the mansion built by Thomas Allen’s childhood friend, Thaddeus Clapp.   Thaddeus and the Rev. Todd of the Pittsfield both attended the ceremony.  

We would very much like to work with your museum in commemorating the railroad as there is such a connection.  I don’t even know the approach yet, but would greatly appreciate any thought.   What information, memorabilia, etc., do you have on Thomas Allen? ... photographs?  

Again, we would appreciate any ideas or information ...  

—Rebecca Smith  

The Thaddeus Clapp House
... an elegant bed & breakfast in the Berkshires
74 Wendell Avenue
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Phone Toll Free: 1.888.499.6840

7 Comments:

Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

It appears that Thomas Allen was president of the the Pacific Railroad Company, incorporated January 31, 1850, which ultimately became the Missouri Pacific Railroad that reached Kansas City in October, 1865. He was present on July 1, 1851 at the St. Louis celebration of the start of construction of that railroad.

The "Pacific Railroad Company" that became the Missouri Pacific Railroad is not the Central Pacific Railroad. We are not aware of Thomas Allen being involved with the CPRR, although as you note, Rev. Dr. John Todd gave the Dedicatory Prayer and Thaddeus Clapp was also present at the May 10, 1869 ceremony joining the rails of the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah.

12/13/2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Rebecca Smith" rsmith45@nycap.rr.com

... I will work with the local history room staff at our athenaeum (which by the way Thomas Allen donated the original one ... you can see a photo on my web site ... it's now the registry of deeds and probate court ... the new one was built in 1971) during our research on the "gilded age" and the restoration of the William Russell House. ...

We had assumed the attendance of Rev. Todd [and] Thaddeus Clapp had to do with their relationship with Thomas Allen. Rev. Todd was head of the church first headed by Allen's grandfather. The Clapps and the Allens were friends.

We're going to be doing a lot of research on the family and their activities. Also, we'll be researching the genealogy of the family. So far we have found a link between the Rev. Allen and the Beecher family (Henry Ward Beecher and his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe). ...

—Rebecca Smith

12/14/2005 7:35 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

clifton history said...

Russell-Allen Family Papers

1/11/2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Rebecca Smith" rsmith45@nycap.rr.com

Thank you so much for the update. I'll pass it on to all involved. As I had told you, we are greatly interested in restoring the William Russell Allen house here in Pittsfield, MA. The Allens are very important in the history of the city going back to pre-Revolutionary War days. We'd all appreciate keeping us aware of anything you find.

—Rebecca Smith

1/12/2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Amantha said...

I am a descendant of Thomas Allen and would appreciate any information that I can get. My mother now in her seventies remembers things that her mother told and remembers her grandmother Nella Allen, which is a nick name. My Mother's mother would now be over 100 years old. Thanks in advance for any help with the matter, Amantha

2/02/2009 7:05 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Perhaps you would like to interview your mother about what her mother told her about Thomas Allen and post her recollections here.

2/02/2009 7:57 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Thomas W. Allen" tallen@northbaymgt.com
Subject: Thomas Allen Descendants

Amantha,

Please contact me as I am also a Thomas Allen descendant and do have some info about his life. Would love to share information.

—Tom

2/03/2009 3:27 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Recent Messages