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John Willis Allen 1887 - 1969

Teacher - Author - Folklorist - Served in WWI

Married 1922 in Murphysboro, Illinois to Johanna Ruppel 1896 - 1978

2 children - Betty & Robert

(The information below is from the jacket of his book submitted by Sylvetta Parsons)






John W. Allen

HERE IS A WELCOME addition to the collection of stories and folkways about Soutrhern Illinois found in John Allen's Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois. From books, diaries, old letters, legal records, and from personal observations and experience, Mr. Allen has written and compiled this grouping of articles which originally appeared in his weekly newspaper column, "It Happened in Southern Illinois."

Included here are sketches of the early pioneering days, when wolves were literally chased from the door, stories about the many Indian artifacts discovered among the rolling hills and valleys of the area, and articles pertaining to the historic strategic role of this region played during the Civil War. Here are glimpses into the past activities of such infamous outlaws as Samuel Mason and the Harpe brothers---who found the area's caves and rivers an attractive location for outlawry---as well as the famous Illinois-born heroes, "Bat" Masterson, "Wild Bill" Hickok, and Wyatt Earp.

This book can well serve as a reference guide for touring some of the landmarks of historical interest and natural beauty found in abundance in Southern Illinois. Suggested tours are outlined to such places as Gorham, Grand Tower, Cairo, Shawneetown, Pounds Hollow, and to many a roadside marker and old cemetery along the way.

From his vantage point of eighty years, John Allen reminisces about the self-sufficient and satisfying rural life of a generation ago with its ox carts, pie suppers, threshing machines, kerosene lamps, and blacksmith shops. As he says, "Many of these objects, practices, and beliefs passed so quietly and naturally that their departure was unnoted. One day we simply looked and they were not here."

Within this compilation of articles about Southern Illinois are stories about an area and sketches about the customs of an era, both told in the warm, friendly style of John Allen.

BORN IN AN ILLINOIS log cabin on October 14, 1887, John Allen grew up as a country boy in Hamilton and Saline counties. After graduating from the eight grade at Hardscrabble School in Saline County, he passed a teachers examination and began his long association with the teaching profession, for twenty-seven years a teacher and administrator in Southern Illinois public schools. For sixteen years he was Historical Director of the University Museum at Southern Illinois University.

From 1953 to 1967, John Allen wrote a weekly series of articles about Southern Illinois that was circulated by more than three hundred newspapers. For the wealth of knowledge which he shared about the regional history of Southern Illinois, John Allen was honored by the National Society for the Advancement of State and Local History, the Southern Illinois Historical Society, the Illinois State Historical Society, and Southern Illinois Incorporated. He was president of the Southern Illinois Folklore Society and the Illinois State Historical Society. He was awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, by McKendree College, the Alumni Achievement Award by the Southern Illinois University Alumni Association, and the Distinguished Service Award by Southern Illinois University.

The popular appeal of John Allen's stories about his favorite region is evidenced by four printings of his first volume, Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois, first published in 1963.



Carbondale, Illinois

Trip Down Memory Lane To Broughton - By John W. Allen