|Mrs. Mahala Orange Allen was the daughter of Frank and Martha McGee
Orange and the granddaughter of Yebby
Orange, an early Smith County Settler near the present day Gordonsville Exit of I-40. “Miss Mahala,” as she was
affectionately called, was married to James Burton Allen July 4, 1892. Burton was the son of Joseph Allen and the
grandson of Daniel Allen. They lived in the Bluff Creek area between Carthage and Gordonsville.
Children born to this couple were: Willie Richard Allen (1894 - 1959); Clarence Allen (died as a small child); Luther
Stanton Allen (1897); Mattie Orange Allen (1900); Julia Mai Allen (1903 - 1968); Ellis Howard “Jack” Allen
Burton passed away with typhoid in 1908 leaving “Miss Mahala” a widow before she was 36 years of age, with five
children, the oldest being just past thirteen (13). The small farm was not paid in full. There was no welfare in those
days, but Mrs. Allen managed with the efforts of her children. Two of her brothers in California sent money to finish
paying out the farm. The two older boys began farming, but Willie married young and Luther took over responsibility of
the family. He later went to California to work on the ranch of Smith Countians, sending money back to his mother and
the other children. The mother and daughters raised chickens and geese. They sold their poultry, feathers, picked
berries, and their vegetables.
Once, before Willie married, the mother heard what she thought was varmint in the chickens, and she got the gun for
Willie to shoot and scare away the animals in the chickens. Someone shot back, which indicated the roost was being
“Miss Mahala” was loved by all her children. Luther and “Jack” liver with their mother as long as she lived and cared for
her. Each year on the Sunday nearest the 14th of October the children would have a gathering to celebrate the
mother’s birthday. The picture accompanying this sketch is of the family gathered at the home of Mattie and her
husband Ed Garland (E.G.) Thompson, located on Hwy. 70 East in South Carthage. The year was 1933 and “Miss
Mahala’s” sixty-first birthday.