Thursday, March 24, 2011

Clifford Gilmore Allen, b abt 1870, possibly Centerville, Maine - his 1881 autograph

Page, unfortunately faint, in the autograph book of cousin Bernice E. Allen of Centerville signed by Clifford Gilmore Allen of Centerville, Maine.

From online research, hopefully correct:

Clifford Gilmore Allen was born about 1870, possibly at Centerville, Maine, the son of Edward Foster Allen and his wife Eunice E. Norton.  

Clifford's father Edward Foster Allen was born 14 March 1825 at Centerville, Maine.  On 10 July 1864, at the age of 40, when he had six children, he enlisted as a private in Company F of the Maine 20th Infantry Regiment.  He mustered out on July 16, 1865.  He had two more children after the war.  Clifford was the last of his children.

Clifford Gilmore Allen's paternal grandparents were Henry and Leah (Jacobs) Allen, both born, I believe, in Centerville, Maine.

Clifford's mother, Eunice E. Norton, was born 18 September 1828 at Addison, Maine.  Her parents were Enoch Norton and Phebe (Norton) Norton, both born in 1796.   Her two grandfathers, Seth Norton and Abraham Abraham of Addison, Maine, were brothers, sons of Seth and Amy Daggett (Norton) Norton.

Clifford Gilmore Allen made his way from the small village of Centerville, Maine, to Boston University, where he graduated about 1900.  He subsequently moved west where he became a professor of languages and philology at Leland Stanford Jr. University, now known simply as Stanford.  In the 1910 Census of Palo Alto, California, he listed his occupation as professor.  He wrote books on language and philology.

In 1913 he married Alice J. Chalfant, who was born 18 June 1884 at Ukiah, California, the daughter of Samuel Jesse Chalfant and his wife Elizabeth W. Cunningham.   I don't have information on her grandparents except that her maternal grandmother's first name was Mary.

Samuel Jesse Chalfant moved from his birth state of Maryland to California.  In the 1870 Census of Big River, Mendocino County, he gave his occupation as saw filer.  In the 1880 Census of Little River, Mendocino County, he gave his occupation as superintendent of a mill.  In 1884, applied for a patent on a Saw Tooth Swage.

Also in 1884, his daughter Alice was born, and he built a house for his family in Mendocino, a house that still stands today, at 45080 Calpella Street.

Clifford Gilmore Allen and his wife Alice J. (Chalfant) had two sons, John Gilmore Allen and Robert Chalfant Allen.   

John Gilmore Allen was born in France on 9 December 1913.  He majored in political science at Stanford.  He died in the 1980s in California.  

Robert Chalfant Allen was born 19 November 1918 in California.  He also attended Stanford University.  After graduation, he joined the US Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade.  Sadly, he went down with his ship in World War II.

As I was researching this family, about which I knew nothing when I started, I experienced the highs and lows of genealogy.   First, the high, when learning that a young man from a small village in Maine grew up to receive a doctorate, become an author and Stanford professor.  Kudos to him, his parents and his village teachers.  

Then, the low, when I discovered that his younger son died in World War II.

For more information on this family, see the page of Clifford Gilmore Allen at the Maine and Maritime Genealogy network.

If you have any corrections, additions or insights regarding any of the information presented here, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

A map of Mendocino County, California:


  1. Pam, thank you for posting this. It's very tantalizing. I'm trying to put together the family of Barnabas Allen, a Sandemanian follower who was married to Lydia Woodland in Boston about 1767 by Robert Sandeman. I have no firm proof, but I believe Barnabas had a son named Robert, probably named for Robert Sandeman. This man was Robert Allen, a merchant, who worked in Boston in 1814, and may have lived in Roxbury, Mass. Barnabas died intestate in Taunton, Mass. Administration papers were signed by Lydia Allen and by Edward Foster Allen a gaoler, who was possibly named for another Boston Sandemanian, Edward Foster :). A Coffin family with a Loyalist background was also in Boston at the same time. Barnabas' brother, Ebenezer Allen left Boston for Nova Scotia with the evacuation of the British on 17 March 1776. Is it just me? I see smoking guns all over the place. All these names echo through this Allen branch you've researched. Also, Barnabas' brother, Dr. Micah Allen died in Saco county, Maine about 1812 and has numerous descendants in that state. Is it possible that Robert Allen b. 1772 could have been born in Boston, or is Maine definite? Actually, I have very few ideas where Barnabas was living between his marriage and death dates. It was so hard to be a Sandemanian (Loyalist) during the revolutionary years. All I can say for sure is that this is the best possibility I've come across. Thanks for taking the time to research and post it all. Thanks, Susan--possible descendant of Robert Allen's Aunt Curtis of Danbury, CT.

    1. Wow - fascinating! Off to learn more about Sandemanianism... Many Loyalists who went to the Maritimes came back to the US after the Revolution, some soon after, some later on - have several in my family who returned to Maine. Good luck with your research. You're probably already familiar with the resources at New England Historic Genealogical Soc but one of their staff told me that the majority of their holdings has not yet been digitized - especially the Canadian things. Requires a trip in person.

    2. Pam, thanks. I didn't know that about the NEHGS.

  2. Pam--hi again! Now that I've already posted that information, I realize that Barnabas had two brothers, Silas and Simeon, who were also Sandemanian loyalists who apparently left Massachusetts. Robert Allen could have been the son of any of them. Thankfully, Ebenezer Allen's family of Preston and Dartmouth, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is fairly well-documented. This family liked to name their children after one another's children, so similar given names might be found for descendants of all the brothers. But it looks like Barnabas was the only one of those Sandemanian brothers to return to the United States. (Dr. Micah Allen served as a surgeon in the Continental army).

  3. Aw, now that I've looked into it further, it looks like I'm wrong about the origins of this family. This was so exciting--thanks for posting it. Maybe one day something you've posted will turn out to connect after all. Thanks! Susan

  4. It happens - but hopefully even research into the wrong people teaches us along the way.

  5. John Gilmore Allen was our neighbor at Fallen Leaf Lake, and my brother and I used to play with his daughters, Susan, Carol and I cannot recall the youngest). This was between 1945 and the 1950s (and later). John was a CPA residing in the city of San Mateo, San Mateo County, CA. I remember him as very robust (this in his 30s); he was famous for running (hiking) all over the Desolation Valley Wilderness, and had constructed a camp site at the north end of Lake Aloha. In about 1940-41, he married Miss Miriam Turner who had also grown up as a young lass at Fallen Leaf Lake in the summer; her parents had a cabin rather near the Allen cabin on the Stanford Hill. I am reluctant to get into more detail because this very nice family is not related to me.