Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Montressor Tyler Allen (1844-1897)


    A prominent 19th century resident of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Montressor Tyler Allen was born in that same county on May 20, 1844, being the son of George Washington and Mary Tyler Allen. Sources give varying accounts as to his actual birth year (1842, 1843, 1844 or 1845) but most periodicals of the day give the correct year as 1844. He would receive his education at the Warren Academy and also underwent private tutoring. Allen graduated from the Warren Academy and for a time "engaged in mercantile work in Woburn."
   At age 20 Montressor Allen enlisted as a private in the 5th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War, and after returning home from service began pursuing a degree in law. He married in 1865 to Ms. Julia Frances Peaslee and the couple remained childless through the entirety of their near three decades of marriage. In the mid 1870s Allen resumed his law studies when enrolled in the prestigious Boston University Law School, graduating from that institution in 1878.
   After being admitted to the bar in 1879 Allen established his law practice in Boston. In 1887 he won election to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives (representing Middlesex County) and served in the session of 1888-89. During his term Allen chaired the house Committee on Railroads and also held a seats on the joint committee on expenditures and the committee on finance.


                                                     Montressor Allen during his later years.


   Following his service in the legislature Allen returned to his native town of Woburn, Massachusetts, later serving stints as city solicitor and registrar of voters. In 1895 he was elected as the Mayor of Woburn, serving one term in that office. In addition to being a public official, Allen was also a member of the Mt. Horeb Masonic Lodge in Woburn and is listed by his obituary as having owned a substantial amount of real-estate throughout the Woburn vacinity.
   Sources mentioning Montressor T. Allen make light of him as one of Woburn's favorite sons, with the Boston Daily Globe noting that he "has for years been sought in a social way, in particular for his peculiar aptness in address. He was a wit and storyteller with hardly a peer; was eloquent and impressive in all that he undertook."
   In 1897 Allen's health began to rapidly fail and in the month preceding his demise was sent to a Boston sanitarium to be cared for by physicians. His stay in the sanitarium lasted two weeks, and he was eventually brought home to Woburn, where he died on December 24, 1897 at age 53. His obituary (posted below) lists his cause of death as organic disease of the heart, and he was survived by his wife, mother and siblings. It is presumed that he was buried somewhere in the Woburn vicinity, but an exact burial location is unknown at the time of this writing. The rare portrait of Allen shown at the top of this article here appeared in the 1890 work One of A Thousand, a biographical and portrait resource of prominent Massachusetts citizens.


Montressor Allen's obituary from  the Boston Daily Globe, December 24, 1897.

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