Henry Tureman Allen, the commanding general of the Ninetieth (Texas-Oklahoma) National Army Division in World War I, was born at Sharpsburg, Kentucky, on April 13, 1859, to Ruben Sanford and Susannah (Shumate) Allen. He attended Georgetown College in Kentucky and was commissioned in the cavalry upon his graduation from West Point in 1882. He and his wife, Jennie Dora (Johnston), had three children. Henry, Jr., served as his father's aide in the war.
Between 1882 and 1917 Allen was an aide to Gen. Nelson A. Miles, taught at West Point, served as attaché to Russia and Germany, fought in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection, organized the Philippine Constabulary, served on the general staff, and accompanied John J. Pershing's expedition into Mexico in 1916. He was promoted to brigadier general in May 1917 and to major general on August 5.
Allen assumed command of Camp Travis, in San Antonio, on August 23, 1917, and supervised the assignment of Texas and Oklahoma draftees to the new Ninetieth Division. Despite several problems, training proceeded at a relatively rapid rate. Allen was absent for about three months, beginning late in November 1917, on an official visit to the western front. Although General Pershing usually favored younger combat commanders, Allen was found acceptable for overseas duty and led the Ninetieth to France. The division underwent additional training at Aignay-le-Duc, entered the line in August 1918, participated in the St. Mihiel operation in September, and was advancing in the Meuse-Argonne on November 11. The Ninetieth was rated by Pershing's headquarters as one of the top six divisions in the American Expeditionary Forces, and its operations were subsequently studied by the AEF General Staff College and the General Service Schools at Fort Leavenworth. While in France Allen conceived the T-O design of the Ninetieth's insignia. Nevertheless, the T-O Division remained to some the Alamo Division, a designation Allen had rejected at Camp Travis.
On November 24, 1918, Allen left the Ninetieth while it was attached to the Seventh Corps, to become commander of the Eighth Corps. From July 1919 until shortly before his retirement in 1923 he commanded the American forces in Germany. During his career he received several decorations and wrote many articles and books, including My Rhineland Journal and The Rhineland Occupation. He died at Buena Vista Springs, Pennsylvania, on August 30, 1930.
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Dictionary of American Biography. George Wythe, A History of the 90th Division (New York: 90th Division Association, 1920).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Lonnie J. White,
“Allen, Henry Tureman,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 29, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1994