Allen, Martin (1780–1837)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

Martin Allen, early settler and a member of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born in Kentucky in what is now Newport on November 28, 1780, son of Benjamin Allen. He married Elizabeth Vice in Campbell County, Kentucky, on September 24, 1804; the couple had ten children. By 1810 he, his wife, and three children were living in Old Attakapas District, Louisiana, and in 1811 he was appointed justice of the peace in Opelousas Parish, Louisiana. In 1812 Allen, his father, a brother Hiram, and a nephew joined the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition in an unsuccessful effort to wrest Texas from Spain. Allen's father, brother, and nephew were killed at the battle of Medina the following year, but Allen, who was in Louisiana on a recruiting mission, survived. By 1817 he and his family were living in Arkansas Territory. A year or two later he settled at Flat Lick in northwest Louisiana. He was living in Allen's Settlement, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, in 1821, when be joined Stephen F. Austin. By December 22, 1821, Allen was building a cabin and planting a garden on the Colorado River. When he returned to the United States for his wife and eight children, he found his wife too ill to move. He wrote Austin in March 1822 indicating his intention to return to Texas and asking approval of his land title. He was given title to a sitio of land now in Wharton County in July 1824. When his wife's illness continued, Allen sent his two oldest sons to Texas by November 1824 to plant a crop. Sometime after May 12, 1825, and before the census of March 1826, Allen arrived in Texas with his wife and seven children. In April and May 1826 he was in a volunteer company fighting the Tonkawa Indians. He was living in Mina Municipality in January 1827, when he signed resolutions of loyalty to Mexico and opposition to the Fredonian Rebellion. The ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin made Allen a road supervisor in February 1830 and in April 1830 granted him the right to operate a ferry across Buffalo Bayou opposite Harrisburg. Allen was fifth regidor and a member of the ayuntamiento in February 1832; in June 1832 he signed the call for the Convention of 1832. In December 1837 the Congress elected him associate land commissioner for Austin County. He died at his home, Eight Mile Point, on December 20, 1837, and was buried in the Allen-Johnston family cemetery. James B. and Elizabeth Allen, his administrators, were ordered by the probate court of Austin County to sell his residence and perishable goods. In 1993 a Texas historical marker in Allen's memory was erected in Austin County.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828–1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21–24 (January 1918-October 1920). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Telegraph and Texas Register, December 16, 1837, July 21, 1838, July 8, 1840. Texas Gazette, September 25, 1830. Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Allen, Martin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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