Allison, Thomas Gillespie (1816–1898)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: March 24, 2008

Updated: October 17, 2014

Thomas Gillespie Allison, surveyor, trader, farmer, county official, and state representative, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, on September 8, 1816, the son of John Allison and Naomi (Gillespie) Allison. Allison was raised in Tennessee and received an education in mathematics, Latin, and Greek. As a young man he worked as a surveyor. In the early 1840s Allison emigrated from Tennessee into the Indian territories to work as a trader. In 1844 he married Rachel Caroline Thompson, a half-Cherokee. This couple immigrated to Texas shortly afterward, settling in Panola County. Allison's wife died a few days after delivering their only child, a son, in the spring of 1845. Allison himself engaged as a farmer—with the assistance of the four slaves that he owned—and in 1848 served as a postmaster. Allison remarried around 1850 to Mary Elizabeth Thompson. This couple had two sons and one daughter. Allison continued to prosper throughout the 1850s, serving as county judge in 1854 and by 1860 expanding his estate to include personal and real estate property totaling $8,500. His second wife having died in 1858, Allison married Elizabeth Caroline Shaw on October 23, 1860. This couple had two sons and one daughter. Allison returned to public service in the 1870s, winning election as representative for District Five, comprising Panola and Rusk counties, to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature in 1873. He attended the Constitutional Convention of 1875 as a delegate for Panola County. Allison remarried a final time in 1875 to Sarah Martha Hoyle Williams. This couple had one son. Allison died in Panola County on October 18, 1898, and was buried there at Williams Cemetery near the community of Fair Play.

Leila B. LaGrone, ed., A History of Panola County, Texas, 1819–1978 (Carthage, Texas: Panola County Historical Association, 1979). Frances T. Ingmire, Panola County, Texas Marriage Records, 1846–1889 (St. Louis: Frances T. Ingmire, 1981). Oma D. Phillips, Panola County, Texas, 1860 Census (Lamesa, Texas: Oma D. Phillips, (n.d.)). J. B. Sanders, 1850 Census, Panola County, Texas (Center, Texas: Sanders, 1966).

  • Thirteenth Legislature (1873)
  • House

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Allison, Thomas Gillespie,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 24, 2008
October 17, 2014