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Returning to Chicago on Christ- State had expected to receive their mas day of 1835, they secured quar- pay in gold or silver, and all their ters at one of the village hotels and calculations and expenditures had remained there during the following been based upon this expectation. winter. In the spring of 1836 they The failure of the State to meet its went to Joliet, then a promising town, obligations involved mai.y of the where they determined to locate and contractors in bankruptcy, and engage in business. With the small Thomas and Bennett Allen means which they were able to com- among those who found themselves mand they opened a general store, struggling under a load of indebtedand fortune favored them to such an ness, which they were a long time extent that they soon built up a pros- getting rid of. perous and renumerative trade. When A keen sense of honor impelled work was commenced on the Illinois them to continue the struggle, until & Michigan Canal, the Allen all these creditors had been fully brothers were among those who satisfied, and the last dollar of their thought they saw opportunities for indebtedness had been paid. Thomas realizing handsome profits from aid- Allen then returned to Chicago, while ing in the construction of the pro- his partner joined their brother, Judposed public works, and they accord- son Allen, in St. Louis, where he ingly contracted to construct two spent the remaining years of his life. sections of the canal, on which much When he found himself again in Chiheavy rock work had to be done. The cago, Mr. Allen, being entirely withlabor which they contracted to per- out means and hence unable to begin form was not completed, but their business on his own account, enterexpectations as to profits would have ed the service of H. O. Stone & Co., been fully realized, had they been with whom he remained in the capacompensated for the work done ac- city of an employe about two years. cording to contract.

He was employed about the same As is well known, however, the length of time, or perhaps a year State of Illinois defaulted in its pay- longer, in another one of the pioneer ments in this instance, and canal con- mercantile establishments of the tractors were finally compelled to ac- city, which he left to enter the service cept in full settlement of their claims, of the Galena & Chicago Union Railwhat was known as the canal scrip, road Company, when the first line of worth at the time of its issue and ac- railway west of the lakes was opened ceptance from twenty to thirty cents for business. When the first passen. on the dollar of its face value. In ger train ever run out of Chicago, accordance with the provisions of went out over this line, Mr. Allan had their contracts, these creditors of the charge of the train as conductor, and for several years thereafter he was in years was hardly less perplexing than the employ of the railway company those of his pioneer days in Illinois; in the same capacity.

but success finally crowned his perAt a later date he engaged in the sistent and determined efforts, alreal estate business, in which he though it is possible that his accuoperated so successfully that he had mulations have not reached the value accumulated a fortune of more than of his possessions prior to the fire. a quarter of a million dollars, when The year after the fire he removed the fire of 1871 swept over the city from Chicago to the suburban village and destroyed all of his income-pro- of Glencoe, where he built up a fine ducing property.

country home, in which he has lived At that time he had just completed the greater part of his time since that his arrangements for retiring from date. business, and was making prepara- Mr. Allen was married in 1839 to tions for a trip abroad. His house- Miss Hannah W. Wilmot, of Unahold furniture had been stored in one dilla, Otsego county, New York place and his library and paintings in State. But two of their five children another, and Mr. Allen was living lived beyond the infantile period. with his family at the Allen House, a Two sons grew to manhood, the elder hotel of which he was the owner. of whom died several years since,and When the great conflagration had the younger two years ago. completed its ravages, his books and The only political offices Mr. Allen paintings constituted the sum total of has ever held were those of alderhis possessions, other than the lots man in Chicago, and deputy postcovered with smoking debris, upon master in Harpersville, New York, in which had stood a few days before, 1835, the latter during the second adbusiness blocks and other buildings, ministration of General Andrew yielding an income which amounted Jackson, as President of the United to a snug fortune each year.

States. His affiliations were with the This unfortunate turn of affairs Democratic party up

to the disarranged all the plans which he period, since which time he has been had made for travel, and the enjoy- a member of the Republican party. ment of luxurious ease, and set him He was brought up an Episcopalto work planning to save as much as ian, and has been identified with that possible out of the wreck of his for- church since his early manhood. tune. The struggle of the next few



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