Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Elyria’s Grandma Allen – Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of the article which appeared in the Lorain Times-Herald on October 23, 1905 about Maria Allen of Elyria. At that time, she was the oldest woman in Ohio at 105 years old.


Elyria, Oct. 23 – (Staff Special) – On her twenty-second birthday she was married to Thomas J. Allen, a blacksmith of Pompton, and on her thirty-first birthday Mr. and Mrs. Allen and five children, all boys, began their journey to Ohio in a canvas top wagon. In just one month from the time they left their home in New Jersey they arrived at Bucyrus, Crawford county, this state. A great section of Ohio was then unsettled and some portions of it was a wilderness. After a brief residence in Bucyrus she moved to this city, and has since resided here.

Mrs. Allen is the mother of seven children, all of whom are dead save a daughter, Mrs. M.A. Butterfield, of Elyria. She has five grandsons, one granddaughter and twelve great grandchildren. Notwithstanding her advanced age she is quite supple. During warm weather she walks through the yard with the aid of her cane for exercise, but during winter she rarely, if ever, leaves the house. She possesses splendid hearing, had splendid eyesight, weighs about 120 pounds and is exceeding fond of company.

She says life to her is as dear as ever and attributes her long life to the fact that she has worked moderately and lived on plain diet.

Mrs. Allen has lived under the administration of twenty-three presidents and recollects the inauguration of reach from President Monroe down. With many thrilling events of the early days and the advent of the railroad, the steamboat and the sending of the first message, “What had God Wrought,” by Thomas Morse, from Washington to Baltimore.

When she located in Elyria this town consisted of only a few houses. Lorain was not yet born. Withal many of the other towns in Ohio which now have a population of several thousand.

“Grandma Allen,” as she is called by all who know her, is a very cheerful old lady, and is beloved by all. Surrounded by her daughter, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends she takes great delight in relating stories of those strenuous times of the days agone.

As it turns out, Grandma Allen was featured in several newspapers across the country, beginning in her early nineties as a result of her work as a member of the W. R. C., and being its oldest member.

The Saturday Evening Mail of Terre Haute, Indiana did a story on her in November 1895 as she celebrated her ninety-fourth birthday. It included a nice quote from her in response to the reporter asking if she hoped to reach the century mark. She answered, "I hope not. There is such a thing as living too long. I have enjoyed life and have no fault to find. 

"What marvelous changes I have seen in my time! People live better now than they used to in the alleged good old times and have vastly more comforts.”

Grandma Allen was also featured prominently in the October 19, 1901 Chronicle-Telegram on the eve of her 100th birthday, in which she was described as hale and hearty."

Grandma Allen passed away on April 12, 1906. Click here to visit her page on the Find a Grave Memorial website.

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