Charles H. Allen, a well-known farmer of Mercer and the owner of a saw and grist mill in this locality, was born March 5, 1838, in Bloomfield, now Skowhegan. A son of Harper Allen, he is a descendant of a pioneer family of this section of Maine. His grandparents, Ebenezer and Hannah (Bowman) Allen, removed from Massachusetts to Somerset County at an early period of its settlement; and, taking up a tract of wild land in the town of Fairfield, cleared and improved a farm, on which they spent the remainder of their lives.
Harper Allen was born, reared, and educated in Fairfield. While a young man he became interested in agricultural pursuits, and chose farming as the most independent method of obtaining a livelihood. After his marriage he bought land in Skowhegan, and was there engaged in his chosen occupation until his demise in June, 1867. He married Jane Lander, who was born and spent the first eleven years of her life in Lewiston, Maine. From there she went with her father, the late Robinson Lander, to Skowhegan, which was afterward the home of her parents as long as they lived. She survived her husband, dying in 1881. They had eight children, as follows: Henry, who died in childhood; Obed, who died young; Joseph, who lived but twenty years; Freeman, who went to Australia when nineteen years old, and died soon after his arrival there; Francis, who also went to Australia when young, is married and prosperously engaged in raising sheep; Charles H., the subject of this sketch; Philander, who died in infancy; and Rachel Jane, who lives in the village of Skowhegan.
Charles H. Allen received a good common-school education. In his early life he taught school for several terms in Somerset County. He has always been interested in educational matters, doing whatever he can to advance the cause and watching with pleasure the progress made in the methods of imparting instruction to the young. Among interesting relics preserved by him are some of the old school books used ninety years ago by his father-in-law, Josiah Hinkley, a well-educated man for his time. After the death of his father Mr. Allen assumed the management of the parental homestead. He bought another farm in Skowhegan, not far from the place of his birth, and was there engaged in farming until May 1, 1867. Coming then to Mercer, he settled on his present farm, known as the old Hinkley homestead, and on which Mrs. Allen was born and reared. He has now three hundred and thirty acres of highly improved land in this estate, and also owns one hundred acres in Rome township, Kennebec County. Some years ago Mr. Allen bought a saw-mill and a grist-mill in the village of Mercer; and he operated both until recently, when he relegated their management to his sons, who are in a great measure relieving him from the cares and responsibility of active work.
On September 29, 1864, Mr. Allen married Ellen Sabra Hinkley, who was born February 15, 1842, on the present homestead, daughter of Josiah and Abigail (Bosworth) Hinkley, both lifelong residents of Mercer. Mrs. Allen, who was a most estimable woman and an active member of the Mercer Baptist Church, died March 14, 1893, leaving four children, of whom the following is the record: Charles Kelsey, born August 28, 1865. has charge of the saw-mill in Mercer village, where he married Miss Carrie Le Baron; Ellen F., born March 26, 1868. is the wife of W. I. Walker, a miller and farmer in Starks township; Calvin H., born July 4, 1873, is now in Boston in a wholesale leather store; and Carrie Sabra, born February 23, 1880, is attending school in Skowhegan. Mr. Allen is an uncompromising Republican in his politics, and has served his fellow-townsmen in many capacities. For fourteen years he was a member of the Board of Selectmen, being the chairman of that body for twelve consecutive years. He has also been Township Clerk, and he represented his district in the State legislature at Augusta for one term. In the legislature he spoke very effectively on some of the more important questions brought up that session.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.