IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Oley Allen

Oley Allen, who with his brother, Albert, a sketch of whose life appears in another portion of this work, was born near McGregor, Clayton county, November 28, 1865. He is a son of Hans Allen and Anna (Olson) Allen. Hans Allen accompanied his parents to America as a boy of sixteen years, the voyage consuming over five months, which, in this day of six-day steamers, helps us to realize the difficulties and hardships they endured to make living easier for their descendants. They came direct to Iowa via rail as far as Galena, Illinois, the end of the railroad in the west, thence up the Mississippi to McGregor's landing, where his father took up a government claim of 160 acres about six miles from what is now the town of McGregor. Hans Allen assisted his father in reclaiming the land and later he took up a claim on his own account near his father's land and reclaimed it, and having improved it, sold it at a considerable profit, afterward returning to the home farm, which he continued to work until his father's death, at which time he bought the other heirs' interests and continued on the domain until his death, in the year 1896. In 1864 occurred the marriage of Hans Allen and Anna Olson, whose parents were also pioneers of Clayton county, coming to Iowa in the early '60's. There were born to them 12 children, Oley, Carrie, Anna, Albert, Mary, Christine, Andrew, Lemuel, Helma, John, Esther and Katherine. They are all living with the exception of Anna, who passed to the other life in 1904. Oley Allen had his early education in the Mendon district school, walking over two miles in winter, often when the thermometer was thirty degrees below zero. Later a new school was built in Clayton township, nearer his home, which he attended until he was nearly twenty years of age. It is interesting to note that in the early days of Clayton county the boys and girls could only attend the winter term of school, being too busy helping their parents during the summer season. After leaving school, in conjunction with his brother, Albert, they entered business life by operating a drilling outfit, and also owned three threshing machines, which they ran during the harvest season and they also owned and operated a sawmill near McGregor. In 1903, the brothers disposed of their interests in these outfits and Oley Allen came to Elkader, Iowa, being preceded by his brother Albert, who arrived in Elkader in 1902. They started a machine repairing shop, making repairs on all kinds of machinery and coming into contact with the majority of the farmers in Clayton county. They gradually drifted into the automobile business, beginning by making repairs on the single cylinder machines, which were practically the only ones on the market; later they took the agency of the Oldsmobile car, and in 1907, accepted the agency of the Reo car; also, in the spring of 1910, they secured the agency for the Buick automobile. Their business grew so rapidly that they were forced to build to meet its requirements and erected a two-story structure with a floor space of about 18,000 feet and in 1916 put in a sprinkler system which was the first one installed in Clayton county. They are the largest automobile dealers in Clayton county and, on the Buick machines, do the largest business of any county agency in the Chicago territory. On Dec. 20th, 1895, Oley Allen was united in marriage with Emma Hulverson, a daughter of Gustav and Gertrude (Peterson) Hulverson, both of whom were pioneers of Clayton county and to them were born two children, William, age 18, and Ruth, 16 years of age. Mr. Allen is a member of the Modern Woodmen and of the Odd Fellows lodges, and both he and his wife are members of the Lutheran church.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; pg. 20-21
-submitted by S. Ferrall


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