Ancestors, Legends & Time

Main Street was originally named Allen Street because of this man

Jeanne Newby

Charles C. Allen… a special person in the history of the area, was in the political campaign of 1876 (the same year Webb City was founded), which will live in history as one of the most exciting and momentous elections on record. Allen, being the candidate on the Republican ticket for the second highest office in the State of Missouri, running for the office of Lieutenant-Governor made his mark in local history.

Mr. Allen was born August 1832 in Orleans County, in the State of New York. One branch of the family from which he is descended was connected with the old Dutch families of New York. His father, Benjamin Allen, was a lawyer of the town of Sandy Creek, Orleans County, New York, and died when his son was but 3 years of age. Two years later, Charles’ mother moved to settle in Stephenson County, in northern Illinois. There, Charles C. Allen spent his early childhood. That part of Illinois was at that time very thinly settled, and Mr. Allen was a pupil in the first schoolhouse ever erected in Freeport. He had, however, no superior educational advantages. In all, he only attend school about three years. Of that, 18 months were spent at an academy at Mt. Morris, Ill., where he went in the year 1850, at the age of 18.

He had learned the printing business at Freeport, and while yet under age he established a newspaper at Savannah, Ill., called the Savannah Register, of which he remained in charge about a year. He left Savannah to take control of the Dixon Transcript, at Dixon, Ill. In 1857, having succeeded in disposing of this paper, he moved to Iowa and went to farming at Waverly, in which pursuit he was occupied till the breaking out of the war of the rebellion.

In 1861, he enlisted in the Third Missouri Regiment Infantry, was connected with other regiments, and finally commissioned as captain of the 35th Missouri. He was major in the Missouri State Militia. He served in Missouri and Arkansas, was employed on staff and bureau duty, and most of the time acted as provost marshal in St. Louis. In the year 1864,  C.C. Allen was discharged from the army by reason of disability.

Establishing himself in the hardware business at Waverly, after his return from the army, he remained there until 1866, when he moved to Boonville, and again commenced farming, at which he was not that successful.

In the year 1869, he became a resident of Carthage and undertook the lumber business. While living in Jasper County he has been closely identified with its interests and became one of its foremost enterprising and progressive businessmen. He was the originator of the Carthage Foundry, which owed its success mainly to his enterprise and energy. His establishment, of which he was president, was the first of the kind started in southwest Missouri, west of Springfield, and contributed to the growth and prosperity of Carthage.

Previous to the war, Allen voted with the Democratic party. After the war, he became a Republican and acted with that organization. In the year 1870, he was elected to the State Senate from the 16th Senatorial District. In the Senate, he assumed a position as one of the leading spirits and representative men of that body. He was known as an effective orator, was always at his post, attentive to local and state interests, and watched with careful eye and keen perceptive faculties every movement on the political chessboard. He was chairman of the Penitentiary Committee and served his district and the state with honor. The service record he set in the Legislature made him widely known throughout the state, and on the assembling of the Republican state convention in the summer of 1876 his name was vigorously urged as a candidate for lieutenant governor. He was nominated on the first ballot and almost without opposition. His election was not expected. To overcome the heavy Democratic majority was more than could be hoped for, but with Mr. Finkelburg, the candidate for governor, he made a flattering canvass of the state. He has been a member of the city council of Carthage, in whose welfare and prosperity he has taken a deep interest.

He was married in 1854, at Asbury, Ill., to Harriet E. Bates. He was a member of the Masons, headed the Exploration Party for the Carthage Cave, prepared legislative papers for incorporation of Carthage on March 7, 1873, and was a mining landowner in Carterville.

In 1882, Col. C. C. Allen, of Carthage, offered a handsome gold medal to be contested for by the young men of southwest Missouri. The first contest was, from a literary standpoint, a complete success, as it brought to Carthage a number of young men who were the best debaters of their respective towns. A. L. Sherman, a law student in the office of L. P. Cunningham at Joplin, won the medal at the first contest. In 1884, the medal was again contested, but in 1885, on account of the lack of interest, the offer was withdrawn

The question has often been asked about the naming a busy street Allen Street in Webb City. There have been a few citizens in the history of Webb City who would have fit the definition of being honorable enough to have a street named in their honor. But after quite a bit of research, Charles C. Allen seems to step ahead of the others, as he kept himself involved in the happenings and the history making of Webb City. Being a friend of John C. Webb and having an interest in mining along side Webb, Allen placed himself in line for the honor of having a street named Allen Street. Alas, in the year 1921, Webb City officials made the decision to change the name of Allen Street to Main Street. Webb City’s Main Street became Broadway Street.  Allen Street was no longer in existence, and the fame of C.C. Allen went by the wayside.

Jeanne’s new book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri” is now available at Webb City Chamber office and other local retailers, such as Maggie Jane’s Gifts, at 8 S. Main St.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.

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