John Ethan Allen 1875 - 1932

Links for Ethan Allen


Ethan was born 29 March 1875 in Willard Utah to Marshall Franklin Allen and Emma Holmes.

Emma Holmes and Marshall Franklin Allen

Ethan was the 5th of 10 children. There is no direct record of Ethan's childhood or teenage years. From a history of Ethan's father we get the following information:

    Marshal Franklin Allen purchased a farm in Willard, Box Elder County and moved the family there in the 1865-66 time frame. Ethan was born on this farm in 1875.
    "In those early days of the west, times were hard and it took the effort and labors of each member of the family that was old enough to work to sustain a livlihood for such a large family. There was very little education for the children. Their sons spent many long summer days herding cows on the hillside, and on many occasions at such times visiting with Indians as they would pass by. Many of the family meals consisted of cracked corn meal mush or sometimes corn meal bread with molasses. For amusement and recreation, the boys would play marbles, go swimming in the cold springs or the Great Salt Lake. In the winter time skating was the chief sport."
    In 1884 when Ethan was 9 years old, his father sold the farm in Willard and moved to Paradise, Cache, Utah, where he purchased another small farm. About three years after the family moved to the farm in Paradise, Ethan's mother passed away. Ethan was 12 years old when his mother died.

Ethan 1880 Census ( Entire page )

From his personal history, written I believe by his daughter-in-law Isolene Tolman Allen:

    "His mother died while he was young and he spent most of his time working as a ranch hand until he was married"

Ethan was married to Margrethe Christine Teslie December 28, 1893 in Logan, Utah by William Goodwin. He was 18 years old and she was 19. They lived in Paradise, Utah. In the Allen Family LDS Family and Individual Record Book. (pg 25), Margrethe later wrote that Ethan was 6 feet tall and weighed 165 lbs. with gray eyes and black hair.

Margrethe and Ethan (age 18) Wedding Picture

Margrethe Teslie & Ethan Allen Marriage record ( source )

Ethan Allen
(believed to be in his late teens or early 20's)

In the picture above Ethan is believed to be in his late teens or early 20's. In the picture below Ethan is in the middle back. It is not known who else is in the picture or the exact year it was taken.

Ethan Allen, middle back row

From his personal history after his marriage:

    "then he worked as (a) foreman or rancher"

Margrethe and Ethan had 3 children born to them before 1900.

Below is a receipt for a "2nd Hand Wagon" that Ethan purchased in 1896. It is my guess that he worked as a farmer or perhaps as a rancher after his marriage to Margrethe.

"2nd Hand Wagon" purchase receipt

March 27, 1900, Ethan was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and ordained an Elder by Gideon E Olsen. The next day, 28 March 1900, he received his initiatory and endowments and was then sealed to his wife Margrethe in the Logan Temple, Logan Utah.

Ethan 1900 Census ( Entire page )

Below are a several poll tax receipts for 1902, 1907 and 1910. The 1902 receipt is for Castle Rock, Summit county, Utah, while the other two are for Paradise, Utah. I have no idea why the 1902 is for Castle Rock. Summit county is the county just south of Cache county where Paradise is. Note that two of them are paid off by labor. The poll tax in Utah was used to build and help maintain the road system. Note that they were signed either by a "road supervisor" or a "street supervisor".

Poll tax receipts

Margrethe and Ethan had 4 more children born to them between 1900 and 1910 while they lived in Paradise.

In the USA, $1 in 1913 = $24 in 2015 based on the US Department of Labor's (USDL) Consumer Price Index (CPI). I used the CPI (inflation calculator) to figure out 2015 costs which I have listed in parenthesis next to the original cost like this: $1 (2015: $24). The USDL began keeping the CPI in 1913.

In 1904 Ethan and Margrethe purchased 2.5 acres of land in Paradise from Margrethe's mother Anna Larsen and step-father Samuel Holbrook for the sum of $250 (2105:$6,000). The land was lots 1 and 8, Plot 2, Platt B, of Paradise townsite, Cache County Utah. The two lots are adjacent to each other and totaled about 2.5 acres. The lots are on the corner of 9200 South and 2nd East in Paradise, Utah. Here is a link to the warranty deed. The first tax receipt is from 1905 (you can see all the tax receipts for this property at this link. The 1905 receipt lists the value of the property as $465 (2015: ~$11,000) with a tax assessment of $10.93 (2015: ~$260). In 1906 they took out a mortgage on the land for the sum of $75 (2015: ~$1800). The mortgage was to an Alfred Picot. The mortgage was dated 20, November 1906 and the interest rate was 12%. It was witnessed on 7 January, 1907 and was notarized 16 April 1907. The mortgage is marked as "Paid". I have no information about a house on the property. Today the corner lot (lot 1) is empty and lot 8 has a house on it which is a newer house and is certainly not the house they lived in.

Selma, the only girl, died in 1909 at age 6. "Selma died when she was six of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. She had heavy thick hair that she wore in braids. When they were getting ready to wash her hair one time they discovered a wood tick had bitten her at the back of her head and was hidden by hair. The tick had been there long enough to be swollen with her blood to the size of a nickel. Lots of sagebrush in the area and the tick had come from the sage (Source: Darlene Allen's personal history, pg. 12)."

Ethan 1910 Census ( Entire page )

From his personal history:

    "He came to Blackfoot in the spring of 1911 from Paradise Utah"

In the spring of 1911, Ethan and Margrethe moved to a 40 acre farm in Wapello, Idaho, which is 7 miles north of the town of Blackfoot. There was a house on the property made from hewn timbers. It was two stories with two rooms upstairs. Even after moving to Wapello the ties to Paradise remained close, however, as Anna Larsen, Margrethe's mother lived there, along with some of Ethan's family. Additionally Ethan and Margrethe still owned the land in Paradise.

The family in front of the original house probably early spring 1911
Margrethe (age 36) on the far right, Ethan Sr. in the middle in the back
The boys from left to right: Ethan Jr., , Erwin (in front of the wagon), Alfred, Clyde (in the wagon) and Dolph. Donald asleep in the house.

In June, 1911, Alfred the 2nd oldest child died of complications from Rheumatic fever. He died in Paradise, Utah. The photo above would had to have been taken before May 1911 as Alfred, who was quite ill with Rheumatic fever, was (back?) in Paradise as early as May 1911 (based on postcards that were sent to him that I have in my possesion).

There is no tax receipt for the Wapello farm for 1911. The Wapello farm tax receipt for 1912 lists personal property of 1 cow worth $30 (2015: $720), 2 work horses worth $100 (2015: $2,400) each, 1 wagon worth $40 (2015: $961) and harnesses worth $15 (2015: $360). No acreage is listed.

Sometime in the spring before April 1913 Ethan and Margrethe sold their property in Paradise to Ethan's sister, Belva Allen and her husband James Housely for $650 (2015: $15,615). The warranty deed for the sale is recorded on April 4, 1913.

From his personal history:

    "He moved to Idaho with his family. For several years he worked and was an overseer on road construction, then settled down on a farm in Wapello where he farmed until his death."

It is unclear to me if he actually worked in Idaho before 1911 on the road construction or if that was during the first couple years that they were on the farm in Wapello. They didn't actually buy the farm until 1913 as described below. Because they were in Paradise, Utah at the 1910 census I tend to believe that it was during 1911 and 1912 that Ethan worked as a overseer on the road construction. He then "settled down" and begin farming in 1913 when they purchased the farm. There are some pictures further down below that could possibly be from this time showing Ethan with a work crew and with horses.

On April 5, 1913 Ethan and Margrethe signed a mortgage to buy the farm in Wapello from John C. Millick . This mortgage was for $1,742.50 (2015: $41,800), due five years from the purchase date with an interest rate of 10%. The tax receipt for 1913 lists 36 acres of "range". The tax receipt for 1914 lists 36 acres of "range", personal property of 1 cow, 3 horses and 6 hogs (worth $6 each).

The Wapello ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was created by a split from the Kimball ward in 1909. Sometime not to long after Ethan and Margrethe arrived, in 1911, a church was finished in Wapello for the members of the Wapello Ward. It was equipped with gas lighting and in 1912 a leak or an open jet resulted in the building being destroyed by fire. Lavern Merkley narrowly escaped death when he walked in and lit a match. The building was replaced in 1914 with a $5,000 (2105: $120,174) building. The general church treasury furnished half of the money and the community the rest. Each boy over fourteen gave $5 (2015: $120) and each one over eighteen gave $10 (2015: $240). Adults were assessed from $25 (2015: $600) to $80 (2015: 1900) each and many of them donated labor besides. It is likely that Ethan and Margaret contributed to the church building fund. You can read a short history of Wapello here (pdf).

Wapello building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1914

Ethan and Margaret took out loans called "Chattel Mortgages" against one horse for $75 in 1914 (2015: $1,795), against two horses for $200 in 1914 (2015: $4,759) and in 1915 for $150 (2015: $3,534) for two horses. Since the last two loans were in the spring my assumption is they were for money to plant crops. It is interesting to look at the descriptions of the horses on these loans.

Ethan Allen (on wagon on right) date and place unknown

In November, 1916, Ethan, the oldest boy died from heart problems caused by Rheumatic fever. He died in Logan, Utah.

On September 17, 1918 Ethan registered with the WWI draft. From his registration card we learn that he was 43 years old at the time, he was a self employed farmer living at Route #3, Blackfoot Idaho. His race was White, and he was a native born U.S. Citizen. He was of medium height and medium build with gray eyes and gray hair.

Ethan 1920 Census ( Entire page )

In 1920 Ethan and Margrethe purchased a phonograph for $300 (2015: $2403). This phonograph is in the Allen family today.

Ethan and Margrethe, probably in the 1920's

On April 8, 1924 Dolph passed away at Wapello of "leakage of the heart" caused by Rheumatic fever. He was buried in Paradise, Utah. Here is a document showing some of the funeral costs.

On February 12, 1925 Ethan received his patriarchal blessing from Orson H Hickenlooper.

Ethan Allen (on left) with sons Clyde (in car) and Donald, 1925

Ethan Allen, 1920s

Sometime in the 1920's, Ethan and his sons Erwin and Donny went to work for the railroad doing the grade for the tracks from Idaho into Montana. They had their own team of horses. Listen to the audio as Dean Allen, a grandson (Erwin's son) describes them working for the railroad and how Erwin became a "blacksmith". Dean refers to them using a "slip bottom scraper". It is otherwise called a "slip scraper" or "drag scraper". You can see a description of a slip scraper at this link. Here is a video of a animal drawn slip scraper in action. In the pictures below, Ethan is working it appears to be on a canal with a team and a slip scraper the same as while they working on the railroad as described by Dean. Or it is possible that these are from an earlier time around 1911 when he was the overseer on a road construction.

Ethan Allen, back row, 3rd from right

Ethan Allen, to the right of the rear of the white horse with his characteristic hat (see the previous photo)

Note in the above picture it appears that each man had a team of horses pulling a slip scrapper. You can see the top of a slip scraper behind the team with the white horse. This would have been long tedious work as each slip scraper would hold about the equivalent of a large wheel barrow full of dirt.

Ethan Allen (on right) with son Donald, late 1920's

The Farm

Ethan farmed potatoes and sugar beets and raised hay. As an example in 1926 Ethan contracted to deliver 10 acres of sugar beets to the Utah-Idaho Sugar company. Below is a picture that is labeled as Ethan hauling a wagon load of sugar beets. Its possible it was his son Erwin (Win) in the picture. It is a color photograph and I'm not sure any color photos were taken by 1931 out on the farm. It is certainly Ethan's body type and is the type of hat that he was wearing in all the other pictures.

Ethan Allen Hauling Beets

Ethan purchased equipment from the Blackfoot Potato and Fruit Growers Association (middle receipt) in 1921 and in 1916 Ethan purchased a separator (top receipt) from the A L Brewer Dairy Supply Company. He made 10 payments of $5 for it. Not sure if there was a down payment of any amount. Tax receipts show that there was 1 cow on the farm from 1912 - 15, 2 cows from 1915 - 1925, 3 cows from 1926 - 1931. In 1929 Ethan purchased a plow for $89 (2015: $1,270) and in 1930 a harrow (2nd page) for $34 (2015: $480).

Irrigation for the farm included assessments from three companies. The Blackfoot Irrigation Company, the West Branch Canal Company and the Center Branch Ditch Company. In the front of his 1977 journal is a note by Ethan's son Erwin which indicates that the irrigation water for the farm is from a decree July 10, 1889 from the Blackfoot Irrigation company. Receipts from the Blackfoot Irrigation Company show the cost for the irrigation water varied: $1.25 in 1913, $3 in 1914, $10 in 1917, $7 in 1926, $8 in 1931. There were several special assessments including for a bond to create a sinking fund for storage in the American Falls reservoir in 1925 of $33 (the American Falls dam was started in 1925 and finished in 1927). The West Branch Canal Company receipts show assessments ranging from $2 in 1913, to $6 in 1931. The Center Branch Ditch Company receipts show assessments ranging from $6.35 in 1913 to $18.75 in 1931.

Ethan Allen Haying

Ethan 1930 Census ( Entire page )

Ethan Allen on left with Margrethe and Isolene on right, summer 1931

In August of 1831 Ethan became ill. Margrethe in her diary on January 26, 1932 says "Ethan quite sick. Sent for Dr. Beck. Sead he had Ulcer of stomack....he were not feeling very good all fall but both me and he to thought it were indigestion". On January 30th the doctor came again and on February 1st Margrethe says "we are so bewilderd we don't know what to think". On February 5 they took Ethan to the hospital where Margrethe says "Dr Hamtan helping. they sead he had a cancer of the stomack. oh its sure awful". Darlene Allen (Ethan's granddaughter), in her personal history wrote: "When he (Ethan) realized there wasn’t any hope he quit eating and starved to death". Ethan passed away at 12:15 AM on 15 February 1932 at the farm in Wapello, Idaho.

Ethan Allen Death Certificate

Dr Beck signed Ethan's death certificate (see above). In it he states that the he attended Ethan from Feb 1 until his death and that the principal cause of death was "Cancer of Rectum" or in other words colon cancer. You can read more about Ethan's last days in Margrethe's diary. Ethan was buried 20 February in the Paradise cemetery in Paradise, Utah.

Erwin Allen's Gravestone