Biography of Howard Vernon Allen

Member of an old and distinguished Rhode Island family, which has been prominent in the life of this State in every generation, Howard V. Allen inherits many of the characteristic traits of his ancestors, and through his career has shed new luster on an ancient name. As banker and business executive at East Greenwich, he is very well known in the commercial life of the State.

Mr. Allen is a direct descendant of William Allen, founder of the family in America, from whom the line runs through John, Thomas, Thomas (2), Judge John Allen, and Thomas Gould Allen, great-grandfather of Howard V. Allen of this record.

Thomas Gould Allen, son of Judge John Allen, was born on September 1, 1778, at North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He was a leader in the community life and enjoyed the respect and esteem of all his fellow-citizens. He married Mary Hill, and they were the parents of nine children, of whom the sixth child and first son was Daniel Gould.

He was born on December 28, 1810, at Kingstown, and died there on January 16, 1895, when over eighty-four years of age. As a boy he attended the local schools, and in 1831 went to Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he was prepared for college. In 1833 he entered Wesleyan College, where he took the scientific course and was graduated with the class of 1839. These and the other details concerning the Allen family are well known in Rhode Island and have previously been recorded in standard histories of the State. Daniel Gould Allen had already determined upon teaching as a career, and having completed his preparation for that important calling returned to Rhode Island, where he purchased the old Kent Academy and opened a school. This institution under his able guidance, grew in popularity and soon became one of the high ranking preparatory schools of the State. For two years Mr. Allen devoted himself with tireless energy to the upbuilding of the school, and in 1841 sold it to the Providence conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1843 he was appointed its principal and continued to act in that capacity during that and the following year. Upon the close of the school session in 1844, however, he retired from this profession and came to live on his farm at Kingstown, near East Greenwich, where he built the handsome old residence which still stands there. Mr. Allen was greatly interested in local history, and in the latter years of his life he devoted much time to the writing of the “History of Quidnesset Country.” Joining the Republican party upon its organization, he was active in party councils in the State and held a number of important public offices, including the positions, president of the town schools, moderator at town meetings, president of the Town Council, justice of the peace, and, in 1850, a member of the Rhode Island State Legislature. He married, on November 26, 1840, Amanda Waterman Allen, daughter of Colonel Ray Green Allen. On November 26, 1890, they celebrated their fifty golden years of happy life together, amidst the congratulations and best wishes of their friends. Mr. Allen died on January 16, 1895, and his wife in September, 1904. They were the parents of six children of whom Charles Henry, father of Howard Vernon of this record, was the second.

Charles Henry Allen was born on July 1, 1844, at East Greenwich, Rhode Island. His education was obtained at the local public schools, and at Kent Academy, East Greenwich, of which his father had been the principal. Upon reaching the age of twenty-one, he went to Providence, where he secured employment in the works of the Gorham Company with the intent of learning the silversmith’s trade, but three years later he became associated with Brown and Sharpe, manufacturers of sewing machines, with whom he remained for some years. Later he spent a period of ten years in association with his uncle, Thomas Gould Allen, engaged in the grain, coal, and lumber business at East Greenwich, Rhode Island. After two final years with Brown and Sharpe, he retired from active business life and took up his residence on the home farm, selling this property in September, 1918, and removing to East Greenwich. He was long an active member of several organizations, including the Rhode Island Chapter of the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. On November 13, 1877, Charles Henry Allen married Nellie Louise Clapp, of Pomfret, Connecticut, and they were the parents of one child, Howard Vernon Allen, whose name heads this review.

Following his preliminary education and the completion of the commercial course at the East Greenwich Academy, Howard Vernon Allen began the business of life in the employ of the Commercial National Bank of Providence. This was in 1893, and the first position which he held was that of clerk. He was strongly determined to succeed, however, and his industry won him advancement to higher positions in the organization. Gradually his ability became recognized, and in 1900, when the Manufacturers’ Trust Company bought out the East Greenwich National Bank, with the East Greenwich Institution for Savings, and opened the East Greenwich branch of the Manufacturers’ Trust Company, Mr. Allen was offered and accepted the position of assistant manager. For a period of eight years he occupied this office with efficiency and success, and in 1908 he became manager, when the Union Trust Company succeeded the Manufacturers’ Trust Company in the control of the banking business of this section. This connection has since been continued, and in the guidance of his institution Mr. Allen has achieved a record of genuine distinction. He is widely recognized as one of the most able men in Rhode Island financial circles.

In addition to his other interests, Mr. Allen has entered the real estate field, and is a member of the firm known as the Howard Vernon Allen Estate Agency, dealers in real estate. He is a member of the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, and has served as president of that body, while since November, 1912, he has served continuously as treasurer of the town of Warwick. He is a Republican in his political convictions, a member and past president of the Rhode Island Society, Sons of the American Revolution, president of the Visiting Nurses Anti-Tubercular Society of East Greenwich, major of the Varnum Continentals, a patriotic military organization of the place, and captain of the 16th Company of the Rhode Island State Guard. He is also chairman of Rhode Island Conference of Business Associations, and lieutenant-colonel, on retired list, 243d Coast Artillery of Rhode Island Guard. Mr. Allen has taken a very active and energetic part in worthy civic movements, and in all organized enterprises during the World War for the support of the American cause. He acted as chairman in the Red Cross organization and United War Work Campaign, and as vice-chairman of the Warwick district in the Liberty Loan drives, contributing generously of his time and substance in all their work. Mr. Allen is affiliated fraternally with the Free and Accepted Masons, and in this order is a member and Past Master of King Solomon Lodge, No. 11. He is a member and vestryman of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of East Greenwich.

On December 16, 1903, Howard Vernon Allen married Alice Whitford Butts, of Providence, a daughter of George F. Butts of this city. They are the parents of two children:

  1. Vernon Sterns, born on March 16, 1906.
  2. Kenneth Gould, born on October 18, 1912.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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