Permelia “Milly” Loving Allen, a pioneering woman

The Allens 1840

I wouldn’t call this is my “favorite” female Ancestor but she certainly is one of the most interesting ones. She led a fascinating life, especially for a woman living in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Permelia is my Maternal 4th Great Grandmother.

Permelia was born in 1774 in Wilkes, North Carolina, the youngest of 14 children.  She married Thomas J. Allen on October 1, 1796, at the age of 19. After her husband served in the War of 1812 they moved their family of 10 children to what is now Cole County Missouri Territory. At this time it was a wild, untamed place. By 1819 they had acquired 620 acres of land and began to farm.

Upon her husband’s death in 1843 Permelia became the sole heir of all his properties and possessions. Once the will was finalized some 4 years later, Permelia sold all the land and with 8 of her children and their families and other related families moved from Missouri to what is called “Peters Colony” in Tarrant County Texas. According to the History of Tarrant County “The group of settlers from Missouri was led by a widow Permelia Allen”. Permelia was 73 years old at this time. She was a woman of great strength, resolve, and courage.

She received 640 acres of Peters Colony land and settled near what’s now Roanoke and Keller.  Permelia Allen is one of only a few women shown on Tarrant County tax assessment lists in the 1850s. In a letter written by a Grandson of Permelia he described the land this way  “Here we found the country which had been most wonderfully blessed by the great Architect of Nature, a soil as rich as the craving of man could wish for, and timber, water, and grass in an abundance, and sufficient evidence of the sunshine and the showers, besides the woodlands were lined with wild deer and turkey, and fine herds of antelope on the prairies the year round, the buffalo was there during the winter season.  The only serious question was where our bread would come from until virgin soil could be prepared and made to supply our wants. Here was the most wonderful and beautiful sight our eyes had ever be held.  Here we could view the beauties and grandeur of nature before they were be spoiled by the woodman’s ax or the surface of the earth was furrowed by the plow or by the surging of waters.”

She was instrumental in the building of the Mount Gilead Baptist Church. The church built its first place of worship in March or April of 1851. There were eight charter members listed: John A. Freeman, Daniel Barcroft, Ireneus Neace and wife, Lucinda Allen Neace, PERMELIA ALLEN, Abby Dunham, and two slaves, Ambrose and Caroline Collard. The first deacons were Brother John A. Freeman, and Brother Daniel Barcroft, the former was the first pastor of the church. He served until March 1857 when he moved to California.

This remarkable woman witnessed the Revolutionary War and the Civil War “she saw the depredations upon her people by Tarleton and his men…One of her uncle’s, named Sisk, was killed at the battle of King’s Mountain. Another uncle, Col. Lindsey, had one of his hands cut off in a fight with Tarleton’s troops. She saw the republic of America firmly established, and lived to see the same country convulsed with one of the greatest civil wars of modern times, and she died in 1866 at the ripe age of 92 years”. She moved not once but twice to unsettled territories and built a home and life there. She raised 10 children and watched over her family with love.

12 thoughts on “Permelia “Milly” Loving Allen, a pioneering woman

  1. Great story about a wonderful female ancestor. It is nice to find a woman in the history books in her own right. Wouldn’t you love to sit down with her and ask about her adventures?

      1. Thanks for the story. Permelia was my 4th paternal great grandmother. I guess that makes us related in some way 🙂

      2. Patricia, I believe that would make us cousins. What is your line going back to Permelia? Mine is Permelia -Sarah Myra Allen – Lucy Reavis – John Henry McGowan – Ella McGowan -Emmajane Smith – Me.


      3. Hi, I just found this,
        I would be curious to know you are related to Emmajane Smith, My grandpa was Raymond Smith, his mother was Ella ..
        Christina Smith Pogue

  2. Valerie, how exciting that I found your blog today. I am working on documenting a DAR application for Richard Allen and wanted to send my brother some information on Permelia (wife of Thomas J. Allen). Your recent posting was perfect.
    Then I found your blog. You say your line is Permelia – Sarah – Lucy. I am also related through Sarah Myra; her son James J. Reavis.
    I am missing Lucy from my family tree. I show the following children of Sarah and David Reavis: Abigail Matilda, Ruth Emily, Nancy E., Thomas Newton, James J., Permelia Louise, David A., William C., Mary Ann, John Granville, Amanda Catherine. What is Lucy’s birthdate and birth order.
    So good to find you. Dorothy Reed Pace, Okatie, SC

    1. Dorothy,

      It is always great to “meet” a cousin. Lucy was born in 1836 in Cole, Missouri, United States. She was the 6th child born. She married James D McGowan.

      Could you give me James’ information? I do not have his.

      If you would like to keep in touch and compare notes feel free to email me at


  3. That gives 12 children born to David and Sarah Myra: the first 7 born in Bedford County, TN (1820 Abigail; 1821 Ruth; 1827 Nancy; 1828 Thomas; 1830 James; 1832 Permelia L.; 1834 David.
    Then in Cole County, MO 1836 Lucy; 1838 William; 1840 Mary Ann; 1843 John G.; March 1849 Amanda.
    The father David Reavis died in 1849.
    So looks like family moved from Bedford county, TN about 1835. Do you have any documentation about the move or about David?
    About my James J. he married Fannie M. Coker probably about 1852. 6 children first being William W. in 1853. My relation is through daughter Margaret Paralee 1865-1910; who married James Adams Phariss;
    their daughter Rosa Bell Phariss (1885-1918) who married Walter D. Bagley;
    their daughter Juanita L. Bagley 1913-2001
    I am the daughter of Juanita.

  4. Valerie,

    I enjoyed your blog on Permelia Loving Allen. I share her as an ancestor as well. My line is through my father’s side. His mother was Lillie Mae Drake (married Buford Eugene Polley Sr.), Lillie Mae’s father was David Iranius Drake. David I Drake’s mother was Marcelia Geneveria Fishback and her mother was Mahulda Ann Neace who was the daughter of Iraneous Ranes Neace and Lucinda Allen. Lucinda was the daughter of Permelia Loving Allen and husband, Thomas J. Allen.

    The photo you have included may be related Mary Jackson who married Freeman Fishback. They were the parents of George Washington Fishback who died in 1864 in Texas while serving in the Confederate Army. His wife was Mahulda Ann Neace, and their daughter Marcelia Geneveria Fishback. Mahulda was the granddaughter of Permelia Loving Allen. Another cousin who inherited her mother’s genealogy projects has this photo and it includes another woman in it and they may be in mourning. I’d be happy to share the complete photo and you can see what you make of it. It’s unlikely that this is Permelia Loving Allen because it appears to be a Civil War Era photo (?) and Permelia would have been in her 80s by then. It is possible that it is Mary Jackson Fishback (b 1798) and her daughter, Ann Fishback, who married Ephraim Holdstock. Ann’s husband died between 1850 and 1860, and her brother, George W. Fishback, died in March of 1864.

    I’m curious what you make of all of this. I’d love to hear from you.


    1. This makes us distant cousins! I would love to see the photos that you have. I can probably make a better determination that way. Thank you for all the information you gave. I am anxious to see if I have this also or if I now have more of mt tree to fill in. Thank you so much. If you like you can send the photo to my email valeriehughesauthor@gmail.
      I look forward to hearing from you.

  5. Permelia Loving Allen is also my maternal 4th great-grandmother. My line is Permelia Loving Allen, Nancy Allen Brown, Sarah Brown Clapp, Permelia Clapp Dunwoody, Leonard Allen Dunwoody, Iva Jean Dunwoody Rothwell. Thank you to all who have shared information. I’ll be checking to see if my records reflect the same. I’m willing to share with others, too.

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