On The Life Of T. M. Allen
the early days of the Restoration Movement many espoused the cause
of the New Testament church from all ranks of life. There were those
who were in poverty, yet honest and sincere, who took up the cause
and proclaimed the gospel successfully to those in that rank of
life; again, many among the wealthy were found who were willing to
sacrifice and help proclaim "the ancient order of the gospel."
Thomas M. Allen came from among the prominent and wealthy.
was born in Shenandoah County, Virginia, on the Shenandoah River,
October 21, 1797. Little is known of his parents; neither do we find
any record about his education. However, his after life shows that
he was a well educated man. His parents were Presbyterians, and he
espoused the cause of the Presbyterian Church early in life. When he
was a young man, he happened to an accident while riding horseback
which left him a crippled arm and hand for life. In company with a
young lady on a short journey, a storm suddenly arose, and they took
shelter under a tree. Lightning struck a tree near the two and
shattered the tree, killing the young lady instantly and killing the
horse on which young Allen was riding. He studied law and moved from
Virginia to Kentucky, intending to practice his chosen profession.
For some reason he first located in Indiana and opened an office and
began the practice of law. Later he came to Kentucky. Soon after he
came to Kentucky he became interested in the subject of religion. He
had served in the War of 1812 and had lost his youthful interest in
the subject of religion. He heard Barton W.
Stone preach, and he became interested at once. He was baptized
in May, 1823, by Barton W. Stone. He at once began to speak publicly
on the subject of religion. At that time those who had left the
Presbyterian Church and were preaching independently were called
was associated in his early days as a preacher with Barton W. Stone,
F. R. Palmer, and Joel H. Haden. These had not come into the
fullness of the knowledge of simple gospel truth, but were still
confused with different phases of denominationalism. However, it was
not long until they emerged from the fog and confusion of
denominational error and came into the fullness of gospel light.
Thomas M. Allen preached the gospel in his own county and adjoining
counties. He preached much in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and
established many congregations in that county. He wrote in his
journal at the close of the year 1827 the following: "During the
year 1827 I married eight couples; baptized fifty-one persons;
planted two churches—one at Antioch, Bourbon County, and the other
at Cynthiana, Harrison County, both having increased considerably
and at this time are in a very flourishing condition." In 1830 he
says: "I attended the Baptist Association at Silas on the fifteenth
of August and saw the association exert their lawless and
unauthorized power over all usage, constitution, precedent, or rule
in the exclusion of Brethren J. Creath, Sr.,
and J. Creath, Jr., and the churches to which they respectfully
belong, simply because of their opposition to all human creeds and
their views on gospel liberty. The conduct of the orthodox part of
this association convinced me that they were actuated by the same
spirit that in former days planted the stake and lighted the fagot."
He heard Alexander Campbell preach on
November 15, 1830, for the first time. He continued his labors with
abundant success as an evangelist in Kentucky. He established
churches at Paris. Clintonville, and Bryant Station.
1836 he moved from Fayette County, Kentucky, to Boone County,
Missouri. There he located on the "Two-Mile Prairie." He entered the
field at once as an evangelist and traveled much in preaching the
gospel. Perhaps no other man in the State of Missouri ever did as
much traveling on horseback and preaching the gospel as did Thomas
M. Allen. In private houses, in barns, in open groves, in
courthouses, in the Hall of Representatives at Jefferson City, and
in nearly all the meetinghouses of his section of the State was the
voice of Thomas M. Allen heard pleading for the truth and the union
of God's people by returning to the apostolic doctrine and practice.
No man did more to spread the cause of Christ in the State of
Missouri than did Thomas M. Allen. His labors were not confined to
the State of Missouri. He visited time and again the State of
Kentucky and strengthened the churches that he had established in
that State and helped to establish others. He labored energetically
and successfully as an evangelist in many parts of our country. In
1860 we find a report in the Gospel Advocate of that year of his
work in Tennessee. In the August issue of the Gospel Advocate of
1860 we find this report:
M. Allen, of Missouri, labored several weeks, in the early part of
the summer, in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with good success. He
has long been earnestly engaged in pleading the cause of the Master
and is one of our most respected evangelists."
Brother Allen's going to Missouri was an epoch in the history of the
few struggling churches in that State. He threw all the power of his
life into his work and saw happy results from his labors. He was a
man about six feet in height and weighed about one hundred and
eighty pounds. He had a most commanding personality and a clear,
strong voice. He could endure more than the ordinary man, and
rejoiced that he had so much strength that he could dedicate to the
preaching of the gospel and establishing churches. Through his
influence Alexander Campbell visited Missouri and strengthened the
churches. Brother Allen wrote frequently to the Millennial
Harbinger. He reported his meetings and those of his brethren in
that paper. Brother Allen never aspired to any office, but he always
felt and frequently manifested a deep interest in the political
welfare of his State. He was frequently urged by his party friends
of the old Whig party to become a candidate for Governor of the
State, but he refused to let his name be used for this purpose. Once
he declined an appointments to Congress to fill an unexpired term,
on the ground that it might impair his influence as a minister of
the gospel and would be setting a bad example to the young
Brother Allen was a successful business man. He was what would be
called a "wealthy man." He contributed liberally of his means to the
endowment fund of Bethany College. His interest in that college grew
out of his desire to see the churches supplied with an educated
ministry. He was a friend of education and was one of the earliest
and truest friends of Missouri University, located at Columbia. He
was honored a number of times by being elected president of the
board of directors. While he was a slave owner, yet he had great
sympathy for his servants and treated them as part of his own
family. Many of his slaves remained in his employ after they were
freed, and all of them continued to be the objects of his care.
Brother Allen continued his active service as a preacher of the
gospel until the fall of 1871. He served as a faithful preacher of
the gospel for more than fifty years. He died on October 10, 1871,
in Columbia, Mo. Funeral services were held by Joseph K. Rogers,
president of Missouri University. His funeral was attended by one of
the largest crowds ever seen in Columbia. The doors of the business
houses were closed during the exercises. He had done justice, loved
mercy, and had walked humbly with God, and was finally called where
"the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."
Leo Boles, Gospel Preachers Of Yesteryear, c.1932, GA, pages
W.S. Rogers, Hanging In The Halls
Christian College, Columbia, Missouri.
Thanks To Alvin R. Jennings, Biographer Of
T.M. Allen: Pioneer Preacher Of Kentucky & Missouri,
For Sending A Photo Of The Painting Taken In 1951
The Grave Of T.M. Allen
Allen is buried in Columbia, Missouri in the Columbia Cemetery. If
traveling on I-70 in Missouri take exit 126 in Columbia, North
Providence Rd. (State Hwy. 163) and go south. Cross Nebraska Avenue
and Business Loop 70. Stay on Providence Rd until you get to E.
Broadway and turn right. Begin looking to the left for the entrance
to the Columbia Cemetery. Enter main entrance. Go down drive
toward the middle of the cemetery. Begin looking to the right. Cross
Rollins Rd. and it will be down on the right. If you get to Garth
Rd. you have gone too far. Section is on the west side of the road.
Also in this section is the grave of another RM preacher,
Shannon. He is in front and to the left of the Allen plot.
N38º 56.975' x WO 92º 20.259'
Grave Facing East
Accuracy to 18ft.
Thomas M. Allen
Near Front Royal, Va.
Oct. 21, 1797
In Columbia, Mo.
Oct. 10, 1871
He Was A Preacher In The Church Of Christ
For Nearly Fifty Years
The B/W Photo Above Was Taken In
1951 By Alvin R. Jennings. Compare It To The
Color Pictures Above Taken In 2004. Note The Effect Of The Elements
In Just 53 Years