History of the Restoration Movement

James Alexander Allen


Biographical Sketch of James A. Allen

James Alexander Allen was born June 21, 1884 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He was the son of Jacob Garrison Allen (1859-1938) and Susie Willis Haley (1863-1916). He had one brother and six sisters. They were Mary Lee Allen (1885-1967), Felicia Anne Allen Young (1887-1975), Susie R. Allen (1891-1967), David H. Allen (1897-1972), Ruth Maurice Allen Brannon (1898-1992), Nancy Adeline Allen Revard (1919-1991). He was married to Anna Louise Grimes (1900-1979) of Franklin, Tennessee in 1924. They had one daughter, Louise Grimes Allen (Mrs. Orville W. Bobo, Jr.) on January 28, 1926 in Nashville. (Died - 01.13.2020 in Topeka, Kansas), and two grandchildren.

J. G. Allen, James' father, was a gospel preacher for over 37 years. He preached for years in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas.

Very early on, James demonstrated a clear understanding of the Restoration Plea. He published his first article in the Gospel Advocate when he was just seventeen years old. Beginning with the November 14, 1901 issue, it was entitled, “Heaven.” He followed A. B. Lipscomb as editor of the paper in May, 1923. Lipscomb had started a “Current Comment” editor's column in 1921, and James continued under the same title that appeared most weeks throughout his tenure. He edited Gospel Advocate until August 1, 1930.

J. A. Allen operated his own printing company. Through it he began publishing the Apostolic Times in Nashville, Tennessee in July 1931. In July, 1954, it became necessary for him to cease publication because of a serious eye condition.

He did much evangelistic work throughout his adult life especially in the Nashville area. His excellence in the pulpit brought invitations from many other states as well. He preached in his early ministry regularly for the Eighth Avenue church of Christ and Green Street church of Christ in Nashville. For over fifteen years he preached for the Lindsey Avenue church of Christ, a congregation his father had founded and preached to for many years.

James A. Allen died of a heart attack on August 4, 1967 in Nashville, Tennessee. Burial followed in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

-Scott Harp, 01.11.2023

Sources: G.A. Centennial Volume, G.A. c.1936 pages 69,70.; Ancestry.com

Early Editorial Of Gospel Advocate Inserted Into The Tennessean

The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee
Tuesday, April 20, 1926, p.2
(click on article to zoom in)

Gospel Advocate Article Inserted In Local Nashville Baptist Church Paper

Baptist And Reflector, Nashville, Tennessee
Thursday, April 28, 1927, p.8
(click on article to zoom in)

Nashville Banner, Nashville, Tennessee
Sunday, October 30, 1927, p.55

Baptist And Reflector, Nashville, Tennessee
Thursday, June 14, 1928, p.13
(click on article to zoom in)

The Daily News-Journal, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Thursday, March 20, 1930, p. 1,3
(click to zoom in)

Gospel Advocate, Nashville, Tennessee
August 6, 1931, p.965

Nashville Banner, Nashville, Tennessee
Friday, June 23, 1944
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Nashville Banner, Nashville, Tennessee
Saturday, July 16, 1960, p.8

The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee
Saturday, October 2, 1965, p.5

Letterhead and Signature of James A. Allen
Courtesy of Terry J. Gardner 4.2010

Nashville Tennessean Obituary

The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee
Monday, August 7, 1967, p.20
(click article to zoom in)

When Thy Summons Comes

That summons is coming to each of us. The one about which William Cullen Bryant wrote in his "Thanatopsis";

"So live that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
to the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach they grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

 On Friday evening, August 4, that summons came to James A. Allen, faithful gospel preacher for sixty-eight years. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 21, 1884, and died in the same city more than eighty-three years later. Baptized at the age of thirteen, he began preaching the gospel of Christ when but fifteen. Married in 1924 to Louise Grimes of Franklin, Tennessee, he is survived by Sister Allen and their daughter, Mrs. O. W. Bobo, Jr., of Topeka, Kansas.

Brother Allen was one of those fortunate saints whom the Lord gives strength and labor right to the last. He worked at his desk until mid-afternoon of his last day on earth, went home feeling as well as usual, made a call or two later in the afternoon, and felt normal in every way until about meal time. Some pain was felt in the chest then, but not severe. After dinner however, the pain grew worse. Taken to a nearby clinic he grew steadily worse until death brought relief some four hours later. Funeral services were conducted by Rufus Clifford, with the scripture reading by J.C. Shacklett.

For seven years (May 1923 until August, 1930) Brother Allen was Editor of the Gospel Advocate. (Which journal, incidentally, devoted eight lines to his passing-in minuscule type, on the inside cover of the back page!) He edited that paper with such able assistants as F.B. Srygley, H. Leo Boles, F.W. Smith, M.C. Kurfees, and E. A. Elam. After his work with the Gospel Advocate ended, Brother Allen edited his own journal, Apostolic Times, from 1931 until 1954. The late R.W. Comer, deeply consecrated to the same Christ whom Allen served, became very interested in Apostolic Times and for many years had every package of merchandise going out from this large mail order house (The Washington Manufacturing Company) carry also a copy of this paper.

James A. Allen is gone from us physically; but his influence will live in the hearts and lives of those who know him. We salute the passing of a noble co-worker in the cause of Truth.

-Fanning Yater Tant, “When Thy Summons Comes,” The Gospel Guardian, November 16, 1967, p.436

Directions To The Grave

James and Louise Allen are buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee. See the map here.

Section 12; Lot S1/2 E Pt. 271

GPS Coordinates
Accuracy To Within 16'
Facing North

Grave Photo Taken 01.08.2002
Webpage Produced 06.20.2005, updated in 01.11.2023

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