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Arthur Allen Jr.

Member From: 1680 - 1692

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  • Birth Date: 1627 Birth Place:Bacon's Castle, Surry, Virginia
  • Death Date: 1710 (date recorded as either June 15 or September 5)
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
  • Spouse: Katherine Baker Allen (m. 1680)
  • Children: four sons and four daughters; Arthur Allen III, John Allen, Katherine Allen, James Allen, Elizabeth Allen, Thomas Allen, Ann Allen, Mary Allen, Joseph Allen
  • Religion:
  • Education: Educated in England
  • Military Service: Captain of Surry Militia, 1677
    Major of Surry Militia (Oct 1680-May 1681)
  • Occupation/Profession: Merchant and planter
  • Memberships/Affiliations: elected to the William & Mary Board of Visitors, 1702
  • Additional Info Links: https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Allen_Arthur_ca_1652-1710#start_entry
  • Additional Info: 1682, 1684, 1685-86, 1688, 1691 (Allen refused to take the required oaths in 1691; a new writ was ordered and Benjamin Harrison was elected and entered the House on Apr. 27, 1691)

    Father of John Allen, who served in the House (1736-1740)

    His father, Arthur Allen, was the largest landholder in Surry County possessing 6,780 acres. Arthur Allen, Jr. inherited the estate upon his father's death in 1669 and increased the family's land holdings to almost 10,000 acres

  • Bio: ARTHUR ALLEN was Speaker of the House of Burgesses at the assemblies of 1685-1686 and 1688. Speaker Allen represented Surry County in the assemblies of 1684, 1685-1686, and 1688, and he was elected to the assembly of 1691-1692, but was removed when he declined to take the new oaths of allegiance to William and Mary.
    Speaker Allen's father, Arthur Allen (ca. 1608-1670), had settled in Virginia by 1650. He had served on the vestry of Lawnes Creek Parish and on the Surry County Court, and he built the imposing brick house now known as Bacon's Castle. In 1675 Governor Sir William Berkeley named Speaker Allen to the county bench, and during Bacon's Rebellion, while he was absent fighting at Governor Berkeley's side, a group of seventy rebels led by William Rookings occupied his home. In December Rookings and his followers fled the house, taking with them silver, linen, books, cattle, and other plunder. The royal commissioners who investigated the rebellion reported that Allen ''lost at least 1000£ sterling by the Rebells.''
    Although Lieutenant Governor Herbert Jeffreys confirmed Allen's seat on the Surry County Court in November 1677, Allen was a close associate of Philip Ludwell, Sr., and the other Berkeley loyalists who comprised the Green Spring faction and soon locked horns with Sir William Berkeley's successor. In May 1678 Jeffreys suspended Allen from the Surry County Court for challenging his appointment of a sheriff. Allen, he reported, '' did not only fill the Eares of the People in a full Court with amazement and doubt, but drew the Rest of the peaceable Commissioners to Comply." Jeffreys died in December 1678, and Allen was reinstated to the county bench by 1680.
    In April 1684 Surry County elected Allen to the House of Burgesses, where he was appointed to the committee on propositions and grievances and various ad hoc committees. Allen returned to the House in 1685 and, Effingham wrote, ''was a great promoter of those differences between me, and the Assembly concerning the Kings Negative voyce." Effingham suspended Allen from the office of surveyor ''for opposing the King's prerogative.'' When the General Assembly met in October 1686, Speaker William Kendall had died, and Allen was elected Speaker. At the close of the session, the House of Burgesses voted him 10,000 pounds of tobacco for his services.
    Surry County returned Allen to the House of Burgesses in 1688 and he was reelected Speaker. Conflict with Effingham continued. On 12 May the governor learned that the House of Burgesses was drafting a twelve-item censure of his actions to be presented to the king. Effingham promptly dissolved the assembly, but not before the House had passed the petition and authorized Philip Ludwell, Sr., to carry it to the Privy Council. Again Speaker Allen was awarded 10,000 pounds of tobacco. Early in 1688 Governor Effingham wrote that Allen wanted to “bee more a Governor than I.''
    Allen remained suspended from his office as a surveyor in Virginia when, in 1689, Philip Ludwell, Sr., was named governor of North Carolina by the colony's proprietors. Allen accompanied him to North Carolina and made surveys there. After he had returned to Virginia, Surry County elected him to the House of Burgesses for the assembly of 1691-1692. Allen, however, "disabled himselfe to Serve in that Office by his refusall through Scruple of conscience to take the Oathes enjoyned by act of Parliament instead of the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy." In short, he refused to recognize the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689, by which William and Mary had accepted the English crown, and he refused to reverse his allegiance to James Stuart-an interesting position for a man firm in his resistance to the claims of the king's lieutenants.
    Allen did not again sit in the General Assembly, and he continued to remain out of public office because he refused to subscribe the new oath; as late as 1697 the Council decreed that any surveys he might make were invalid because he was a nonjurer. In April 1702, after James Stuart had died, Allen ''subscribed the test and Association as one of the Governors of his Majestys Royal College of William and Mary." And in August 1702, after William III had died, he swore allegiance to Queen Anne, James Stuart's daughter, and was returned to the Surry County Court ''to be first in Commission.'' In 1704 the college appointed him surveyor of Isle of Wight and Surry counties, and in 1705 he was recorded as churchwarden of Lawnes Creek Parish. Speaker Allen died in 1710; his will, dated 16 February 1710, was proven in Surry County on 5 September 1710.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Allen served on the Lawnes Creek Parish vestry by age twenty-one. At age twenty-four he became a member of the Surry County Court, and he was appointed surveyor of both Surry and Isle of Wight Counties
    Speaker of the House of Burgesses: 1686 - 88
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1680-1682 Surry
1684 Surry Propositions and Grievances
1685-1686 Surry Speaker of the House
1688 Surry Speaker of the House
1691-1692 Surry

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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