Born September 19, 1847 at Tyner, Hamilton County, Tennessee
Died February 16, 1920 in Bradley County, Tennessee
James C. Allen was the oldest son of James Allen (born in KY, about 1808) and Elizabeth Gotcher Allen (born in TN, 1824). Elizabeth was the daughter of Rev. Henry Gotcher and his first wife, Martha McBee Gotcher. Rev. Henry Gotcher was a pioneer Baptist preacher in Hamilton Co. Tn. He was also a commissioner for the town of Harrison, in Hamilton County, Tennessee. James Clift Allen was born at Tyner in Hamilton County, Tennessee where he received his early education. He was three years old in the 1850 Hamilton County TN Census. In the 1860 census, he was twelve years old. Young James joined the Union Army on August 5, 1863 at McMinnville, Tennessee enlisting in Company H., 4th Tennessee Cavalry, at the age of 15 years, just short of his 16th birthday. His enlistment papers state that hewas16 years old. He and his father apparently enlisted together, James Allen Sr. was 54 years old at the time of his enlistment, his and Elizabeth's youngest child had been born the previous year on September 28, 1862.
From his Union army enlistment records for Co. H., 4th Tennessee Cavalry , James Clift Allen is described as being 6 feet, 2 inches tall, fair complexion, dark eyes, dark hair. In his discharge papers, his eyes were described as "black". James C. Allen was promoted to Corporal during the war. Due to an intermittent fever, he was hospitalized during the month of November, admitted on November 16 of 1864 to Jefferson G. H., Jefferson, Indiana, then transferred to Hospital No. 18, Nashville, TN. He was returned to duty December 28, 1864. In March and April of 1865 he was sick in the hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. He was discharged at Nashville on July 12, 1865 under the Special Authority for Tennessee Troops. His father was officially discharged at the same time, but his pension papers state that he was discharged on July 8, 1864 for "disability, due to "old age."
On the first day of March, 1866, James C. Allen married Minerva Jane Elder. They were married by J. S. Blair, M.G. This record can be found in the Hamilton County Tennessee Marriage Book 2, 1864-1874. Minerva Jane Elder was the daughter of Robert S. Elder and Nancy Lucas. Minerva Jane was from Long Savannah. The Elder family descended from Samuel Elder who owned land in Tennessee before Tennessee became a state in 1796. The Elders attended Dumplin Baptist Church near Dandridge in Jefferson County. After some of the family moved to Meigs County, they helped to organize Goodfield Baptist Church. Samuel Elder's son, Robert Elder, father of Robert S. Elder moved into the section of Rhea that was taken off for Meigs County. Robert S. Elder owned land in Meigs Co. in 1836, by 1840 he had moved to Hamilton co, where he was granted Ocoee District land by the state. He moved near the site where Wolftever and Long Savannah creeks merge. By the time of the Civil War, his holdings were worth $13,000 and he had six slaves. He died September 21, 1868 and was buried at the Elder Cemetery at his farm. James Clift Allen and Minerva Jane Elder Allen had a large family of eleven children. Their six sons were James Robert, William Luther, Charles Frederick, Ira David, John Elder, and Carl Clifford. The five daughters were: Elizabeth (Lizzie) Spriggs, Emma Webb, Maude Ella Goodner, Lena May Parks, and Belle Rentfro. The family lived for some time in James County where James C. Allen served as County Surveyor and Tax Assessor for several terms. He was postmaster at Long Savannah from 1889-1893 and a charter member of the Long Savannah Cumberland Presbyterian Chuch where he became a Deacon and Elder in the church. Later James C. Allen moved his family to Bradley County and lived there for twenty-four years. The James C. Allen family is found in the 1870 census of Bradley County. It isn't clear whether they moved to a different location by 1870, or if James County took in that part of Bradley county where they lived, but in the 1880 Census, they are found in James County. In the 1900 census, they are once again in Bradley County. In the earliest microfilm of circuit court proceedings, about 1897, James C. Allen is reported to have been elected County Surveyor for Bradley County. He was also a member of the Bradley County Republican Executive Committee. In the Weekly Herald, Cleveland, Tennessee, September 7, 1900, James C. Allen's nomination for Representative in the Legislature is reported. "Mr. Julian placed in nomination the name of J. C. Allen. This was seconded by the 10th, 11th, and 12th districts. On motion, Mr. J.C. Allen of the 12th district was nominated by acclamation. He was called forward and made a short speech accepting the nomination." The Herald editorial stated that "The nomination of J.C. Allen by the Republicans is a very satisfactory action. Mr. Allen will make a splendid representative. He is intelligent, sober, and honest and will always be found at the post of duty." James C. Allen served as Representative from Bradley County in the 52nd General Assembly from 1901-1903. Allen was elected Ruling Elder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Pine Hill in the Lebanon District of Bradley County where he lived. He died on February 16, 1920. He was buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery at Cleveland, Tennessee. Minerva died on August 28, 1934 and is buried with her husband in Fort Hill Cemetery. James C. Allen's obituary in the Cleveland Herald, Feb. 19, 1920 included the following tribute: "Mr. Allen was a man of fine personal character and of spotless reputation. He stood for the better side of any question and was foremost in every good work."