Author Allen Mesch captures a quarter-century of Texas history through the life of Ebenezer Allen in his latest book — Ebenezer Allen-Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy. As the Attorney General and Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas, Allen was at the center of the transition of Texas from an independent nation to statehood to the Confederate States of America. A visionary, Allen, a New Englander, led an effort that ultimately connected the Gulf of Mexico to the Red River in North Texas via rail.
Just as he did with his previous books, Mr. Mesch diligently gathered original documents, photos, and letters to develop this biography. Making extensive use of those writings, the author takes the reader back to the mid-nineteenth century using the language of the day. He does not try to over-interpret the documents. Mr. Mesch allowed the original correspondence and official documents to speak for themselves. In addition, Mr. Mesch also connected with Allen’s great-great-great-granddaughter who provided him insight into the family history.
Today, many Texas politicians like to proclaim their long-term family ties to Texas with words such as “I am a fifth-generation Texan.” What they never mention is the fact that many of their forebears were transplanted Northeasterners like Ebenezer Allen. Ebenezer Allen quickly became part of his community; first in Clarksville and then in Galveston. He held prominent positions in both the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas. He was the first elected Texas attorney general. The Collin County city of Allen bears his name. Interestingly enough, the current Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, lives in Collin County. Neither Paxton nor Allen were native Texans.
Alan E. Mesches, author of Major General James A. Ulio: How the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army Enabled Allied Victory (Casemate Publishers, June 2020).