Allen H. Mesch
Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is the long-overdue biography of Texas attorney Ebenezer Allen. The new biography explains his forgotten, but important contributions to the history of the Republic and the State of Texas. Allen was attorney general and secretary of state during the annexation of Texas by the United States, the state’s first elected attorney general, and obtained the charter for one of Texas’ early railroads.
Mr. Allen was born in Newport, New Hampshire on April 8, 1804. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826 and studied law in Newport with prominent lawyer Amasa Edes. He moved to Orono, Maine to practice law. He married Sylvania Morse of Skowhegan, Maine, where he was County Attorney for several years.
Allen relocated to the Republic of Texas and became involved with the nation’s politics. He served as attorney general and secretary of state for Anson Jones and helped coordinate the republic’s annexation by the United States. After statehood, Allen became the state’s first elected attorney general. As an attorney in Galveston, he obtained a charter for a rail line from the Gulf Coast to the Red River. When the Civil War broke out, Allen served as a civilian in the Confederate Torpedo Bureau and represented engineers and inventors in their dealings with the Richmond government. He died under mysterious circumstances in Richmond.
The town of Allen, Texas traces its name to Mr. Allen.
This book is a “must-read for lovers of Texas history.”
Mr. Mesch diligently gathered original documents photos and letters to develop this biography. Making extensive use of these writings the author takes the reader back to the mid-19th century. Mr. Mesch allowed the original correspondence unofficial documents speak for themselves
Allen Mesch excels in presenting a thoroughly researched, well-referenced story of the turbulent times of early Texas. The history spans the time from Spanish Colonization to Statehood. Ebenezer Allen, a Mason emerges as an attorney, railroad entrepreneur, Spiritualist, and Statesman who contributed to the formation of Texas as a Republic and a State. Entertaining anecdotes and the mysterious ending fuel the imagination and stirs your interest in learning more.
The story of an enterprising man that few have heard of. A man who shaped the course of Texas history and economic prosperity, then died mysteriously in the middle of the civil war leaving an unsolved question. Author Allen Mesch resurrects Ebenezer Allen, a man to be remembered. Exquisitely researched, detailed enough to satisfy the scholar, interesting enough to intrigue the amateur historian.
Ebenezer Allen’s list of associates reads like a who’s who of Texas. Among his acquaintances were:
- Sam Houston
- Anson Jones
- Peter H. Bell
- William G. Hale
- Andrew Jackson Donelson
- Paul Bremond
- John Tyler
- James Polk
“… when I called him to that station I was almost a stranger to him personally, having never seen him but once or twice, and knew nothing of his opinions on this [annexation] or scarcely any other subject. I approved him because he had the character of possessing great ability and honesty.” – President Anson Jones on his prior knowledge of Mr. Allen
“You are well aware of the fact that I have from the beginning been decidedly opposed to the Annexation of Texas to the United States. It is my first object to defeat, if possible, the consummation of this most obnoxious measure, so decidedly hostile, as I conceive it to be, and fraught with such evil consequences to the ultimate prosperity and high destiny of this Country. If I am successful in the accomplishment of this great result, I shall consider it the proudest period of my life.” – Ebenezer Allen on the Annexation of Texas to the United States
“The importance of the measure and its incalculable influence on and among the value of our lands, developing the resources; promoting the prosperity and increasing the wealth of our State, if successfully consummated, can not [sic] be questioned.” – Ebenezer Allen’s application for a charter to build the Galveston and Red River Railroad
About the Author
Allen Mesch is an author, educator, and historian. Mr. Mesch held adjunct faculty positions at the University of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University, and Texas Woman’s University. Allen taught classes on the Civil War in Collin College’s SAIL program.
He is the author of Teacher of Civil War Generals: Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant (July 2015). In March 2016 he published the companion book, Your Affectionate Father, Charles F. Smith, with letters General Smith wrote to his daughter. Also, in 2016, Allen wrote about his wife’s ancestor, Charles A. Marvin – “One Year, Six Months, and Eleven Days.” Allen wrote Preparing for Disunion: West Point Commandants and the Training of Civil War Leaders (November 2018) to examine the contributions of commandants of cadets at the military academy.