NAME: Allen
REMAINS: Not mentioned

Allen. Post office 1906 / 1916. Submitted by: Samuel w McWhorter

In the winter of 1905, James P.Allen (1858-1910) was recuperating from an illness in Afton, Oklahoma. He was bedridden much of the time and so had plenty of time to read. In the newspapers, there was a lot of publicity about the settling of the Territory of New Mexico. The government was promoting the idea, believing that the land in eastern New Mexico would become thickly settled, which would boost their economy.

The government had decided to issue land grants of 160 acres to anyone over 21 who would come, build a home and work the land. Hoping the area would become thickly populated, appealing advertising was sent throughout the states, saying “Come fo the Land of the Sun,” or “Own Your Own Land,” sometimes with the caveat “Only the Strong Willed or Men with a Frontier Spirit Need Apply!”

James was able to get around on crutches by January 1906. The family talked and dreamed of this new land. He had figured every aspect of how he would sell out; how he could get everything in two boxcars.

He was sure of one thing: That he needed to be in a drier climate. They talked and dreamed of this new land until it became a reality.

>From Afton to New Mexico
It was late in the evening, February 6, 1906, when the train pulled into the station at Tucumcari, New Mexico. J.P. and Rosetta saw right away that many families had come in the same way they had. The first night, there was a terrible storm. The wind picked up pots and pans, buckets and washtubs, scattering them all about. The next morning, families were all over, picking up their belongings. Emerging from their tent, the Allens were thankful that they had not unpacked their freight cars.

Many of the claims had already been taken, so J.P. made a choice from what was left. This land lay about 45 miles southeast of Tucumcari, a two-day journey by wagon. They followed a two-rut road for several hours, crossed Rivuelto creek and angled southeast. There was only one store between their claim and Tucumcari. It was located near the creek and was operated by a Mr. Horn. A round trip to Tucumcari usually took four or five days without any trouble.

Following a month or so in Tucumcari to iron out the legalities of their claim, the family loaded up their wagon on a warm April day and headed out to their new land. They arrived on the second day, and there was enough light left to get the tent up. In the following weeks, a frame house sprang up, and after that much stone was hauled from the caprock to build a house that would last long after the others were gone.

Allen Store and Post Office
A few months had passed and J.P. realized the need for a store. It became obvious when all the homesteaders had expressed their desire for a local store. After the legal process, the building went up in a hurry. It was located in the southeast corner of the Allen claim. J.P. and the boys hauled supplies from Tucumcari to stock the store. All shared with one another news from back home and the ones they had left there.

All the families in the area were so grateful for this service. It was a sad day when news would come to a family of the death of a loved one and would already be buried by the time the letter arrived. Nevertheless, information from the outside world became more accessible.

1906 was a good year. The rains came at the right time. The homesteaders were pleased with their first crop. After all the crops were laid by, the men gathered at the store and whiled the time away whittling, chewing and telling tall tales. Drifters came and went and were never refused a handout. J.P. had compassion for those less fortunate than himself. Outlaws came and went without being recognized. J.P. never questioned a suspicious character, and he felt it paid off because they were never robbed. It was a known fact that the store was on the trail outlaws used to ride across the flats toward the Santa Fe Trail.

The town of Allen, New Mexico came into being when a post office was added at the store in 1908. To facilitate the issuing of the Postal Certificate, a letter of reference for the Allens was issued by the First National Bank in Afton, Oklahoma. Rosetta’s brother, Samuel H. Rule, was a founding director of the bank and good friends with its president, M.A. Painter. The certificate was issued. According to some sources, the post office existed, at least on paper, until 1916.

Around 1909, the Rock Island railroad came through, making nearby San Jon and Endee flourish. Because of the growth at these towns, business at the Allen Store declined. It was now in a financial bind because of credit to the homesteaders who had no way they could pay. Eventually, both the store and the post office became a memory. Rosetta stayed on, and passed in 1922. She is buried on the Allen plot. James preceded her in death around 1910. Submitted by Wendell Evans.