House History

Austin Allen, part two: Austin’s Children.

December 21, 2018

If you remember part one of this story, I told you about Austin Allen and his slave, Adline Allen. Austin was a confederate soldier and fought alongside Robert E. Lee. In fact, Austin was with Lee when he surrendered at Appomattox. If you missed that first part you can read it here.

In that article I tell you how Austin was known as a lifelong bachelor. His obituary even stated as much. Yet, Austin had a very long relationship with his father’s slave, Adline Allen.

They had six children together, we believe. I have seen accounts of them having eight children, but we think it is six. Their first daughter was Polly Allen, born when Austin was 17. So at that point, Adline was a slave, most likely on his father, Edmund Allen’s plantation. After the birth of Polly, Austin then went off to the war. When he returned from the war he eventually purchased a plantation which we believe is the old Watson place. You can watch an interior video of that house here.

Let’s look at their daughter Polly Allen. She was born on July 11, 1862. Most likely born on the plantation of Austin’s father. Along came another slave, Henderson Wilson. Who was Henderson Wilson? He was born in Bertie County in 1857. By historical accounts, Henderson was a young boy and was abused by a plantation owner. He and his mother, both of whom were slaves, ran away. They made it to Warren County, North Carolina. It was there that Henderson worked between Edmund Allen’s plantation and John Watson’s plantation.

It was at that time that Henderson met Polly Allen. They were married on her father’s plantation on November 29th, 1878.  Polly is listed as the daughter of plantation owner, Austin Allen. Yet, Austin was a lifelong bachelor!

We are not 100% certain, but we believe at this point that the old Watson Place was Austin’s plantation, then called “Oakdale”. This is important in this story. After getting married, Henderson and Polly moved into a log cabin across from her father’s plantation. Think of the little log cabin on the old Watson property that Bill and I have been visiting and looking for clues. It is across from the old homestead. Was this the home of Henderson and Polly where they raised 14 children?

The age of the log cabin would be correct for it to have been their home! Are we positive about this being their home together? No and there really won’t be any possible way to know for sure. It sure does make all of the writing on the walls even more intriguing. Imagine raising 14 children in that small cabin! And all of their children went to school. You can watch the video of that log cabin here.

The relationship between Austin and Adline was one that we will never know how reciprocal it was. One thing is for sure though, that relationship started the very large Wilson family. Some genealogical records point to the Wilson family having 757 members in 1993, but that could be the tip of the iceberg. And to think it all started in this small log cabin sitting off beside her own father’s large plantation home. Polly Allen Wilson died at the age of 86 and Henderson Wilson died at the age of 79. Both are buried about 20 yards away from Adline Allen in Warren County.