Ralph Allen, A Life

My family doesn’t know much about my maternal grandfather, Ralph Allen. Some vague knowledge that he was born in Kansas and rumors that he did well (for his  neighborhood) during the depression was about the extent of our knowledge.  I decided to do some digging to see what I could find, this quick sketch is what I came up with.

Ralph was born November 20, 1893 to James and Nettie (Cobb) Allen in Alta Vista Kansas. James (b. 1871 Ohio)  and Nettie (b. 1876 New York) had married in Alma Kansas on August 17, 1892. [Allen is a Scotch Irish surname and Cobb is usually of Anglo Irish descent.]

Ralph was the oldest of 7 children and the only one born in Kansas.  Two years after Ralph was born, his younger brother Ray was born and the family was living in Ohio (Amboy in Fulton County).  While residing in Ohio, the young family added two daughters to their growing clutch, Gladys and Anna.  By the time that Reba was born, 9 years younger than Ralph, the family was living in Peru Indiana.  While residing in Indiana, Mary and Gerald were also born.  The entire family was residing in Peru Ward 1, Miami County Indiana at the time of the 1910 census.

Evidence shows that Ralph served in the Army during WWI in Company G of the 34th Engineers. He was honorably discharged on July 9, 1919 with the rank of Corporal.

A year later, at the time of the 1920 census, Ralph was living with his widowed Aunt Theresa Allen in Lucas county Ohio.  Two years after this, Ralph married Miss Sylvestia Schoch in Seneca County Ohio. (It is difficult to find much information on Grandma Allen as her name is spelled differently in each text consulted [i.e. Sylvesta, Sylvestia, Sylvester; and Schouck, Schock, Shock, Shouk, Shouck, Shak] we do know she was born 12/3/03).

The young family lost a son, Benjamin R. to complications related to appendicitis on 11/20/1930 (he is buried in Calvary Cemetery).  At the time of Benjamin’s death, the family lived at 1719 Marne Ave, Toledo Ohio.

Ralph Allen
This undated photo of Ralph is the only one that I am aware of.

At the time of the 1940 Census, Ralph’s daughters Elinor and Frances were 19 and 2, respectively. There was also a son, but he was not living with the family at this time.

By 1942, when Ralph registered for the draft, he was living on Holland Sylvania Road in Sylvania Ohio and working at the Toledo Machine and Tool Co at Hastings and Dorr.

At the time of his death, later in the 1940s, Toledo Machine and Tool had been bought by E.W. Bliss Co. and Ralph continued working there as a hammerman.  Ralph was tragically killed in an auto accident on October 8, 1949 at the age of 55. He is buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Sylvania, Ohio.


This is the first of a series on some genealogy research that I’ve been doing. I’ve tentatively traced one ancestor back to 410 while another was on the Mayflower.


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