Allens, it would seem, have been around forever. In Irish, the name Ailin would translate as someone who was hard and inflexible; while in Scotland the old family name Aluinn would translate as someone who was handsome.
The ancient Allen family line has been traced directly back to the ruling McDonalds of Clan Ranald, who were named after one of the sons of King Somerled, the ruler of all of Argyll and the Great Hebrides Islands.
In Georgia, the Allen family name quickly earned itself a spot in Georgia history, for the oldest known folk tune in Georgia is none other than “Barbara Allen,” whose height of popularity was in 1855.
Although most likely having originated in Scotland, the ballad was first known to have been printed in England in 1780. Believe it or not, there are at least ninety-two known versions of this love ballad.
In the very earliest Georgia records, there were six different James Allens, five different Williams and Roberts, four Moses, three Johns and Philips, two Thomas, and one each named Benjamin, Charles and Woodson.
Many of them are known to have fought alongside the American Continentals as they battled the British Regulars, the Hessian mercenaries, and Loyalist Americans. Josiah G. Allen Sr., one of the founders of Allendale, South Carolina, was one of those men.
The great-great grandfather of most of the Bulloch County Allen men, Josiah, organized his own Allendale rebellion. This involved attacking those American “Tories” who were massacring up-country residents who supported the rebellion.
They then joined American rebels being led by the famed guerrilla leader Francis Marion, “the Swamp Fox.” Unfortunately for Josiah and two of his neighbors, they soon ran into the forces of “Bloody Bill” Cunningham and his Independent Troop of Mounted Partisan Rangers.
Cunningham’s forces disarmed Josiah and his neighbors, taking them deep into the swamps. After failing to extract much in the way of useful information, the revolutionaries were then stabbed, shot, and then literally strung up to die. Thus ended the life of the man who brought the Allens to Bulloch County.
Roger Allen provides a brief genealogy monthly. E-mail Roger at rwasrer53 @gmail.com.