Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
William S. Allen Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
William S. Allen was born c. 1823 in Connecticut. In September 1845, he married Roxalena Abbey, daughter of Roswell Abbey and Sarah Olmstead. The couple had one daughter, Sarah A. Allen (b. 1849), but the pair eventually separated. William S. Allen eventually moved to Key West, Florida, while Roxalena married Judge William Barnes of Warehouse Point, East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1853. Sarah remained in Connecticut with her mother, stepfather, and several other relatives, including Fannie Olmstead. She spent the first months of 1869 visiting her father in Key West. Sarah A. Allen later married Samuel J. Allen, a doctor.
The William S. Allen letters contain three letters written by Allen, a resident of Key West, Florida, describing the visit of his daughter, Sarah A. Allen, during the first months of 1869. Allen addressed the letters to Fannie Olmstead, who lived with Sarah in Warehouse Point, Connecticut, and often greeted her with warm affection. Allen filled his letters with glowing descriptions of his daughter, a popular young woman of 20, and of the social events she attended during their time together. Allen paid particular attention to one "masquerade hop," and alluded to Sarah's popularity with Spanish men (March 16, 1869). Though his correspondence primarily focused on his daughter and on his vivid accounts of Key West social life, Allen did mention his own appointment as a clerk for the Circuit Court of Monroe County, and briefly mentioned the type of work this entailed.