Wallace ALLAN

Born:- 23rd May 1783, Stranraer, Wigtownshire Died:- 1st February 1861, Ayr, Ayrshire

Child of: David and Margaret ALLAN

Marriage: Wallace and Anne ALLAN

Marriage: Wallace and Mary ALLAN

Occupation(s):- Chelsea Pensioner, (1851), Cross StreetWallacetown, St. Quivox, Ayrshire. ShoemakerShoemaker, (1841), Cross StreetWallacetown, St. Quivox, Ayrshire.

Biographical notes

We know from the 1851 Census where Wallace is described as a Chelsea Pensioner, and from the Records of the Royal Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals, that he served in the Royal Ayr Regiment of Militia. He enlisted on the 18th March 1803 (when he would have been aged 19), and was discharged on the 24th June 1829 (when he was 45). On his discharge papers he is described as being five feet seven and a half inches inches in height, fair hair, blue eyes, ruddy complexion, and by trade or occupation a Shoemaker. As to his character it states:

quote : THAT his general conduct as a soldier has been good, that his period of Service as Serj't was in the embodied state, and that he was necessarily reduced to Corpl. at the disembodying of the Reg't from the reduction of the number of serjeants retained on permanent staff.

He was a Private for 1 year and 358 days, a Seregeant for 5 years 179 days, and a Corporal for 18 years and 279 days. There is no evidence of service overseas, which is in keeping with the formation of the local militia which was formed in 1797 to counter the threat of a French invasion during the period of the Napoleonic Wars. It was subsequently absorbed into The Royal Scots Fusiliers.

His grandson, Wallace Allan (1848 - 1931) in his family reminiscences written in 1930, describes his grandfather thus:

quote : Wallace Allan (Sargt Allan) [b. 1783 - d. 1861] my grandfather shoemaker, prominent f[ree] mason, mentioned in local mason book - quarrelled when young at a ball in Dailly with the Duke de Coigney's butler, fought a [brawl ?] enlisted in the militia to escape case at court. Married Anne Anderson father a bootmaker.....Second marriage - Mary Logie

The information in the 1841 Census records Wallace Allan living at Cross Street, Wallacetown, Ayr. His profession is that of Shoemaker, and his age given as 55. Mary (Logie) aged 45 is inferred to be his wife and there are apparently three children; David (aged 20), Agnes (aged 8), and Hugh (aged 6). However, a search of the Old Parish Registers reveals that Wallace Allan married Mary Logie in 1831. David Allan's given age in the 1841 Census is 20 suggesting a birth date of about 1821 - ten years before Wallace and Mary's marriage.

A further search of the Old Parish Registers reveals that Wallace Allan married Ann Anderson in 1810 and that David Allan was one of their seven children. The last child was born in 1826 so Ann must have died sometime between 1826 and 1831 when Wallace remarried.

In the 1851 Census, his wife, Mary, is unrecorded and he is living with his two children Agnes and Hugh. His age is given as 67 and he is described as a Chelsea Pensioner - which reflects his military service. His birthplace is given as Stranraer, Wigtownshire, and this is confirmed in the Stranraer Parish Register of Births where details of his father, David Allan (also a Shoemaker), and his wife Margaret (Boyd) are given.

There is a remarkable pen-portrait written just after his death by his son Hugh Logie Allan which is quoted as follows:

quote : My father.

quote : Much to my regret, no portrait of my father was taken. It was in my mind many times to ask him to go with me to a photographer; but the visit was delayed till death came & left me to grieve for my procrastination. In order to keep me in lively remembrance of him, it occurred to me when sitting at the fire this 2nd of February, 1861 - the day succeeding his death - to jot down a few things that would recall him to my recollection in a more vivid & life-like way than any portrait would do.

quote : As I remember him when I was young - sitting at his seat at night - working by lamp-light - sleeves buckled up - leather apron on - stitching a shoe - bending over it-strap round his feet - smoking - leather parings all around - talking with some neighbour - shaking his long-stick at me - saying "take care, neebor!" or fumbling among his awls & knives for some tool-or closing with clems - or making a thread - or cleaning up on a Saturday night, blowing amongst his rubbish for tacks - specs on - old bauchles [old shoes] - beating of the sole-heating irons to him. How I liked to sit on those winter evenings & listen to the cracks. Mother sitting bending at the fireside or reading the papers.

quote : SCENE II. The Garden - summer night Father planting cabbage - making the drill with his feet sliding along by short steps - standing leaning with one hand on his spade, to look at his work. Or, walking alongst, as on sentry, - the walk at the top - his sleeved waistcoat and bonnet on - hands clasped in front below his apron - sharp, quick, steady walk. Then back to work, usually till 12 at night.

quote : SCENE III. Coming from church - long - tailed coat & drab trousers, - straight, upright, - his well-coloured cheeks - under - lip slightly protruding - or else his blue cloak drawn tight around him on a cold day - the sharp, steady clank of his feet heard at a good distance - sitting in church - his sweet soft tenor singing at the treble, or delighting me occasionally by singing bass to the tunes he knew; & I thought nobody sang bass so nice as father.

quote : SCENE IV. When he had a dram - the comical smile - the corners of his mouth turned up - or smiling with lips rather shot out - telling stories of his exploits - "Sing fee, fa, fum; what do ye think O'that tune, Hughie" - persisting that he was able to walk quite steady, & c.

quote : SCENE V. Later years. - Failing - face more shrivelled - brown big coat, which he scarcely filled - grey trousers - hat far down on his head - serious expression.

quote : SCENE VI. Work stopped. Walking about garden, with short brown coat - red-coloured cravat round his neck - brown trousers - bonnet on. No longer able to walk quick - head hanging down - rather sad - sitting at fireside, drying bits of flannel or reading papers as long as able - very positive - arguing with Agnes.

quote : SCENE VII. Last of all. Lying on bed, eyes sunken, gasping heavily for breath - able to listen to and understand what ministers say! - last few hours much distressed. Speaks, but words not distinguishable, - jaw hanging down, gasping for breath - hearing him murmur, as his dull sunken eyes catch sight of me, "Farewell, Hughie" & hear him say the same afterwards to Agnes, Davie, & Aunt Fanny. I heard him at a quarter to two, say to Agnes "Lift me up" - see his arm round her neck - she lays him down again - he seizes her hand - his flushed face begins all at once to pale, & after a few heavy breaths his poor distressed shrunken body goes to rest till the morning of the resurrection.

quote : It has given some ease to my mind to write these thoughts; & I will preserve them, for occasional perusal, to keep me in mind of a Father, who, with all his faults, was a true, honest man; & a good kind father to me!

quote : Hugh L. Allan Alison Street Ayr 2nd Febry, 1861

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