Standard History of Adams and Wells Counties, Vol. 2

Standard History of Adams and Wells Counties, Vol. 2

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Excerpt from Standard History of Adams and Wells Counties, Vol. 2: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, With an Extended Survey of Modern Developments in the Progress of Town and Country

Prof. Philemon A. Allen, superintendent of the public schools of Bluffton, Indiana, has been associated with educational work in the Hoosier State during much of his active career. For twelve years, however, he was interested in journalism and during that time was editor of the Bluffton Banner. Holding advanced ideas concerning education and methods of teaching, during the ten years of his incumbency as superintendent of the Bluffton schools, he has introduced many methods that are proving of the most practical value in making the school what it ever should be - a preparation for the responsible duties which devolve upon every individual after reaching maturity. His course has received the hearty approval of the most progressive citizens of Bluffton and he has procured the co-operation of his teachers to such an extent that the result is one of great benefit to the pupils enrolled.

A native of Whitley County, Indiana, Philemon A. Allen was born Janaury 29, 1853, and he is a son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Force) Allen, both natives of Akron, Ohio, where they were reared, educated and married. Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Allen came to Indiana in 1843 and located in Whitley County, then all woods, and there operated a saw mill with marked success for a number of years. There were nine children born to them, three of whom died in infancy and three of whom are living, in 1917. William and Wesley Allen, two of their sons, were both Union soldiers in the Civil war. The Allens were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and they were influential citizens in their own community.

Born and reared on a farm, Professor Allen attended the neighboring district school during the winter months and in the summer time ably assisted his father and brothers in the work and management of the old homestead. So diligent had he been in procuring an education that at the age of seventeen years he began to teach school himself. In 1873 he entered the National Normal School, at Lebanon, Ohio, and after several years' attendance in that institution he taught school for two years in Mason County, Illinois. During the year of 1875 he was a student in Fort Wayne College, where he subsequently became an instructor in the normal department, holding that position for two years. In 1877 he was elected superintendent of the Ossian schools and he served in that capacity with the utmost efficiency for a period of four years, during which time he raised the standard of and graded the schools. In 1881, in order to make himself more efficient as an educator, he travelled extensively in Europe and while there made a thorough study of the school systems of the various countries he visited. Immediately after his return home he was elected superintendent of the Bluffton schools, holding that position for ten years. One of the first things he did on assuming office was to organize a high school, the first class of which graduated in June, 1883.

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