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Term: Allen, Col. Thomas S. (1825-1905)


b. Andover, New York, July 26, 1825
d. Winnebago, Wisconsin, December 12, 1905

Thomas S. Allen is best remembered for his leadership of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War. He also served as Wisconsin’s ninth secretary of state and published the Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper after the war.


Allen was born in Andover, New York, in 1825. He attended common schools, learned the printer's trade, and attended Oberlin College. In 1847 he arrived in Iowa County, Wisconsin, where for the next 13 years he was engaged in mining, surveying, and teaching school in and around Dodgeville. He served in minor public offices, and was chosen by his neighbors to represent them in the state Assembly in 1857. In 1860 he moved to Madison.

Civil War Service

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Allen enlisted as a private in the Governor's Guards local militia (Co. K, 1st Wisconsin Infantry). But Gov. Alexander Randall asked him to form a company from southwestern Wisconsin. At the end of June, Allen headed south as captain of Co. I, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry. A month later he led his troops at the Battle of Bull Run, and over the next 18 months was promoted up through the ranks to lieutenant colonel. As a major, Allen led his troops into the Battle of Gainesville, where he was wounded in the neck and the wrist, but refused to leave the field. At the Battle of South Mountain he was again wounded.

In January 1863 Allen was promoted to colonel of the 5th Infantry. On May 3, he commanded the regiment at the bloody attack on Marye's Heights, during the Second Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. On November 7 he was wounded again, during the Battle of Rappahannock Station. When the 5th Infantry’s term of service was up in the summer of 1864, Allen volunteered to reorganize it with new recruits, and served through the end of the war. In 1865 he was brevetted brigadier general, U.S. Volunteers.

Postwar Career

Allen was elected secretary of state of Wisconsin in 1865 and served two terms, from 1866-1870. He helped organize the Grand Army of the Republic in Wisconsin, and served as its commander, 1869-1870.

After moving to Oshkosh in 1870, Allen took over as publisher of the Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper. He ran the paper from 1870-1884 in partnership with John Hicks. With Julius Weidner, he ran a German newspaper, the Wisconsin Telegraph, from 1885-1902. Allen died at home of heart failure on December 12, 1905.


Links to Learn More

Biographical sketch of Col. Allen by E.B. Quiner on pages 1003-1004 of his book, “Military History of Wisconsin” (Chicago, 1866)

A nine-page memoir by Allen’s business partner John Hicks appeared in the Oshkosh Northwestern on March 24, 1906

View original documents related to Col. Allen

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); E. B. Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1866); Oshkosh Northwestern, Dec. 13, 1905 and March 24, 1906.]

65 records found

Allen Family (Historic Marker Erected 1976)
Allen Grove [origin of place name]
Allen, Carolyn Blanchard 1921
Allen, Charles Herman(?) 1828 - 1904
Allen, Col. Thomas S. (1825-1905)
Allen, Eau Claire Co.
Allen, Hiram Storrs 1806 - 1886
Allen, William 1825 - 1883
Allen, William Francis 1830 - 1889
Allens Grove, Walworth Co.
Allenton, Washington Co.
Allenville, Winnebago Co.
Allis, Edward Phelps 1824 - 1889
Barber, Joel Allen 1809 - 1881
Bradley, Lynde 1878 - 1942
Busby, Allen J. 1900
Bushnell, Allen Ralph 1833 - 1909
Capitol collapse disaster (1883)
Chippewa County [origin of place name]
Chippewa Falls [brief history]
Cooper, Henry Allen 1850 - 1931
Cooperstown [origin of place name]
Davis, John Jefferson 1852 - 1937
Dewey, Nelson 1813 - 1889
disasters in Wisconsin
Edgerton Bible Case
Evansville, Rock Co.
Falk, Franz Lorenz 1824 - 1882
Fallen Rocks, Wisconsin River
Fallen Timbers, Battle of
Flannigan, Allen J. 1909
Fort Miami
Frick, William Keller 1850 - 1918
Gilmore, Eugene Allen 1871 - 1953
Harper, Cornelius Allen 1864 - 1951
Haskell, Col. Frank A. (1828-1864)
Hispanic Americans in Wisconsin
Hop Raising (Historic Marker Erected 1959)
Huber, Henry Allen 1869 - 1933
Industrial School for Boys
Kinney, Kathy 1954 -
Kohler, Walter Jodok 1875 - 1940
Lallensack, Francis J. 1916
Lapham Peak (Historic Marker Erected 1995)
Lapham, Increase Allen 1811 - 1875
Lovejoy, Allen Perry 1825 - 1904
Manitowoc's Maritime Heritage (Historic Marker Ere
Mccanna, Charles B. 1851 - 1913
Miller, Marjorie "Midge" 1922
Mitchell, William, 1879 - 1936
Patton, James Edward 1832 - 1904
Paul, George Howard 1826 - 1890
Philipp, Emanuel Lorenz 1861 - 1925
Port Hudson, Siege of
Potter, John Fox 1817 - 1899
Quarry, Manitowoc Co.
Shiloh, Battle of
Strang, James Jesse 1813 - 1856
Swamp (logging)
Sweeper (logging)
tanning and leather processing
Taylor, William Robert 1820 - 1909
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1784-1835
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1836-1899
Wayne, Anthony, 1745-1796

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