William J. Allen

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William Joshua Allen
William Joshua Allen
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
In office
April 18, 1887 – January 26, 1901
Appointed by Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Samuel Hubbel Treat, Jr.
Succeeded by J. Otis Humphrey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th district
In office
March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1865
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Andrew J. Kuykendall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 9th district
In office
June 2, 1862 – March 3, 1863
Preceded by John A. Logan
Succeeded by Lewis W. Ross
Member of the Illinois Senate
In office
Personal details
Born (1829-06-09)June 9, 1829
Wilson County, Tennessee
Died January 26, 1901(1901-01-26) (aged 71)
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Political party Democratic
Parents Willis Allen
Alma mater University of Louisville Law Department LL.B.
Profession Attorney

William Joshua Allen (June 9, 1829 – January 26, 1901) was a United States Representative from Illinois during much of the American Civil War, and was later a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.


Born in Wilson County, Tennessee as a son of Willis Allen, he moved with his father to Franklin (now Williamson) County, Illinois, about 1830, and in 1839 settled in Marion. Allen attended the common schools, and received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Louisville Law Department in 1848. He was admitted to the bar in 1849 and was an enrolling and engrossing clerk for the Illinois state legislature in 1849 and 1851. He was in private practice in Metropolis from 1849 to 1853, and in Marion from 1853 to 1862. He was appointed as a prosecuting attorney of 26th judicial district of Illinois from 1853 to 1854, serving briefly as a state senator of Illinois State Legislature in 1855, before becoming the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois from 1855 to 1859. Allen was elected judge of the circuit court of the twenty-sixth judicial circuit on June 24, 1859, and served until 1861.

Allen was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John A. Logan. He was reelected to the Thirty-eighth Congress and served from June 2, 1862, to March 3, 1865. His vote on the Thirteenth Amendment is recorded as nay. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1864. He served as member of the State constitutional conventions in 1862 and 1870, and served as delegate to all Democratic National Conventions from 1864 to 1888. He was in private practice in Cairo (where he partnered with Samuel P. Wheeler) from 1865 to 1874, in Carbondale from 1874 to 1886, and in Springfield from 1886 to 1887.

On April 18, 1887, Allen received a recess appointment from President Grover Cleveland to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois vacated by Samuel Hubbel Treat, Jr.. Formally nominated on December 20, 1887, Allen was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 19, 1888, and received his commission the same day. Allen served until his death; he died while visiting Hot Springs, Arkansas. Allen was interred in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John A. Logan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 9th congressional district

June 2, 1862 - March 3, 1863
Succeeded by
Lewis W. Ross
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1863 - March 3, 1865
Succeeded by
Andrew J. Kuykendall
Legal offices
Preceded by
Samuel Hubbel Treat, Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Succeeded by
J. Otis Humphrey