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Biography of Allen, Nathaniel Topliff

Allen, Nathaniel Topliff, son of Ellis and Lucy (Lane) Allen, was born in Medfield, Norfolk County, Sept. 29, 1823. His native homestead farm has been owned and tilled by seven generations of Allens, noted for longevity, sterling common-sense, and rugged worth; and there, during his boyhood, the subject of this sketch followed the pursuits of his ancestors, and laid the foundation of a vigorous constitution. Three years of his minority were spent in a Waltham cotton mill, where he acquired a knowledge of textile manufacture; he also received a good common-school education in the public schools, a family school kept by Rev. Joseph Allen at Northborough, and Northfield Academy. Having chosen to become a teacher, he continued his studies in the Bridgewater state normal school, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, N. Y. He afterwards taught in the various public schools of Mansfield, Northborough, Northfield and Shrewsbury, until the spring of 1848, when he was appointed by Horace Mann, of the state board of education, to take charge of the model department of the normal school at West Newton. This position he filled with marked ability for nearly six years, when he established in connection with Rev. Cyrus Pierce, father of American normal schools, the institution of which he is now principal—the West Newton English and classical school. Mr. Allen has been one of the most progressive and successful educators of the last half-century, always advocating the liberal and thorough education of both sexes, and ready to introduce into his own school whatever proved to be sound in theory and useful in practice. This school, with its industrial department...

Biography of Allen, Joseph Henry

Allen, Joseph Henry, was born August 21, 1820, in Northborough, Worcester County, where his father (Joseph, born in Medfield, 1790, on the old homestead at Castle Hill, occupied since 1649 and still by the Allen family) was settled as minister of the town in 1816, and remained pastor of the First Parish till his death in 1873. His mother (Lucy Clark, born in Hingham, 1791, died 1866) was daughter of Prof. Henry Ware of Harvard University (1805-1845). He is seventh in descent, by the maternal line, of a series of Massachusetts Congregational ministers, including Thomas Clark, Chelmsford; John Hancock, Lexington; Nicholas Bowes, Bedford; Jonas Clark, Lexington; Henry Ward, Hingham; Joseph Allen, Northborough. The Allen family has been remarkable for the number of teachers and preachers born to the blood. The early education of the subject of our sketch was received in district schools and country occupations until the age of thirteen. He entered Harvard College at sixteen, having had little or no regular preparatory instruction, and was graduated in 1840, third in his class—the first rank being held by Prof. John B. Henck, the second by Judge George P. Sanger. Graduating from the Harvard divinity school in 1843, in Washington, D. C., 1847, and in Bangor, Me., 1850. Leaving Bangor in 1857, he was till 1863 engaged in private instruction at Jamaica Plain, then till 1866 in a parish charge in North-borough; since 1867 he has resided at Cambridge. He was for twelve years (until its discontinuance at the end of 1869) connected with the “Christian Examiner” as literary editor, editor-in-chief, and joint proprietor; then for eight years engaged...

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