Illiam Francis Allison was born September 7, 1847, in Lockhaven, Pennsylvania, and, like many men who achieve success in business or distinction in public life, his early years were passed on a farm, where are instilled habits of industry, and the seeds of a sturdy, selfreliant manhood are sown which ripen into true grandeur of character. Young Allison’s inclination being rather toward mercantile pursuits than agricultural, he left the farm and took a course in Commercial College at Poughkeepsie, New York. Though not of legal age, he exemplified his patriotism by enlisting in the Union army, and it was the hardships experienced in his country’s service that impaired his naturally frail constitution.
After spending a few months in a drug store his health gave way, and he went west as far as Nebraska, seeking to improve it. There he engaged in a milling enterprise, which did not prove satisfactory, and he returned to Lockhaven and accepted a fine position tendered him with the firm of Hastings & Carson, manufacturing druggists in Philadelphia, on a salary of $1,600 a year. Soon after entering their employ, the step which determined his subsequent business career, he married Miss A. R. MacManigal, a friend of his childhood and youth.
His health again failing, being attacked with hemorrhages of the lungs, he was compelled to resign his position much to the regret of his employers. He tried Minnesota a few months, then he went to Le Mars, Iowa, reaching there with his wife and child at the beginning of winter with less than $150 as his total worldly possession. Experiencing considerable difficulty in securing the rooms which served as their habitation for the winter, Mr. Allison embarked in the drug business in a very small way, struggling with the combined enemies, disease and poverty. Notwithstanding he was confined to his bed part of the time during the winter, he built up a trade in the six years that he carried on business there which yielded a net income of $300 a month. Still suffering from hemorrhages, he resolved as a last resort to come to Southern California, which he reached with his family, in August 1881, so reduced that he was unable to leave his bed for nearly a year. This salubrious climate, aided by his remarkable tenacity of life and indomitable energy, restored him to comfortable health, and in April 1882, he, in company with Dr. A. D. Bedford, started in the drug business on D Street. A year later they removed to the northeast corner of Third and D streets, where the firm conducted a flourishing trade until he purchased his partner’s interest in May 1888. Not long after that he took in J. A. Lamb as a partner, which relation continued until Mr. Allison’s death on November 22, 1889.
Besides being the managing head of a very successful drug house, Mr. Allison has been one of the most active and successful real-estate men in San Bernardino County, in spite of his physical infirmities with which he was affected. He possessed an exceptionally bright, active mind, and in all his relations in life exhibited a conscientious regard for the right, and integrity of character that was unimpeachable. Mr. Allison was a faithful member and a zealous and efficient worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, by whom the memory of his character and deeds is sacredly cherished. His wife and three children, two daughters and a son, survive him. Of a truth it may be said of him, he lived up to his highest ideal of duty.