Descendants and Relatives of
Benjamin Allen & Sarah Somers of New Brunswick, Canada
(and a few strays)

(Please note that if your browser uses HTML 4 or above, you will not be able to view the attached files, but the Bibliography should still be readable.)

Last update July 2011


The Benjamin Allen Family Tree
Other Sites of Interest


Benjamin Allen was born 1735 either in Scotland or Connecticut. He was a soldier under British General Wolfe at Louisburg in 1758 and at Quebec in 1759. In 1783 he received a first land grant at Mispec, Saint John Co. New Brunswick, Canada and a second land grant at Baie Verte, Westmorland Co. New Brunswick. In 1771 at Fort Cumberland Nova Scotia (now Ft. Beausejour, NB) he married Eva Magdalena "Sarah" Somers, a daughter of Matthias Somers of Moncton NB.

The story is told that Benjamin Allen was extremely shy, hence the name "Shy Ben". One night after returning from a long trip, he found a New Year's Eve dance in progress at Fort Cumberland. After suitable liquid fortification, he went to the center of the dance floor and said: "I am in dire need of a wife! Who will have me?" Up stepped a hearty lass of German descent, Sarah Somers, who said "I'll have you, Ben!". The happy couple were married on the spot by a minister who happened to be in attendance. It is said that any pugnacious tendencies in the Allen female descendants can be attributed to Sarah. [The male line may have certain tendencies too, as shown in the next paragraph.]

Stories are also told of their adventurous son Matthew Allen. In New Brunswick it is said of Matthew Allen that at the time of the Anglo-American War (1812) during a trip to the United States a press gang took him and a companion on board a man-of-war and induced them to enlist. One night as the ship was lying at anchor off one of the West India Islands, they jumped overboard with the hope of swimming ashore. Allen reached shore and expecting to be followed by a guard from the ship took refuge under an upturned boat on the shore. One of them suggested that the deserter might be hidden under the boat but no search was made and Allen escaped. After spending some days on the Island he found a friendly vessel that finally landed him at Halifax. His companion was never heard from and it is supposed that he was drowned in his attempt to desert from the man-of-war. [A History and Story of Botsford, by W. M. Burns, 1933]

A different version of this story is told in Pictou County, Nova Scotia:
There were incidents of course when the press gangs did capture a few Pictou men; such as the time they came sneaking along the shoreline to suddenly make a dash for a number of young men cutting timber. At the first alarm the Pictou men took to the deep woods, but hard on their heels came the men of the press gang, with swinging swords, clubs and loaded muskets. The majority of the Pictou men got away, but two were taken - Edward Crae and Matthew Allen, both stout men, but slow of foot. These two were pounced upon by six jubilant pressmen. Within minutes both had been subdued in the brief but exciting fight that followed. Matthew Allen, claimed as the most notorious bruiser of the township, laid three of the press gang with bleeding and battered heads before he was struck from behind and clubbed to his knees. His face was one bloody mess when the press gang dragged him away. Edward Crae remained uninjured as he gave up quietly in the face of the cutlass-swinging pressmen. While some in the county, who had run foul of the two bruisers in the past, were glad to see them go, official protests were made to the Provincial Governor, who, in turn, requested the release of the local men. Before that order had been processed, the two captives made good their escape by swimming ashore at Antigua. As far as was ever known, the two never returned to the township of Pictou, which many considered a blessing. [Pictou Pioneers: a story of the first hundred years in the history of Pictou town; by Roland H. Sherwood 1973]

In fact, Matthew Allen, who had been working in Pictou, finally returned to Cape Tormentine, NB about 1815 at age 32, married Mary Ann Dobson and settled down. They had a large family with many descendants, some of them shy, and some not.


This information presented here should be regarded as a guide only. It is based on a wide variety of sources, sometimes conflicting, and no claim can be made concerning accuracy. Some but not all of the sources are shown in the detailed family tree. Changes will be made from time to time; new information from readers is welcome, provided the source of the information is also given to assist in resolving differences.


Acknowledgement is made of contributions by the following people:
  • The following three people, now deceased, who began the research into the New Brunswick Allens: my father, Melvin Walter Trenholm of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (son of William Olsen Trenholm); his cousins Percy Trenholm of Sackville, New Brunswick, and Vaughn Trenholm of Montreal, Quebec.
  • Allin Kingsbury of San Jose, California.
  • Ian F. Paul of Sackville, New Brunswick, for information on many of the local families.
  • Many others, in particular, the late Dr. Albert Dobson of Abbotsford B.C., Arthur Owen of Ottawa and Members of the "Dobson/Wells Group".
  • Many other specific contributions are listed in the source references.


The detailed genealogy is limited to about 6,500 Allen descendants, relatives and their spouses,
These people are listed in an alphabetical index and displayed in a linked tree format. Source references are given, but please TAKE WARNING!!: REFERENCE FILE IS 3.0 MB AND COULD TAKE 20 MINUTES OR MORE TO OPEN THE FIRST TIME YOU CLICK ON A REFERENCE NUMBER!!.

In order to keep the reference file from growing further, the full details of some of the frequently-used references have been moved to a separate Bibliography. In the Family Tree, these references are denoted by a short description, beginning with: [Cem.] for Cemetery; [Census] for Census; [Coll.] for other large collections; [FBible] for Family Bible; [FGEN] for Family Genealogy; [I] for information from an individual; [LHG] for Local History & Genealogy; [VS] for Vital Statistics. The link to the Bibliography appears near the end of this page.

BENJAMIN ALLEN FAMILY TREE - start here for Benjamin "Shy Ben" Allen of New Brunswick (1735- 1823)

- start here for MATTHIAS SOMERS (1720-1768) of Moncton New Brunswick

SURNAME LIST for 6,500 people connected to the Allen Family Tree

NAME INDEX for 6,500 people connected to the Allen Family Tree


A Plus sign (+) means that more descendants are listed in source documents

An asterisk (*) marks the ancestors of my grandfather William Olsen Trenholm (1889-1982).

A first name in lower case, e.g. "baby john" means the person died very young



The bibliography contains detailed information for some of the sources used in the Trenholm & Allen Family Trees. The bibliography can be browsed without reading the family tree. In the Family Tree source file, these references are denoted by short names: [Cem.] for Cemetery; [Census] for Census; [Coll.] for other large collections; [FBible] for Family Bible; [FGEN] for Family Genealogy; [I] for information from an individual; [LHG] for Local History and Genealogy; [VS] for Vital Statistics.
Bibliography for Trenholm & Allen Families (55K)


Other Allen sites

Other families in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

Genealogy Societies

General Information


Return to Stray Cat Genealogy Main Page
Barbara Trenholm, PO Box 494, Dartmouth NS Canada B2Y3Y8
(please do not expect an immediate reply)

Created by Reunion for Macintosh version 5.02 (I do not recommend later versions), from Leister Productions, Inc.