From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Allensworth, Allen [Allensworth, CA]

(born: 1842  -  died: 1914) 

Allen Allensworth was born enslaved in Louisville, KY, the son of Levi and Phyllis Allensworth. He escaped and became a nurse during the Civil War and later joined the Navy and became a chief petty officer.

After the war, he returned to Kentucky and became a schoolteacher, ordained minister, and delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1880 and 1884. He was appointed chaplain of the 24th Infantry by President Cleveland and received promotion to lieutenant colonel.

In 1890, Allensworth moved to California and established a company to assist African Americans in their migration to California. The town of Allensworth was developed, the first and still the only California town founded by African Americans. Today the area where the town once stood is Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

Allensworth was the husband of Josephine Leavell Allensworth, also a Kentucky native.

For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; "Rev. Allen Allensworth, A.M." on pp. 198-199 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; and Allensworth: California'sFirst Black Community; Friends of Allensworth. For more about Allen Allensworth's military career, see his entry in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldierby F. N. Schubert.

See photo image of Allen Allensworth on p.189 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery; "Lt. Col. Allen Allensworth" at the Monrovia, California website; and "Westerly Winds and Big Skies, Finding Colonel Allen Allensworth" at the Rediscovering Black History website at the National Archives online.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Allensworth, Allen [Allensworth, CA],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-03-17 17:41:36