Senator Joseph Holmes Allen View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 6/13/1948
Birth County: Marshall
Party Affiliation: Republican
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 32 (1907) - 36 (1915)
Home County: Pocahontas
Family Members Who Served in the Iowa Legislature: Son: Byron G. Allen; GAs 42 - 44; Brother-in-law: Fred C. Gilchrist; GAs 29, 40 - 43; Niece: Frances G. Hakes; GAs 59, 60
Joseph Holmes Allen
Pocahontas County


MR. PRESIDENT: Your committee, appointed to prepare suitable resolutions commemorating the life, character and public service of the late Honorable Joseph H. Allen, begs leave to submit the following:

Mr. Joseph Holmes Allen, attorney, banker and legislator, died at Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, June 13, 1948; tributes were paid at services held in the First Congregational Church of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Mr. Allen was born in Marshall county, Iowa, November 12, 1870. He grew up on his father's farm, was educated in the rural school, and Marshalltown high school, graduating from there in 1889. For two years he was engaged in banking and abstract business with his father and brothers at Laurens, Iowa. He had always taken a prominent part in civic affairs; was a member of the board of deacons and had taught an adult Bible class in the local Congregational Church. Was a past member of the board of the Civic and Commerce association and a member of that organization's industrial committee. A charter member of the VFW in Iowa, he affiliated with the local post and was its oldest member. Having made and saved enough in a few years, he enrolled at the University of Iowa in 1891, and by combining the collegiate and law courses, was graduated from the two departments in 1895.

Located at Laurens in the practice of law; formed a company of volunteers at Laurens in 1898 for service in the Spanish-American War, but when it became evident that the organization could not be entered as a unit, he, with eleven others of the company, enlisted as privates in Company F., Forty-ninth Iowa volunteer infantry, remaining with the regiment until its return from Cuba.

Soon after returning home, June 29, 1899, he married Miss Grace Gilchrist, daughter of one of the founders and first president of the Iowa State Teachers College.

In 1900 he joined with his brothers in the establishing of a private bank at Pocahontas, Iowa. Was elected a member of the board of regents of the State University in 1902, and resigned to take a seat in the Iowa Senate upon election, serving from 1907 to and including 1916, from the Fiftieth district, composed of Pocahontas, Buena Vista and Humboldt Counties; resided at Pocahontas, Iowa, practicing law and in banking for twenty-five years; became a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in the 1916 state primary, receiving 48,000 votes, losing in a three-cornered race between himself, George Cosson and William L. Harding, the latter receiving the nomination.

In 1918, the Allen family moved to Des Moines, where Mr. Allen became interested in the First Mortgage Corporation of Iowa, serving as President thereof. Practiced law as a member of the firm of Allen & Whitfield. Was elected mayor of Des Moines in 1936, serving one term. During the term of office there were many changes in Des Moines municipal government and in public improvements. His campaigns brought him ardent support and his efforts in reform made fighting enemies.

He later moved to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and engaged in the real estate and farm management business with his son Byron G. Allen, a former representative in the Iowa House from 1927 to 1931.

Surviving Mr. Allen are his wife, Grace; his daughter, Josephine; his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Byron G. Allen; grandchildren, Virginia and Eric G. Allen, third grandchild, Joseph W. preceded him in death, is buried beside him at Pocahontas.

Mr. Allen was a member of the Congregational Church, a 32nd degree Mason; affiliated with the Phi Delta Theta college fraternity and Phi Delta Phi, a legal fraternity, and for several years had been annually recognized in “Who’s Who” in America.

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Fifty-third General Assembly: That in the passing of Senator Allen, Iowa has lost a distinguished citizen, valued and honored; a man who devoted many years of his life to public service; a man of friendship and ability, and the Senate extends its most sincere sympathy to each and all of the members of his family.

Be It Further Resolved: That a copy of this resolution be spread upon the Journal of the Senate and that the Secretary be directed to forward enrolled copies to the members of the family of the deceased.





The resolution was unaimously adopted.