John Allen was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 11 September 1771, the son of Ebenezer Allen (1738-1816) and Meribah Frazier (1743-1804), Loyalists and Sandemanian Church refugees. The family embarked for Halifax in 1776 when Boston was evacuated by the British Army. They apparently settled on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, where Ebenezer became a prominent businessman in the Woodlawn area. Ebenezer and his son Alexander Allen, along with John Stayner, purchased a tanyard property on the old Preston road in 1795. They formed the firm of “Stayner & Allens.” This partnership dissolved in 1798 and became “Stayner & Allen,” with John Stayner and John Allen as partners. The firm continued until 1816, when the property was divided and the partnership dissolved. John Allen continued the tannery on the Old Preston Road for many years. He married Sarah Stayner (1776-1861) in St. John’s Church, Preston in 1793. They had 16 children; all except two lived to adulthood. John Allen died on 12 January 1849 in Dartmouth.