Young John Allen was born in Burk Co, GA on Jan 3,1836. His parents were Andrew Young John Allen and Jane Wooten.His father being a man of more education than was common in Georgia, conducted for some years an academy for the benefit of the children and youth of the community, but subsequently he engaged successfully in cotton planting, in which he accumulated a small fortune.Young John was orphaned as a child and was raised by his maternal Aunt and Uncle, Nancy and Wiley Hutchins.
While attending his first year at Emory College, September 1854, he became engaged to Mary Houston, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Houston, who at the time was less than 16 years of age. He induced her to enter college at Lagrange, Georgia for a period of two years and then she transferred to Wesley College, Macon, Georgia. Graduating with First Honors in 1858.
Young John and Mary were married on July 22,1858 in Atlanta, Georgia by Rev. Osborn L. Smith D.D. In December 1859 they sailed to China, taking with them their young daughter Melvina, who later became Mrs. George R. Loehr. After seven long months aboard the sailing vessel "Seaman's Bride". they arrived in Shanghai, China in July 1860, where they were stationed for the rest of their lives. Mary kept open house, not only for the missionaries of her church, but for the many wayworn travellers of the other denominations as well. Remembering her own hardships on the sea, her heart went out especially to sailors. They always found a welcome at her home.
Mary's husband, Young John taught many Chinese gentlemen to read and write, started the first Chinese newspaper. He was also instrumental in starting the first Chinese young lady's school, The McTyeire Home and School for Girls. Young John also played a role in getting the Soong sisters ( one of whom was Mei-Ling, later the wife of Chang Kai shek) to come to America and be educated at Wesley College.
"During the period 1868-1883, Young John allen became involved in a variety of activities that expanded his views on the scope of missionary work. Beginning as a preacher and teacher, he soon became Editor of two newspapers, and later a third, as well as a translator for the Imperial government"
Dr. Allen passed away on May 30, 1907, after 47 years of distinguished service in China, but his wife continued to live in Shanghai. On May 24, 1927, exactly 20 years to the month of the passing of her husband, Mary also passed to her reward. She was 88 years old and had spent 67 of these years as a missionary to China, a record unprecedented in missionary annals.
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