John Mills Allen

John Mills Allen (July 8, 1846 – October 30, 1917), known as "Private John" Allen, was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Mississippi.

John Mills Allen
John Mills Allen by C M Bell.jpg
Allen, photographed by C. M. Bell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1901
Preceded byHenry Muldrow
Succeeded byEzekiel S. Candler, Jr.
Personal details
Born(1846-07-08)July 8, 1846
Tishomingo County, Mississippi
DiedOctober 30, 1917(1917-10-30) (aged 71)
Tupelo, Mississippi
Political partyDemocratic

Allen was born in Tishomingo County, Mississippi on July 8, 1846. He attended the common schools during the Civil War, enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army, and served throughout the war. Allen also attended Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon, Tennessee, and graduated from the law department of the University of Mississippi in 1870. Allen was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Allen served as district attorney for the first judicial district of Mississippi from 1875 to 1879. He was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth and to the seven succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1901). He gained the nickname "Private John" Allen campaigning for Congress. He was a private throughout the Civil War, and proud of it. In one campaign he ran against a former general. He said that everyone who served as a general in the civil war should vote for the general, " . . . and all of you who were privates and stood guard over the generals while they slept, vote for Private John Allen!" Allen won in a landslide and was thereafter known as "Private John" Allen.[1]

Allen served as chairman of the Committee of Expenditures in the Department of Justice (Fifty-second Congress), and of the Committee on Levees and Improvements of the Mississippi River (Fifty-third Congress).

Allen declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1900 to the Fifty-seventh Congress and then he was appointed in March 1901 as United States commissioner to the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. Afterwards he resumed the practice of law in Tupelo, Mississippi, and died there October 30, 1917.[2] He was interred in Glenwood Cemetery.


  1. ^ Boller,Paul F., Congressional Anecdotes, Oxford University Press, 1991
  2. ^ "'Private' Allen Dies at Tupelo". The Chattanooga News. Jackson, Mississippi. October 30, 1917. p. 10. Retrieved January 2, 2021 – via


  • Faries, Clyde J. "The Rhetoric of Private John Allen." Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, 1965; Gentry, Claude. Private John Allen: Gentleman, Statesman, Sage, Prophet. Baldwyn, Miss: The author, 1951.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by