It seems Allen never had any interviews or articles wrote about his days at the Alamo, It looks like a man who lived so long and was a mayor of a town would have left something in print about being a messenger from the Alamo! Are there any legends or tells passed on from his family or friends that are not mainstream and I wonder did he have an aversion to talk about it?
Post by Rich Curilla on Aug 8, 2010 16:04:18 GMT -5
And Allen was a college graduate, whom you would think would have had a literacy that would have encouraged him to *write it down,* but no, nothing. Of course, he might have felt too guilty (unnecessarily, in my book) to talk or write about it.
I do seem to remember that SOMEbody wrote down what he said, otherwise where does the story of drawing straws come from?
Post by Hollowhorn on Sept 5, 2012 16:19:41 GMT -5
In his book 'The Blood of Heroes' (P.271) James Donovan claims that the 'L' in James L. Allen stands for 'Lemuel' The only other reference to this that I have found is in the book: The Sons of the Republic of Texas
Post by loucapitano on Dec 12, 2015 17:44:57 GMT -5
I'm resurrecting this thread on behalf of a friend and fellow enthusiast Phil Guarnieri who wrote me about purported Alamo courier and survivor, 21 year old James Allen and a number of frustrating questions that remain unanswered. Allen left no written account and all we know of his story comes from others who he told bits and pieces about the siege. Here is what Phil was able to collect: Allen left the Alamo after nightfall on March 5th. He shared his story with three reliable listeners who later wrote down what he said and all agreed Allen was a truthful and honest man. He did not appear to be a fly by night raconteur. However, the details he left were so sparse that he clearly was not building himself up or embellishing the story. Allen reached Goliad on March 8th and his arrival is recorded in two different letters: Burr H. Duval to William P. Duval dated March 9, 1836 and John Sower Brooks to James Hagerty, also on the ninth. These letters related how every shot by the Mexican army is getting through the Alamo and the walls are weak. The letter also state about 200 defenders were holed up in the besieged mission. That's all we seem to know. This, of course, is so frustrating because there is so much more that Allen could have shared. It seems odd that he carried no written communications, unless they were lost. We know several letters left the Alamo on March 3rd and earlier and survived. Yet, the oral accounts of Allen's say nothing about letters he carried with him. It's hard to believe he left the Alamo in such desperate straits empty handed. The Texans had to know Mexican reinforcements had arrived. In Phil's own words, "there had to be some last plea for help or at least another testimony by Travis for martyrdom. Travis was very conscious that the binoculars of history were upon him and would not have stilled his voice about the garrison's determination and sacrifice." Even more frustrating is Allen's stone silence about the Alamo. He was an intelligent, literate and responsible citizen who served as tax assessor, justice of the peace, and Mayor of Indianola. He died in 1901 at age 86. Perhaps he suffered from a form of survivor's guilt because nothing could draw him out of his shell of silence. Years later when the Rose story of Travis and the line in the dust emerged,he said nothing. We could speculate that when he left the doomed garrison behind, even after a few hours, he could hear the thunderous sounds of the final assault. What he must have felt at that moment. Assuming he was there, we can understand his emotional reluctance. But his silence causes Phil and I to wring our hands over what he could have left us. We wonder what members of the Forum can add. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season. Lou from Long Island
Post by Rich Curilla on Dec 12, 2015 22:36:07 GMT -5
Remember too that anybody in this situation would have been faced with chides and criticisms from the general public, no matter how justifiable his exit from the Alamo was. So perhaps more than any guilt feelings he might have had, he may have just wanted to leave it alone and not be subjected to the abuse. If nobody knew, no one would ask him or accuse him. Not sayin', just... sayin'.
What evidence is there that Allen was actually sent out as a messenger? If he was an intelligent man, perhaps he finally came to terms with the hopelessness of the situation, and discretion being the better part of valor, took his chances in the dark in open country. Going to settlements and relaying the story of the situation at the fort might have been, to him, a way to clear his conscience. I cannot say I would blame a man in that situation and it would explain his reticence in later life.
I think that on balance that is the most likely explanation, whether he managed to get out before the morning of March 6 or was one of those who did manage to get away in the breakout at the end.
Its worth recalling in thinking this one through, just how many Texians managed to escape the Goliad massacre in broad daylight. We really oughtn't be surprised to find a few escaping the Alamo at the end given the poor light and available cover. That trio reported near Goliad may not have been the only ones to make it out.
STUART In battle men are apt to lose their self possession, and do very absurd things.
Post by loucapitano on Jan 13, 2016 16:52:01 GMT -5
Thanks to all of you who responded to our inquiry about James Allen. Like "all things Alamo" this seems to be just another mystery where most every conclusion is valid and no way to uncover the facts of the matter. Unless someone uncovers a long lost manuscript we'll just have to live with our frustrations and add this one to the myriad of facts and myths about those legendary events in 1836. Lou from Long Island
James L Allen was my great great great great grandfather. It was always told in our family about him being the last messanger. Since I was a kid I thrived on this belief. I have no written paper on him with any messages saying he was the last messanger though. I still and will always believe he was. Our family has been proud of this since I can remember. And was said long before that. That's all I know of right now. But if it was passed down to me this far in words that were told by my ancestors, to my grandmother now, I believe it.