(Note:  It is often difficult to properly place stories in the correct area.....where they can be easily found.  The story of Riley Allen and the Allen property location is one of these.  Although the physical land location was in the Town of Scio side of the map, the Allen Family namesake of Allentown was perhaps "built by Riley Allen".  Research is still being done to find out about a major fire which at some point nearly destroyed the whole hamlet and was supposedly rebuilt in a major part by the Allen promotion during the 1860s.  To date the Town Historian has no records found about any fire.   If anyone has material to share in support of this fire story please contact Webmaster)

During the 1950s the Wellsville Daily Reporter ran a series of articles called “Mystery Farm” for a weekly column.  This story was transcribed and submitted by Don Adams and is a typical story telling the history of our area which might be otherwise forgotten.   Thank You, Don, for researching and transcribing it for use here on our website…….webmaster, rt.

Mystery Farm One of Seven Operated by Riley Allen

By Connie Vincent


As we write the history of the next to last farm in the Reporter Mystery Farm Series, we write the history of Riley Allen, veteran oil producer and on the leading pioneers of Southern Allegany County.

Pictured at the right (n/a) is one of the seven farms he owned and operated in the vicinity of Allentown which bears his name and was laid out and plotted by him in 1881.  The farm is now owned by his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Orville Allen of 24 Oak Street, who went there as a bride in 1907.

Early in his life Riley Allen was engaged in lumbering in Scio and in the forests of Pennsylvania but when the oil excitement arose in Allegany, he was one of the first to join the ranks of its developers. In 1880 he formed a partnership with O.P. Taylor, known to many as the "Father of the Allegany Field" and driller of Triangle No. 1, As a company, their first producing well was at Sawyer's Station and was followed by the first well at Allentown. At one time, Mr. Allen was interested in 400 wells located in the Allegany field as well as large holdings in Pennsylvania and Ohio. History states he was probably the largest individual operator in this field.

Besides his oil interests and the seven farms with a dairy of 140 Ayrshires, he was also an owner of the Allentown cheese factory.

His son, Orville, one of eight children, bought the farm shown in the photo in 1907 and maintained a dairy operation on its 249 acres until 1936. It was purchased from Edgar Emerson who is thought to be the original land owner. Most of the land however, was cleared by Riley Allen.

The Riley homestead which adjoins this farm is now owned by his granddaughter Mrs. Charles Engelder and her husband.

During the time Mrs. Orville Allen and the late Mr. Allen  were engaged in general farm operations, they kept about 20 head of both Guernseys and Holsteins and raised hogs as a cash crop. They also kept chickens for their own use and their acreage was used exclusively to provide feed for the livestock.

Three years after the Allen's gave up active farming, Mr. Allen died. Prior to his death he had leased the oil rights to Ebenezer Oil Company and recently the property has been purchased by this concern with the exception of approximately two acres surrounding the buildings.

In 1942  Mrs. Allen moved to Wellsville when her oldest daughter Melvina died and since that time she has lived on Oak Street, raising her daughter's children, Sally and Fred Ward. Her youngest son, Lawrence and his family now reside on the home farm.

To occupy her spare time, Mrs Allen makes enormous Raggedy Ann type dolls and for years did all her own sewing. After her husband's death she became interested in the Red Cross and worked long hours during World War II sewing bandages. She is an avid horticulturist and spent much time when living in Allentown with her many flowers.

Besides Lawrence who is employed by Ebenezer Oil Company, and Mrs. Charles Engelder there are two other children; Riley II now living in Andover and Mrs. Sara Miller who lives at 55 Stevens Street. Mrs Allen was the former Hazel Lawrence of Olean.