wonder if Edward treated Mary better than his
subsequent wives. Might have. His grief at her death
was described as inconsolable.
Mary S. Wenthe Allen (b. 1876) married forty-two
year old Edward Everett Allen (1860-1942) in 1898.
Mary bore a daughter the year of the Iroquois fire,
Myrtle E. Allen. Myrtle’s name appeared in the 1910
census as a resident of Edward’s house, but I could
not find record of her birth in Chicago or anything
about the girl later in life.
Edward was a paint salesman from Canada or
Massachusetts, depending on when he told the story.
The first half of his live he said he was from
Massachusetts; the last half he said Canada. He also
only cited two wives but there were at least three,
and there was a son from a fourth woman. During an
era when divorce was unusual, two of his wives
divorced him, each after only four years of
marriage. One sued him for an additional $25,000,
His story of his career went that he was hired in to
a paint company as a bookkeeper but switched to
production because he wanted to learn the business
from the ground up. That may be, but in 1900 he was
a shoe salesman. In the next twenty years he moved
into paint sales and in 1921 formed his own paint
company. It operated out of an office in the LaSalle
building in Chicago so manufacturing may have been
contracted out and the products private labeled.
of his customers in the 1930s was the Schwinn
bicycle company for small cans of touch-up paint. A
few cans have turned up on Ebay. Based on the
near-zero info on the web about Edward E. Allen or
his company, I suspect he wasn't
spent some time trying to learn if working with lead
paint made him a cranky husband and impaired his
memory enough to make him forget the country of his
birth. His serial marriage years were 1882-1909 but
I can’t pinpoint his paint-mixing years. In any
case, male infertility is a consequence of even
small doses of lead and Edward claimed fatherhood
of four children created between 1882 and 1906,
during which time he was was making paint.
of his children is pictured in the accompanying 1925
photo; she is Eleanor A. Allen (1906-1969), born by
Olivia Mary Schmidt.
There was nothing in 1903-4 newspapers about Mary’s
funeral, burial or that she left behind an infant
daughter. Her body was taken to Rolston’s mortuary
where it was identified by Edward. The pair lived at
5546 Drexel Blvd. at the time of their wedding.
Edward had at least eight different rental addresses
between 1900 and 1942.