Book Review: Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, entrepreneur, and Spy By Allen H. Mesch

Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy by Allen Mesch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author Allen Mesch has chosen a virtually unknown, yet quite important ancestor to research and follow through life in this biographical and historical work of excellence which only adds to his already formidable work as an historian.
Who would have though that a man from New Hampshire, graduate of Dartmouth College and apparently destined to become a lifelong lawyer practicing in the state of Maine, would elect in 1849, at the age of thirty-six, to take his wife and three children two thousand miles across the country to settle in The Republic of Texas and open a practice in Clarksville.
From what could have been a simple beginning and lifelong small town legal practice, Ebenezer Allen’s contacts, personality and command of the legal system catapults him into the stratosphere of Texas politics and the struggle for Texas to stay liberated from Mexico and be entered into the United States so that it becomes the seventh slave state to secede from the Union.
The resume of the man is impressive: Attorney General of The Republic of Texas under Presidents Sam Houston and Anson Jones, Secretary of State under Jones, and helps usher in the entry of Texas to full statehood in 1845.
Leaving politics, Allen then forges a new pathway into Texas history in forming the Galveston and Red River Railroad Company and even has the first engine owned by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad named for himself following a return to the political scene of Texas as Attorney General under Governor Peter Bell.
As Texas moves into the Civil War as a Confederate state, Allen becomes a member of the Galveston Commission on Public Safety, is appointed to the Confederate Engineer Bureau where he presents a key military invention of an underwater mine to the military.
With things apparently going well for Allen and his work with the Confederate government, hints arise that he may be selling military information and secrets to the United States government.
Allen’s sudden demise in 1863, gives credence to the high probability of his assassination as a spy.
Readers of detail and highly knowledgeable to Texas History as well as those persons withing to build a detailed knowledge of the communications between the government of Texas and the United States will be able to follow all the fine research within this tale of a man who was instrumental in many of the key governmental decisions made by the presidents and governors of Texas between 1844 and his death in 1863.

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