James Allison

James A. Allison (1823 - 1900)

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Reverend James A. Allison
Born in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Died in Leet Township, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 16 May 2017
This page has been accessed 64 times.


James was born in 1823. He was the son of James Allison and Elizabeth Brickell.

REV. JAMES ALLISON, D.D., was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., September 27, 1823, son of JAMES ALLISON, who was born in the Cumberland Valley, Pa. When 17 years old, he was brought by his father to the neighborhood of the Lebanon church, Allegheny Co., where the family resided for several years. Then they moved to what is now known as Allison Park, on the Pittsburgh & Western Railroad, nine miles from Pittsburgh. His mother was a daughter of GEORGE BRICKELL, one of the earliest settlers of a district now included in Pittsburgh. GEORGE was brought from Fort Redstone to this place in 1760, when only six years old; and there he lived until his death in 1852, at the age of 98.

DR. ALLISON'S father was of Scotch-Irish descent, his ancestors coming from the north of Ireland to the Cumberland valley between the years 1729 and 1750, that they might escape from the extortions of the landlords. Their descendants are now found in large numbers in different parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana. The mother of DR. ALLISON was a descendant of one of the German families that came to Pennsylvania at an early day. Her father and uncles took an active part in the conflicts with the Indians, and both the parents of DR. ALLISON came of Revolutionary stock.

When he was an infant, his father purchased a large farm near Bakerstown, in the northern part of this county, where he passed his boyhood, beginning at a very early age to work on the farm. He attended first the common schools of the neighborhood. Then for a time he went to a private school taught by the Rev. Peter Jones, afterward to an academy in Bakerstown, of which the Rev. Thomas C Guthrie, D.D., a Covenanter clergyman, was principal; and for six months previous to entering college he was a student in an academy at Hickery, Washington Co., of which the Rev. John Moore was principal. He entered Jefferson College at Canonsburg, Pa., in the autumn of 1842, and graduated in the fall of 1845. Immediately afterward he became a student of the Western Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in the spring of 1848, having been licensed in the previous October by the old Presbytery of Allegheny at a meeting held in the church of Slate Lick, of which the late Rev. John Reddick was then pastor. On the Sabbath after leaving the seminary he preached to what was then the small church of Sewickley, on the bank of the Ohio River, (pg. 53 – picture of JAMES ALLISON) (pg. 55) twelve miles below Pittsburgh. On the 16th of October, 1849, he was ordained and installed pastor. He served this church for a period of 16 years, during which time 276 members were received on confession of faith and 231 by certificate. In the meantime the largest and finest house of worship in Allegheny County outside of Pittsburgh had been built.

In February, 1864, DR. ALLISON resigned his pastoral work to devote himself entirely to editorial work. When a student at college he had occasionally written for the secular press, and soon after entering the ministry he became a frequent contributor to the religious papers. For a time he was the regular Pittsburgh correspondent for the Presbyterian Banner,” which had been established in Philadelphia by the Rev. David McKinney, D.D. Upon its removal to Pittsburgh and consolidation with the “Presbyterian Advocate” he became an assistant editor. In 1857 he became a partner of the publishers, who dissolved partnership in 1862; but in February, 1864, he and the late Robert Patterson, Esq., then a professor in Centre College, Kentucky, forming the firm of James Allison & Co., purchased the “Presbyterian Banner” from Dr. McKinney. Mr. Patterson had studied law and been admitted to the bar, but for many years had devoted himself to teaching. He died from an attack of paralysis in the fall of 1888, greatly lamented. To Dr. Allison his death was a personal bereavement.

“The Presbyterian Banner,” at the time of its purchase by Messrs. Allison & Patterson, had only a small circulation, but this at once began to increase; and for many years it has been among the most widely circulated and most influential religious journals of the world. The name has several times been changed, of the “Recorder,” founded by the Rev. John Andrews, July 5, 1814, at Chillicothe, Ohio, the first religious newspaper, of the matter and style of such publications now, published in the world. “The Pittsburg Circular,” which was the means of bringing about the reunion of the old and new school branches of the Presbyterian church, was suggested and written by him.

DR. ALLISON resides in Sewickley. (pg. 56) He has been married twice. His first wife, to whom he was married August 19, 1851, was MARY ANDERSON, daughter of one of the leading citizens of Allegheny County. She died October 31, 1853, leaving one daughter, LIZZIE TAYLOR ALLISON, now the wife of JOSEPH W. REINHART, a well-known railroad man, residing in Plainfield, N.J. His second wife is CAROLINE SNOWDEN ALLISON, daughter of the HON. JOHN M. SNOWDEN, a widely known and highly influential citizen of Pittsburgh. He was married to her November 6, 1856. The only child of this marriage was a son, JOHN M. SNOWDEN, born August 19, 1859. JOHN M. graduated with honor from the Western University of Pennsylvania, entered the office of his father, and soon gave evidence of the possession of the highest order of newspaper ability. He died December 27, 1887. [1]

He passed away in 1900. Burial: Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. Plot: Section: 11 Lot: 10 / 12 Grave: 1. [2]


  1. Biographical Review Volume XXIV, Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Pittsburgh and the Vicinity Pa, Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company 1897.
  2. James Allison Memorial Page on Find A Grave. James Allison
  • Biographical Review Volume XXIV, Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Pittsburgh and the Vicinity Pa, Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company 1897.
  • Biographical Review Volume XXIV, Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Pittsburgh and the Vicinity, Pennsylvania. Published: Biographical Review Publishing Company, Boston, 1897. Rev. James Allison, D.D. pgs 52-56
  • The History of the Alison, or Allison Family in Europe and America, A.D. 1135 to 1893 by Leonard Allison Morrison, 1893. James A. Allison pgs 126-127.

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