Elijah Allen, the eldest son of Andrew Lee Allen and Clarinda Knapp Allen, was born in the town of Burton, Cattaraugus Co., New York, February 7, 1826. The family became converts to the Latter-day Saint faith and moved from place to place with the Saints.
While Elijah was still in his teens he went out to find work. Failing to find employment he returned to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the family was then residing, and called on Brigham Young to ask for counsel. President Young told him to stop with him and go to work, which he did. He remained with President Young until the Church moved West, and then drove one of the teams to Winter Quarters. While at Winter Quarters, the government made a call for five hundred men and when President Young asked him if he would go with the Battalion, he said "Yes." President Young gave him a blessing and told him he would make the journey in safety and return again to his parents in good health.
Elijah marched as a Private in Company "B" to California. While enroute, he became seriously ill. One evening, as the company sat around the campfire deciding what to do next, Elijah heard the Captain of Company "B" make the remark that they were due at a certain place at a certain time and that Mr. Allen's sickness was the only thing that was holding them back. So, they decided to put him in the back of a wagon and travel with him anyway. Their plans were to start before daylight. During the night, as he did not feel well enough to make the trip and was afraid that the party would be compelled to stop on his account, he crawled out of the wagon and off into the sagebrush to die. As he lay there suffering he heard the wagons pulling out. The words of Brigham Young's blessing to him came to his mind, and he thought to himself, this is one time Brigham Young's prophecies would not be fulfilled. When all the wagons were out of sight, he crawled back to the campfire where he fell asleep. There he had a dream that the things that Brigham Young told him would come to pass.
As the hours went by, the doctor of the company decided that he had better look back into the wagon to see how the sick man was coming along. When he found Elijah missing, he was provoked: "That is just like that independent boy," but he ordered some of the men to turn back to find him. They found him lying asleep by the campfire. After scolding him severely, they placed him in the wagon and started on the return journey. By nightfall, he was feeling better and gradually regained his strength as the days went by. After reaching California, he was discharged along with other members of his camp on July 16, 1847.
Again he was taken ill, and after his recovery, he obtained employment at the San Gabriel Mission, where he worked until 1848. In February of that year, together with several other men, he started for the Great Salt Lake Valley with about 200 head of cattle that had been purchased for the church. After a difficult journey, he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the latter part of May, 1848. He traded a sack of gold dust, which he had brought with him from California, for twenty acres in the heart of Salt Lake City. Later he traded that property for a larger piece of ground near Fort Douglas where he commenced farming.
Elijah married Eliza Ann Bickmore, sister of the man who had been his
constant companion in the Mormon Battalion, May 2, 1852. They lived at
Provo, where he was an active member of the Twenty-first Quorum of
Seventies, then moved to Fort Herriman where he farmed for a living. He
died there April 12, 1866 at the age of forty, leaving his wife with
seven small children to rear.—Lenna Parkinson Allen and Susie