Historical Marker #760 in Scottsville commemorates the naming of Allen County after Colonel John Allen, a War of 1812 casualty.
Born in 1771 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Allen's family moved to Kentucky when he was a child. Allen studied law in Virginia, married the daughter of famed pioneer Benjamin Logan, and eventually opened a successful law practice in Shelbyville. Allen, who served in the Kentucky House and Senate and lost a bid for governor, was soon recognized as one of the Bluegrass State's best attorneys.
During the War of 1812, Allen became colonel of the 1st Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Militia. At the Battle of the River Raisin (Michigan), the American lines broke and Allen's troops were pushed back into some woods. Allen tried to rally his men, but his soldiers retreated for two miles. During this withdrawal, Allen was shot in the chest and killed by a Native American.
One nineteenth century historian said of Allen, "In the judgment of all who knew him, had [Allen] lived, his reputation and fame would not have been dimmed even by those of Henry Clay." Sadly, however, the War of 1812 took this promising Kentuckian. Allen County, established in 1815, was named in his honor.