Bio: Allen, Daniel (1837 - 1889)


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Daniel Allen charged with the murder of Henry Wright in the town of Loyal on May 10th, 1886, had his trial last week at Neillsville, the jury returning a verdict of guilty in the first degree. He will be sentenced on April 21st. Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark County, Wis.) 25 Mar 1889.


                   "Uncle Dan" Allen


Daniel was the son of Harvey Allen (1 May 1787 in Marborough, Berkshire Co., MA & d. 10 May 1848 in Hubbard, Dodge Co., WI) and Rachel Shepherd (b. 1796 in Newton, Trumbull Co., OH).  Rachel was the daughter of Solomon and Martha (Clark) Shepard and she married Harvey 9 Sep 1809.  Daniel was born 15 Nov 1837 in Braceville, Trumbull Co., OH.  He married Susan M. Patterson in Hubbard, Dodge Co., Wisconsin 3 Oct. 1858.  By 1880 they were living in Loyal, Clark Co., Wisconsin where Daniel later had an affair with the wife of Henry Wright.  He and Margaret Wright plotted the demise of her husband, Henry Wright and Daniel's wife, Susan (Patterson) Allen.  Henry died after being poisoned and Daniel was arrested and convicted for his murder.   However, Daniel was freed upon the confession of Margaret Wright who was then imprisoned for the death of her husband.  Apparently, she was then released from prison because Daniel admitted to the deadly deed but could not be retried for the crime under the double jeopardy rule imposed on all states by the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution. 


Fifth Amendment, United States Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


At the time of the 1900 census, Daniel was living on Avon St./Rd, La Crosse, Wisconsin with his daughter-in-law, Rosa (b. June 1867) and her children: Susie M. (June 1887), Eva A. (May 1889), Eddie (May 1892).  Daniel died at 1216 Logan St., La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1909, of lung congestion just 2 weeks after he'd married for a second time.  His unexpected death left his new bride, the former Margaret Van Vleet, a widow and he was buried in the local Campbell Cemetery where his grave was marked with an official military marker indicating his service to the Union during the Civil War.



Mrs. Wright’s Confession

Poisoning a Husband to get Possession of his Wife


The Woman’s Charge Against her Paramour –

His Narrow Escape from Judge Lynch –

Strychnine First and Arsenic After!


Neillsville, Wis., March 17. – This town the seat of Clark County, in the northern central part of Wisconsin, and on the verge of what was a few years ago the great wilderness, has been crowded for several days past owing to the trial of a murder case of more than ordinary interest.  Men and women are here from all parts of the timber country, and the throng desiring admission to the Court House is so great that relays have to be formed, in order to give all a chance.


Daniel Allen was, up to last May, one of the principal citizens of the Town of Loyal.  He had lived there ten or twelve years; had amassed a comfortable fortune as a farmer, lumberman, and land dealer, and was generally looked up to in the community.  He was about 50 years of age and had several children, his wife being an invalid.  In the spring of 1884 Henry Wright and family, consisting of a young and rather vivacious wife and four small children, moved to Loyal from Marshfield, and rented a farm of Allen, from whom they also obtained a house which stood not far from his own.  Into this tho newcomers moved, and made themselves at home.  Allen was very religious in his habits, and he not only took pains to see that his tenants wee assisted in every way that was in his power to become acquainted, but he manifested great interest in their spiritual welfare.  Wright thought he was a fine fellow, and informed many people of his kindness to him, while Mrs. Wright, as the sequel shows, was also led to believe that he was something more than that.  Some neighbors began to talk about Allen’s intimacy at the Wrights after a while, and before the first year was out it was common gossip in the town that Wright had good cause to be suspicious.  No doubts of his wife’s loyalty appear to have entered his head, however, and things went along until last April, when Wright fell mysteriously ill.  He grew better and was up and around, but some time later he became worse again, and taking to his bed he died without a physician.  Allen and Mrs. Wright were very attentive to him, the former being in the house most of the time and informing such neighbors asked after Wright that he was very sick and he alone could take care of him.  To one man he dwelt on the duty which devolved on all Christians to visit and to care for the sick, and piously expressed the opinion of his own virtues that he would get his reward in a better world.


When the people of Loyal heard that Wright was dead they made up their minds that something was wrong, and in spite of the protests of Allen and Mrs. Wright they determined on having a Coroner’s inquest and a postmortem examination.  These developed the fact that Wright had come to his death by poison, and Mrs. Wright and Allen were at once placed under arrest.  When taken the woman was on the road to Marshfield, where she expected to take a Wisconsin Central train, she having slipped out of town unnoticed.  On being locked up in the jail, Mrs. Wright broke down and made a confession implicating Allen, and insisting that he had not only suggested the crime, but had carried it out, she simply consenting to it.  While Allen denied this, the woman’s story was believed, and popular excitement became so great that a movement for the lynching of Allen was placed on foot.  Runners were sent out summoning the inhabitants of Loyal and Greenwood townships to meet at a certain place on a given night, where a plan for an attack in force upon the jail would be perfected and carried out.  Through some misunderstanding the crowd from Loyal and that from Greenwood failed to meet, and they passed the greater part of the night looking for each other, all separating at last at daylight, when completely exhausted by their tramp over rough country roads.  After that the guard in the jail was doubled, and the attempt to give Allen a short shrift was not renewed.


During the last ten months Allen and Mrs. Wright, though confined in the same small jail, have not seen each other more than once or twice but it is expected that certain notes have passed between them, and that these are now in the hands of the authorities. The woman has maintained her story, while Allen has denied it and has shown an intense longing to have the benefit of religious consolation.  On several occasions he has had services in the jail for his benefit, and a few times he has been taken under guard to church.


The trial of Allen, which is now in progress, was begun last week, but a jury was not obtained until Tuesday.  As soon as the arrests were made Wright’s vital organs were sent to Chicago for examination by a chemist and, after a brief statement of the facts which the State would present, Dr. W. S. Haines of Chicago was placed on the stand.  He found 2 ½ grains of arsenic in the stomach, and in one-fourth of the liver he found enough of the same poison to satisfy him that that entire organ must have contained 4 8-10 grains.  The drug was not entirely dissolved, and, in his opinion, it was not all administered at once.  Two local physicians testified to the appearance of the body immediately after death, and to the certainty that Wright had come to his death by poison.


The sensation of the week was caused by the appearance of Mrs. Wright as a witness against her paramour.  She came upon the stand without flinching, and told her story with a quiet assurance which was hardly interrupted at any time, though her cross-examination was most searching. She said: "Allen made himself very agreeable to me, and after he seduced me he told me of his wealth and wanted to elope with me.  I could not see how it was to be done, and though the matter was frequently spoken of we took no action.  One day, after our intimacy had continued for about a year, he suggested that we get rid of his wife and my husband by poison, and then he said he would sell out and we would go West and live as man and wife.  Acting on this idea he procured strychnine at Neillsville, and we put it in some water, but it tasted bad, and we could not prevail on my husband to drink enough of it to hurt him.  Allen then went to Milwaukee in April last and purchased arsenic, telling me of what he had done as soon as he got home.  I was baking cookies when he came in, and he persuaded me to put some into them.  The next morning my husband ate some of the cookies and they made him deathly sick; but I relented when I saw him in such pain, and steeping some lobefin, gave it to him.  He vomited and was relieved.  After this I kept the cookies where nobody could get them, and I never gave any of them to anybody.  Allen was in the house everyday, though, and when my husband came down sick the last time, Allen told me that he had given him some more arsenic. After my husband went to bed Allen attended him a good deal and gave him poison on several occasions in small doses until he died.  Then he wanted me to go with him to Chicago, but I would not do it, and he threatened that if I told anybody of what had happened he would hire men to swear the murder on me.  The last time I spoke to him he said he was sorry that I had owned up."


It is expected that the letters which the state has will prove very damaging to Allen, as it is said that in them he practically admits his guilt.  He is maintaining a bold front, however, and evidently hopes for an acquittal.  His invalid wife is prostrate with grief, while Mrs. Wright’s relatives from the East, several of them prominent in their own neighborhoods, are profoundly moved over her disgrace.



Arrested in Oregon


SEATTLE, April 24 - Daniel Allen, who was convicted in the courts of Clark County, Wis., in 1887, of poisoning his wife and a neighbor named Wright, and who escaped from the County jail before he was sentenced to a life term in the State Prison, was captured last night at Linden, Wash., and brought this city today.  Allen and Wright’s wife became very intimate and conspired to get rid of their companions, Mrs. Wright succeeded in removing her husband by administering poison, through the medium of cookies. Two days later, Mrs. Allen died suddenly, and it was afterward learned that she died likewise of poisoning. Allen, after his escape, went to Oregon under the name of John Harvey, and was traced from Oregon to Seattle and from the latter place to Linden, where he was captured.  An officer leaves tonight with Allen for Wisconsin.  The Northwestern Reporter, April 11, 1893





Supreme Court of Wisconsin - April 11, 1893


Homicide - Amendment of Verdict


Where, on an information alleging that defendant did feloniously and of his malice aforethought kill and murder W., the jury find defendant guilty as charged in the information, and are discharged, the verdict cannot be afterwards corrected by the court, or by reassembly the jury and ascertaining from them what degree of murder they intended to find.


Error to circuit court, Clark County; A. W. Newman, Judge


Daniel Allen was convicted of murder, and, motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial being overruled, he brings error.  Reversed


The other facts fully appear in the following statement by WINSLOW, J.:


The plaintiff in error was tried for murder upon the information charging that he "did feloniously and of his malice aforethought kill and murder Henry Wright, against the peace," etc.  The jury returned a verdict finding him "guilty as charged in the information," whereupon they were discharged.  On the next morning the jury were reassembled, and asked in what degree they found the defendant guilty, and each replied "In the first degree:’ whereupon the court directed, against objection and exception, that the words "of murder in the first degree" be inserted after the word "guilty" in the verdict.  Motions in arrest of judgment and for new trial were overruled, and exceptions taken and plaintiff in error was sentenced to imprisonment for life, from which judgment and sentence this writ of error is prosecuted.


R. J. MacBride, J. M. Morrow, and M. C. Ring, for plaintiff in error;  J. L. O’Connor, Atty. Gen., and J. M. Clancy, Ass’t Atty Gen. for the State.


Winslow, J., (after stating the facts):  An information charging that the defendant "did willfully, feloniously, and of his malice aforethought kill and murder the deceased," is sufficient, under section 4660, Rev. St. and under it the defendant may properly be convicted of murder in either the first, second, or third degree.  But a general verdict of guilty upon such information does not authorize the court to pronounce judgment, because the degree of the crime is not determined.  These Propositions must be considered as settle in this court.  Hogan V. State, 30 Wis. 428; State v. Sloan, 65 Wis. 647, 27 N. W. Rep. 616:  Such being the law, it is evident that the plaintiff in error could not have been legally sentenced under the verdict as it stood when first rendered by the jury, and when they were discharged.  The question, then, is, could such defective verdict be afterwards be corrected, either by the court itself or by reassembling the jury, and ascertaining from them what degree of murder they intended to find?  We have been referred to no authority which answers this question affirmatively with reference to a criminal, much less a capital, case; nor do we see how such a doctrine could be justified.  The authorities are numerous to the contrary.  Com. V. Townsend, 5 Allen, 216; Cook v. State, 60 Ala. 39; Williams v. State, 44 Ill. 478:  The conviction and sentence must be founded upon the verdict of the jury, not the verdict of the court.  The jury ceased to be the jury in the case as soon as they were discharged by the court, and consequently could not afterwards add anything to or subtract anything from the verdict. Therefore the judgment here was based on a verdict in which one essential fact was not found by the jury, and which the court had no power to find. For some reason not apparent to us the word "willfully" is omitted from the information in this case.  This is one of the few technical words which the statute (section 4660, Rev. St.) retains, and seems to indicate as necessary in the information for murder.  What effect this omission might have even were the verdict complete, was not discussed, and is not necessary to be decided, but we deem it proper to call attention to the omission.  Judgment reversed, and cause remanded for a new trial. The warden of the state prison will surrender the plaintiff in error to the sheriff of Clark County, who will hold him in custody until he shall be discharged by due course of law.  New York Newspaper, New York, March 20, 1887, Page 14--Contributed by Natalie Erpenbach and Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon.



The Allen Family Farm in Section 13, Loyal Twp., 1880

Research provided by Ken Wood.

Mrs. Henry Wright, whose husband died at Loyal on the 9th, under suspicious circumstances, and who, with Daniel Allen, a prominent farmer of the town of Loyal, were placed under arrest, made a confession to the authorities at Neillsville, in which she confessed to poisoning her husband. She admits having been criminally intimate with Allen for nearly two years, and says that they planned to poison Wright, then Mrs. Allen, after which they intended to marry. She claims that Allen purchased arsenic at Milwaukee a few weeks ago and she administered the poison to Wright under his direction. Allen was placed under arrest as an accessory, and placed under $10,000 bail. Mr. Wright was a half brother of Mrs. M. McGivern and the Misses Walterbach's of this city.  Marshfield Times Friday May 21, 1886 p. 1 c. 5

The Spencer Tribune reports that the stomach of Henry Wright has been returned from the Chicago chemist, who reported that it contains strychnine even undissolved, which shows that it was introduced into the stomach but a short time before his death. Marshfield Times   Friday May 28, 1886  P. 1 C. 7



Daniel Allen, whose marriage in La Crosse was reported a few weeks ago, died last Thursday in La Crosse. His death was due to congestion of the lungs. Thus closes one of the most dramatic of lives. CLARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN & PRESS (Neillsville, Wis.) 05/20/1909.



Daniel Allen fought in the Great Civil War:

Name: Daniel Allen
Residence: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Enlistment Date: 22 Aug 1862
Side Served: Union
State Served: Wisconsin
Service Record: Enlisted as a Sergeant on 22 August 1862.
Enlisted in Company K, 1st Cavalry Regiment Wisconsin on 22 Aug 1862.
Mustered Out Company K, 1st Cavalry Regiment Wisconsin on 19 Jul 1865 at Edgefield, TN.


1850 Federal Census, Hubbard, Dodge, Wisconsin

Name: Daniel Allen, Age: 12, (1837)
Birth Place: Ohio
Gender: Male 
Family Number: 154
Household Members
David Loop 25
Sally Loop 22
Marilla Loop 2
George Loop 6
Rachel Allen 54 (1796), b. MA
Emily Allen 17
Daniel Allen 12

1860 Federal Census, Hubbard, Dodge, Wisconsin, PO Iron Ridge, 29 June


Name: Daniel Allen, 22  yrs. (1837)
Birthplace: Ohio 
Gender: Male
Post Office: Iron Ridge
Household Members
Daniel Allen 22
Susanna Allen 23
Frank Allen 11/12 (May 1859)
Rachel Allen 68, b. MA


1860 Federal Census, 30 June

Rufus Allen 55 (1805), MA, farmer (grandfather of Daniel Allen)
Sarah 39 (1821), England (step-grandmother of Daniel Allen)
James 23 (1837), OH
Martha 20 (1840), OH
Edward 16 (1844), OH
Ammos 12 (1848) Wisconsin
Anna 4 (1856), England

1870 Federal Census, Loyal, Clark, Wisconsin

Name: Daniel Allen, 32 yrs. (1837, OH), farmer, property $1,500 & $1,000
Race: White
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Post Office: Loyal
Household Members
Lorinda J Taylor 14, at home
Daniel Allen 32
Susan M Allen 33, Keeping house
Frank Allen 10

1880 Federal Census, Loyal, Clark, Wisconsin

Name: Daniel Allen, 42 (1838)
Birthplace: Ohio
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse's name: Susan M.
Father's birthplace: Connecticut
Mother's birthplace: Connecticut
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Household Members
Daniel Allen 42, b. WI
Susan M. Allen 43 (1837), b. OH, both parents b. NY
Frank Allen 20 [cemetery record]

1895 Wis. State Census

Name: Frank Allen (Son of Daniel & Susan Allen)
Census Date: 1895
Residence County: La Crosse
Residence State: Wisconsin
Locality: La Crosse Ward 15
Line: 19

1900 Federal Census: La Crosse Ward 19, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Name: Daniel Allen, 63, Nov 1837, mos. employed: 10
Birthplace: Ohio
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relationship to Head of House: Father
Father's Birthplace: Massachusetts
Mother's Birthplace: Massachusetts
Marital Status: Widowed
Occupation: none
Household Members
Rosa Allen 33, b. WI (1867), married 14 yrs., Father b. Switzerland, Mother b. Virginia; mother of 3 children, 3 living
Susie M. Allen 12 (June 1887), Day laborer
Eva A. Allen 11 (May 1889)
Eddie Allen 8 (May 1892)
Daniel Allen 63 (Nov 1837), Father (in-law), b. OH, Father b. MA, Mother b. MA

Frank & Rosa E. Allen's family

Frank Allen
Born: 3 Jul 1859, Cuffand, Dodge, Wisconsin, USA
Died: 9 Feb 1932
Kent, Washington, USA
Rosa Kadinger
Born: June 1867
Died: 25 Jun 1937 in Kent, Washington, USA
Marriage: 20 May 1886 in Castle Wood, South Dakota, USA
Children Sex Birth
Susan M Allen F 9 Jun 1887 in Loyal, Wisconsin, USA
Eva Anna Allen F 15 May 1889 in Loyal, Wisconsin, USA
Edward D Allen M 6 May 1892 in Loyal, Wisconsin, USA


1870 Federal Census, Theresa, Dodge, Wisconsin, 5 July


Name: John Kadinger, 50 yrs. (1820)
Birthplace: Prussia
Race: White
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: $2000 - $450
Post Office: Kekoskee
Household Members
John Kadinger 50
Catherine Kadinger 38 (1832)
John Kadinger 16 (1854)
Nicholas Kadinger 14 (1856)
Mary Kadinger 12 (1858)
Eva Kadinger 10 (1860)
Mathias Kadinger 8 (1862)
Angeline Kadinger 6 (1864)
Margret Kadinger 5 (1865)
Susana Kadinger 4 (1866)
Anna Kadinger* (Rosa?) 3 (1867)

*We don't know for certain if this family is related to Rose (Kadinger) Allen.

1880 Federal Census, La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 2 June


Name: Rosa Kothinger (Kadinger), 13 yrs. (1867 )
Birthplace: Wisconsin
Relation to Head of Household: Daughter
Father's Name: E C. Palmer (Step Father) 42, engineer on boat, b. 1838 in Canada as were both parents
Natural Father's birthplace: Germany
Mother's Name: Mary F., 33 b. 1847 in Virginia as were both parents
Mother's birthplace: Virginia
Occupation: At School
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Female

Sister: Lila, 9 b. 1871 in Wis., Natural Father b. Ger., Mother b. Virginia

1910 Federal Census, Meridian, King, Washington, 7 May


Name: Frank Allen, 50 yrs., dairy & poultry farmer, owner of farm
Birthplace: Wisconsin
Head of House
Father's Birth Place: Ohio
Mother's Birth Place: Ohio
Spouse's name: Rosa
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Household Members
Frank Allen 50
Rosa Allen 40, mother of 3 children, 2 living
Edward Allen 18, engineer, logging region


1920 Federal Census, Meridian, King, Washington

Name: Frank Allen, 60 yrs. 
Birthplace: Wisconsin
Head of House
Spouse's name: Rose E.
Father's Birth Place: Ohio
Mother's Birth Place: Ohio
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Sex: Male
Home owned: Own
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Household Members
Frank Allen 60
Rose E Allen 52

1930 Federal Census, Algona, King, WA

Name: Frank Allen
Home in 1930: Algona, King, Washington
View Map
Age: 71
Estimated birth year: abt 1859
Birthplace: Wisconsin
Relation to Head of House: Head

Race: White
Occupation: Night watchman at the sawmill
Renting home, 3 yrs. residency
Age at first marriage: 26 yrs., Separated?
Parents' birthplace: both OH 
No other household members

Marriage Record

Name: Susan Patterson
Marriage Date: 3 Oct 1858
Dodge Co., Wisconsin
Volume: 02
Page: 0044

Related Links


Obit: Allen, Mrs. Daniel (? - 1887)

Bio: Wright, Henry & Margaret

BioM: Withee, Louisa (1892)


Duane & Marilyn Horn, Lori Lauen, Ken Wood & Janet Schwarze.





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