John Allen is listed as an early settler at or near the fort. However, there is no evidence our John Allen ever lived within the walls of Ft. Boonesborough itself, nor was he listed on original lists of Ft. Boonesborough settlers. He was added to the list of Ft. Boonesborough settlers by Judge French Tipton in the papers he compiled during the 1880s. Tipton had collected notes over several decades about early Fayette County intending to eventually write a history of Fayette County. However, he was killed during a confrontation with a rival newspaper editor before accomplishing the task.
I requested and received copies of Tipton's original notes referencing John Allen at Boonesborough but was not able to ascertain Tipton's basis for including John Allen in his list of settlers. Tipton's reasoning may have been the 1788 Fayette tax list mentioned below, but that is only a guess.
Ft. Boonesborough settlers monument, Ft. Boonesborough National Park, lists John, Richard and Thomas Allen, all unrelated.
Ft. Boonesborough was established on the south bank of the Kentucky River by Daniel Boone in 1775. At that time, all of present day Kentucky was known as Fincastle County, Virginia. After several reorganizations of the counties in that area, Ft. Boonesborough came to rest at the north boundary of Madison County where it remains today.
John Allen and his family were early residents of Fayette, Clark and Montgomery County, Kentucky during the decade preceding and following Kentucky's statehood in 1792. New counties were being rapidly formed and divided as settlers poured into Kentucky in the years following the Revolutionary War.
From 1788 tax records we can see John Allen lived somewhere near Ft. Boonesborough but on the north side of the Kentucky River in Fayette County. It would seem John must have arrived in 1787 or 1788, as he is not shown on the 1787 Fayette tax list or any other county with available tax records in Kentucky. Unfortunately, any earlier tax records do not seem to have been preserved.
John's children in 1787 would have been aged approximately as follows; Catron (Catherine) 13, Sally (Sarah) 11, George 5, Josiah 3 and Hannah 1.
The gap between Sally and George is interesting, because 1776 - 1782 coincides with the Revolutionary War. It could also suggest that Catron and Sally were children of a 1st wife, while George, Josiah and Hannah were children of a 2nd wife.
Assumming we have located the correct Hannah, the 1850 census says she was born in Tennessee in 1787. It would have been fairly unusual for any settlers to move from TN up into KY, unless they were part of the settlements in extreme northeast TN or northwest NC.
The specific date people were enumerated implies those recorded the same day lived very close. From these dates, we can see John lived near Nicholas Anderson, Edward Williams and John Harper. In addition John Summars and John Treadway were also listed in Fayette. John Allen was later associated with these same men in Clark on those tax lists and other documents.
The fort itself had been built with 4 blockhouses at its corners joined by 26 cabins connected between the blockhouses. It was built by Daniel Boone and the 31 axe men who forged the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap to the south bank of the Kentucky River. According to the Kentucky DNR's history of the fort, by 1789 approximately 200 cabins had been built near the fort, which afforded them protection from the Native Americans who had been encouraged by their British allies to attack the settlers whenever possible.
Drawing of the original Ft. Boonesborough located on the south bank of the Kentucky River.
Daniel Boone had left Ft. Boonesborough by 1780 to build a cabin for his family in what is now Fayette County away from fort's growing congestion. Interestingly, with a few short years Daniel moved back farther east to run a tavern on the Ohio River at Limestone (Maysville), KY. That location was no doubt even busier than Ft. Boonesborough had been.
The Ft. Boonesborough settlement was rather short-lived as settlers continued to move farther west. By 1810 it had been all but abandoned and settlers used its timbers for their own cabins elsewhere.