Magoffin County is mourning the loss of a former circuit clerk and well-known historian, Jimmie Allen, who passed away on October 20 after a brief illness.
James E. Allen, age 93 and lifelong resident of Magoffin County, was born on April 2, 1930, to the proud parents of Alex E. Allen and Thelma Flint Allen. Jimmie, as he was known by everyone, lived in Salyersville, in the Dixie Addition, from the age of 2.
Jimmie had an older sister, Lola Jane Allen, but she unfortunately died 11 days after she was born. When Jimmie was 6 years old, he became a proud big brother to Barbara Gayle Allen. Jimmie went to all the neighbors in Dixie, knocking on their doors announcing the birth of his new baby sister. When Jimmie was just 9 years old, he suffered the greatest loss of his young life: the death of his father, Alex, to a car accident on Halloween night. After his father’s death, his mother, Thelma, had to work two jobs to support the family, so his Grandmother Nannie Brown and Grandfather John Brown loved, cared and raised him into the wonderful man he became.
Jimmie graduated from Salyersville High school in 1948. While in high school he was the boys’ basketball score keeper. Jimmie spoke about the 1948 game against West Liberty High School, recalling how close the Salyersville White Devil boys’ basketball team was from going to the Kentucky state tournament. While a junior in high school, Jimmie served his country in the Kentucky National Guard in the Salyersville Unit back in the late ‘40s. He remained an active member until the unit was transferred to Ashland, Ky. While serving in the National Guard, his unit got to go to the Kentucky Derby guarding the infield and attended the governor’s inauguration. He received an honorable discharge certificate from the Kentucky National Guard.
After high school, Jimmie went to the Mayo Vocational School in Paintsville, Ky. and earned an electrical certificate. He also worked in a clothing store in Salyersville, and later found employment in Ohio and Indiana where he worked at different factory assembly plants. He saved up enough money, with the help of his Grandma Nannie Brown, attended Eastern Kentucky State College, today known as Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. While attending college, the school superintendent in Magoffin County called to ask if Jimmie would teach at a school temporarily while the teacher was ill so, he taught in a one-room schoolhouse in the White Oak section of Magoffin County. He found out right quickly teaching was not for him, but he did give it the old college try, and taught until the teacher returned to her school, and he returned to college. Although Jimmie attended college for three years majoring in Commerce, which would now be a business degree, he found he was too low in funds to return to finish his degree, and it got him to thinking about politics. His father, Alex Allen, was county attorney at his untimely death in 1939. His grandpa, Byrd Allen, and been elected to multiple offices in Magoffin County, so Jimmie decided to throw his hat into the political ring and ran for Magoffin County Circuit Clerk in 1957 and was able to proudly remain circuit clerk until 1987 -proudly representing the fine people of Magoffin County for 30 years.
While circuit clerk, Jimmie kept the office open five days a week and a half day on Saturday. If someone couldn’t get to the office during office hours, he would go in and open the office at request to accommodate the person, doing anything he could to help someone. He never complained about having to go in at different hours. He would just say, “This was why people elected me to this office. It’s my job.”
The last term he ran for office, he ran unopposed, which he was so grateful that the people of Magoffin County thought enough of him to hand him the circuit clerk’s office.
This coming election in November will be the one and only time that he did not get to vote.
Jimmie met the love of his life, Beulah Taulbee at Sheridan Flint’s home in Lakeville where Beulah was a caregiver for Sheridan’s mother. They dated for three months and realized they were right for each other and got married in Sheridan Flint’s living room on August 13, 1960.
Six years after their union, they had a baby girl and named her Alice Lynn Allen. Three years after that they were blessed with a second baby girl and named her Nina Gayle Allen. They named her Nina after Sheridan’s wife.
Jimmie was a loving, devoted and caring father who spent so many hours driving his girls to activities in school, music lessons/events and riding bikes all over Dixie.
Jimmie was so proud to be a Magoffin Countian and was active in multiple Magoffin County civic organizations, proudly serving in Free Masons for over 50 years and was Master mason in 1966 of the Salyersville Chapter. At the time of Jimmie’s death, he was the oldest Master Mason in the Salyersville Chapter.
He was an active member in Magoffin County Historical Society, after its beginning, contributing many articles in their journals, donating many pictures and doing genealogy research when asked, even a small acting gig showing off his square-dancing talents in the sesquicentennial play at the cabins. Jimmie was a past Magoffin County Senior Board member and did enjoy serving in any capacity he could. He would read the Salyersville independent every week to check out the menu at the senior citizens and he sure enjoyed their meatloaf day. Jimmie was a member of the Magoffin County Civil War Committee and he was honored to be a part of this organization and would assist with fundraising during Community Days in Ramey Park.
He was a true scholar of anything to do with Magoffin County and could tell you anything you wanted to know about this county and who you were related to. Jimmie had many pictures, stories and articles published in the now-canceled Kentucky Explorer Magazine. His maternal grandfather was Win flint, a photographer in Salyersville, and at the time of Win’s death, Jimmie inherited all of Win’s photographs and negatives, which Jimmie spent his lifetime getting developed, giving the pictures back to their rightful owners and families.
We could say so much more about Jimmie, but honestly, he was just a true, irreplaceable gem to this community. So many times, we at Mortimer Media Group called Jimmie asking random history questions and within 20 minutes he was at the office, photos and descriptions in hand and even more given from memory. He was always kind, sharp as a tack, and had a quick, dry wit about him that we will forever miss.