History Podcasts

George Allison

George Allison

George Allison was born in Darlington in 1883. After leaving school he became a local journalist. In 1905 he moved to London. He became a fan of Woolwich Arsenal and agreed to become the club's programme editor.

Allison was recruited by the BBC as a radio journalist. In January 1927 the BBC broadcast its first commentary on a professional football match. Later that year the BBC broadcast the FA Cup Final. Allison became the BBC's main football commentator and by 1931 the BBC was broadcasting over 100 games per season. At this time only about 30% of households owned radios.

To help the listener understand what was going on, a diagram was published in the Radio Times which showed a football pitch divided into numbered squares. During the game Allison's assistant would call out the number of the square in which the ball resided.

The Great Depression resulted in a fall in attendances at football matches. Some club chairman partly blamed radio coverage for this situation and in June 1931 the Football League banned all broadcasts of its fixtures. This ban was to continue until after the Second World War.

The Football Association did not share these negative views of radio and during the 1930s every FA Cup Final was broadcast by the BBC.

Allison continued to work for Arsenal and after serving as club secretary he was appointed as the club's managing director. At the time, Herbert Chapman, was manager of the club.

In the 1925-26 season Arsenal finished in second-place to Chapman's old club, Huddersfield Town. Top scorer was Jimmy Brain who established a new club record with 33 goals. Charlie Buchan scored 21 goals that season which brought the amount paid by Arsenal to Sunderland to £4,100.

Henry Norris refused to allow Herbert Chapman to spend much money to strengthen his team and in the 1926-27 season Arsenal finished in 11th position.

Herbert Chapman gradually adapted the "WM" formation that had originally been suggested by Charlie Buchan. Chapman used his full-backs to mark the wingers (that job had previously been done by the wing-halves). He also developed what became known as the counter-attacking game. This relied on the passing ability of Alex James and goalscoring forwards like David Jack, Jimmy Brain, Joe Hume, Cliff Bastin, and Jack Lambert. Chapman also built up a good defence that included players such as Bob John, Eddie Hapgood, Herbert Roberts, Alf Baker, Tom Parker and George Male.

Success was not immediate and Arsenal finished in 14th place in the 1929-30 season. They did much better in the FA Cup. Arsenal beat Birmingham City (1-0), Middlesbrough (2-0), West Ham United (3-0) and Hull City (1-0) to reach the final against Chapman's old club, Huddersfield Town. Arsenal won the game 2-0 with goals from Alex James and Jack Lambert.

The following season Arsenal won their first ever First Division Championship with a record 66 points. The Gunners only lost four games that season. Jack Lambert was top-scorer with 38 goals. Other important players in the team included Frank Moss, Alex James, David Jack, Cliff Bastin, Joe Hume, Eddie Hapgood, Bob John, Tom Parker, Herbert Roberts, Alf Baker and George Male.

Alex James was injured for a large part of the 1931-32 season and this was a major factor in Arsenal losing the title by two points to Everton. James was back in the 1932-33 season. George Allison said of James: "No one like him ever kicked a ball. He had a most uncanny and wonderful control, but because this was allied to a split-second thinking apparatus, he simply left the opposition looking on his departing figure with amazement."

Arsenal won the First Division by four points that season. Cliff Bastin, the team's left-winger, was top scorer with 33 goals. Joe Hume, the right-winger, scored 20 goals. This illustrates the effectiveness of Chapman's counter-attacking strategy.

On 1st January 1934 Herbert Chapman went to watch Notts County play Bury as he was interested on one of their young players. The following day he attended the game between Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City. Wednesday were the visitors at Highbury on the following Saturday and Chapman considered them to be Arsenal's main rivals for the league championship. He developed a cold but insisted on watching Arsenal's third team play on the Wednesday. The following day he was forced to take to his bed and died of pneumonia on Saturday morning.

George Allison was appointed as the new manager. Allison was a radio journalist who was also the club's managing director. However, he had no experience of football management. At the time of Chapman's death Arsenal were top of the table and Tom Whittaker and Joe Shaw were allowed to run the team until the end of the season.

Bob Wall claimed that "Allison was a complete contrast to Chapman... He never claimed to possess a deep theoretical knowledge of the game but he listened closely to what people like Tom Whittaker and Alex James had to say. Like Chapman before him, Allison always insisted that, no matter how good a prospective signing might be, he would secure him only if his character was beyond reproach."

Sunderland was their main challengers to Arsenal in the 1933-34 season thanks to a forward line that included Raich Carter, Patsy Gallacher, Bob Gurney and Jimmy Connor. In March 1934 Sunderland went a point ahead. However, the Gunners had games in hand and they clinched the league title with a 2-0 victory over Everton. One of the goals was scored by goalkeeper Frank Moss who suffered a dislocated shoulder and was forced to play on the left-wing for the remainder of the game.

In March 1934, George Allison paid £6,500 for Ted Drake who had been scoring a lot of goals for Southampton in the Second Division. Herbert Chapman had tried to buy him the previous year but his offer had been refused. Allison also purchased Jack Cranston for £5,250 in May 1934.

Another important signing was Wilf Copping. In June 1934, George Allison, paid £8,000 for the England international. As one historian has pointed out: "Wilf Copping was the original hard man of English football... with his boxer's nose and build, his unshaven appearance on match days and the bone shaking charges and tackles which were his trademark. Copping, at left half, was liable to unnerve the opposition with just one fixed stare from his craggy face."

Ted Drake scored 42 goals in 41 games in the 1934-35 season. This included three hat-tricks against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City and four, four-goal hauls, against Birmingham City, Chelsea, Wolves and Middlesbrough. These goals helped Arsenal to win the league championship. Jeff Harris, the author of Arsenal Who's Who argues that "Drake's main attributes were his powerful dashing runs, his great strength combined with terrific speed and a powerful shot. Ted Drake was also brilliant in the air but above all, so unbelievably fearless."

Ted Drake had a particularly good game against Aston Villa on 14th December, 1935. He was suffering from a knee injury but George Allison decided to risk him. By half-time he had scored a hat-trick. Drake scored three more in the first 15 minutes of the second-half. Drake then hit the bar and when he told the referee it had crossed the line, he replied: "Don't be greedy, isn't six enough". In the last minute he converted a cross from Cliff Bastin. Seven goals in an away game was an amazing achievement.

However, a serious knee injury, that needed a cartilage operation, put Ted Drake out of action for ten weeks. Arsenal missed his goals and only finished in 6th place behind Sunderland. Arsenal did much better in the FA Cup that season. Arsenal beat Liverpool (2-0), Newcastle United (3-0), Barnsley (4-1) and Grimsby Town (1-0) to reach the final against Sheffield United. Drake, who was not fully fit, scored the only goal of the game.

Some of Arsenal's key players such as Alex James, Cliff Bastin, Joe Hume, Bob John and Herbert Roberts were past their best. Ted Drake and Ray Bowden continued to suffer from injuries, whereas Frank Moss was forced to retire from the game. Given these problems Arsenal did well to finish in 3rd place in the 1936-37 season.

Before the start of the 1937-38 season Herbert Roberts, Bob John and Alex James retired from football. Joe Hume was out with a long-term back injury and Ray Bowden was sold to Newcastle United. However, a new group of younger players such as Bernard Joy, Alf Kirchen and Leslie Compton, became regulars in the side. George Hunt was also bought from Tottenham Hotspur to provide cover for Ted Drake who was still suffering from a knee injury. Cliff Bastin and George Male were now the only survivors of the team managed by Herbert Chapman.

Wolves were expected to be Arsenal's main rivals in the 1937-38 season. However, it was Brentford who led the table in February. They also beat Arsenal on 18th April, a game in which Ted Drake broke his wrist and suffered a bad head wound. However, it was the only two points they won during a eight game period and gradually dropped out of contention.

On the last day of the season Wolves were away to Sunderland. If Wolves won the game they would be champions, but they drew 1-1. Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers at Highbury and won their fifth title in eight years. As a result of his many injuries, Ted Drake only played in 28 games but he still ended up the club's top scorer with 17 goals.

George Allison was aware that Arsenal had never been able to replace the retired Alex James and therefore lacked creativity in midfield. In August 1938 Allison decided to buy Bryn Jones of Wolves for the world record fee of £14,000 (£6.9 million in today's money). Politicians were outraged by the money spent on Jones and the subject was debated in the House of Commons.

Bryn Jones scored on his debut against Portsmouth. He also found the net in two of his next three games. However, the goals dried up and he was only to get one more before the end of the season. After Arsenal were beaten at home 2-1 by Derby County, the match reporter from the Derby Evening Telegraph wrote: "Arsenal have a big problem. Spending £14,000 on Bryn Jones has not brought the needed thrust into the attack. The little Welsh inside-left is clearly suffering from too much publicity, and is obviously worried. He is a nippy and quite useful inside-left, but his limitations are marked."

In his first season Bryn Jones scored four goals in 30 league appearances. That year Arsenal finished 5th in the league, eight points behind Wolves who appeared to be doing very well without Jones. As Jeff Harris pointed out in Arsenal Who's Who (1995): "To lay blame on Bryn Jones for the club's lack of success that season was unfair, for in a nutshell, the quiet, modest, self evasive, lonely figure could not cope with the intense pressure of the media spotlight even though his good positional awareness and splendid ball control were there for everyone to behold."

George Allison claimed that Bryn Jones needed more time to settle into the team. Cliff Bastin disagreed and in his autobiography he commented: "I thought at the time this was a bad transfer, and subsequent events did nothing to alter my views. I had played against Bryn in club and international matches and had ample opportunity to size him up."

Bernard Joy later wrote: "Do we write Bryn Jones down as a gamble that failed, or would he have been a success eventually? The outbreak of war in September 1939 prevented us from ever finding the complete answer. There were signs before then that, as James had done, he was weathering the bad patch which always seems to follow a change of style from an attacking to a foraging inside-forward... My own view, however, is that Jones's modesty was the barrier to achieving the key role Arsenal had intended for him. He could not regard the spotlight as a challenge to produce his best; all the time it irked him, making him self-conscious and uneasy.”

On the outbreak of the Second World War the Football League was suspended. By the time the competition restarted after the conflict, Nearly all Arsenal's 1930s stars had retired from the game. Allison retired at the end of the 1946-47 season after Arsenal finished in a disappointing 13th position.

George Allison died on 13th March, 1957.


George H. "Mike" Allison, M.D., a Seattle psychiatrist who specialized in psychoanalysis, was a member of the original Northwest Clinic of Psychiatry and Neurology with Douglass Orr, M.D. (1905-1990), Edith Buxbaum (1902-1980), and Edward Heodemaker (1904-1969). Later he helped found the Blakeley Psychiatric Group in northeast Seattle. He was one of the first doctors to work at the Pinel Foundation Psychiatric Hospital (1948-1958), and one of a half-dozen psychoanalytic pioneers who helped build the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, which in 1964 became a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He was a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Medical Specialties, and the Washington Association of Mental Health, among other medical associations. He served as president of the Seattle Psychoanalytic group in the mid-1970s while also participating in the activities of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He served as association president from 1990 to 1992 and helped break down the barriers that denied gays and non-medical analysts full access to membership. All the while he helped keep the Seattle psychoanalytic community together as it weathered the storms of two bankruptcies resulting from lawsuits by a psychotherapy student.

Family Life

George Howard Allison was born on May 24, 1921, to Robert (1883-1957) and Evelyn Offerman Allison (1888-?) of Yonkers, New York. He had four older siblings, Dorothy P. (1911-?), Robert C. (1912-?), Evelyn V. (1914-?) and Jean Marion (1918-?). Allison graduated from the University of Rochester in 1942 and from Yale Medical School in 1945. A year earlier, he had married Nancy Hart.

George Allison and Nancy Hart Allison had four children together. Son Thomas (1946-2012) was born at Camp Shoemaker Naval Hospital, California, on April 7, 1946 daughter Janet, son Anthony P. Allison (Tony), and Nick followed. The couple divorced in 1964. Three years later, in 1967, Allison married Joan Benefiel, a Seattle lawyer and family court judge. They had a son, Michael, born in 1968. Allison was also stepfather to Joan’s daughters. The couple was married for 48 years, until Allison’s death.

After Medical School

By the time Allison had completed medical school and his military duty, he had decided to specialize in psychoanalysis, a field of study that was increasingly -- since World War I -- used by the military to study psychiatric conditions of service personnel. He had served at California's Camp Shoemaker Naval Hospital, and had treated returning World War II veterans. This "stimulated his interest in problems of emotional trauma . " (The Seattle Times, Obituary).

In 1946, Allison was one of 225 psychiatrists who worked with the National Research Council’s Committee on Veterans Medical Problems to study the relationship of military service to "mental breakdowns." During this period he read Freud's writings and was convinced that psychoanalysis held the key to unlocking conflicts within the psyche. Allison re-entered the navy during the Korean War and served as a psychiatrist at Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital in Oceanside, California.

The Menninger Clinic

The Menninger Clinic of Topeka, Kansas, offered Allison a fellowship in psychiatry. This was a plum position, since the Menninger Clinic was famous for infusing psychoanalytic theory into its psychiatric practice and vision. Here Allison worked with psychiatrists who would eventually settle in Seattle, including Douglass Orr, M.D., the father of Seattle psychoanalysis. Orr, like Allison, focused a good part of his medical practice on the study of war neuroses.

Speaking to the 2009 Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute graduating class about his love for psychoanalysis, Allison told the audience:

Moving to Seattle

In 1948, after completing his residency, Allison and his young family -- Nancy and the children -- moved from Kansas to Seattle. Allison joined Douglass Orr and Edith Buxbaum in their group practice at the Northwest Clinic. One of his first assignments was to assist staff and manage patients at the newly formed Pinel Foundation Psychiatric Hospital, which operated from 1948 to 1958 at 2318 Ballinger Way in Lake Forest Park, located at the north end of Lake Washington.

Meanwhile his own psychoanalytic education continued. This included a personal and training analysis, at least one of which was necessary for acceptance into the American Psychoanalytic Association. From approximately 1949 to 1951, Allison entered into an analysis with his mentor and colleague, Douglass Orr. Less than a decade later he would take a second analysis with Edith Buxbaum, also a mentor and colleague. In some ways, Allison explained to this writer in a 1994 interview, the analysis with Orr represented a paternal transference while the analysis with Buxbaum represented a maternal transference. (Transference is the redirection of emotions, usually felt in childhood, toward a substitute, such as the analyst.)

This was a difficult situation for all involved, since classical analysts hold that the best analysis is one in which analyst and analysand have little or no outside contact with each other. Everything that occurs between them must take place within the context of the 50-minute hour and in the setting of the therapeutic environment -- the therapy room. What happens outside that environment could conceivably impact what goes on between the two parties -- analyst and analysand -- in the next hour of treatment, or in following sessions. Analysands must feel free to discuss intense feelings that may concern people within their families, work places, educational, or entertainment environments. Analyst and analysand must inhabit a "clean" environment without the eyes of others impinging on the creative process that takes place within the context of the 50-minute hour. This, of course, is in theory. In reality, it is difficult to adhere to such strict rules. Especially in early psychoanalytic Seattle, where colleagues were each other's students, analysands, and analysts.

In Seattle this ideal was not possible since there were only two training analysts available, Orr and Buxbaum. But the close-knit situation did give rise to greater self-understanding, Allison said. He had worshipped his father and transferred those feelings onto Orr. When the elder Allison died in 1957, the son would enter into an analysis with Edith Buxbaum and could "use" her as a mother figure as such, Allison said that he learned more about his relationship to his mother in her widowhood.

In 1959, Allison became a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and was intimately involved with that organization for the rest of his life, bringing a Northwest presence to the national psychoanalytic scene. He served on, or chaired, numerous committees including History and Archives, Psychoanalytic Education (two four-year terms), Psychoanalytic Research, and the Committee on Psychoanalytic Ethics. In addition, in the early 1980s, the association's Executive Council sought him out to be a member of its Exploratory Nominating Committee, as well as the Special Ad Hoc Committee of the Board of Professional Standards. From 1990 to 1992, he served as its president. He loved the work, and also, as he said in 1994, working for the American gave him an excuse to return to Yonkers, his hometown, where some of his friends and relatives still lived.

Life Outside Work

Allison enjoyed sports and travel and he had a friendly and far-reaching personality. From his obituary:

From the time Allison moved to Seattle, he was involved politically, professionally, and socially in a variety of civic organizations and causes. His speaking engagements included the University Grandmothers' Club and topics ranged from weight control to various aspects of mental health. He was a trustee of the Psychiatric Clinic at 411 Fairview Avenue N. He voted for public school levies, was a patron of the Seattle Symphony, and served on a committee to find a new stadium site.

He was a member of the Reginald Parson’s Guild, along with Douglass Orr, Edward Hoedemaker, Robert Worthington (1907-1990), and other psychiatrists in town. (Reginal Parsons was a founder of Pinel Foundation Hospital). For the 1964 presidential election, Allison helped organize the Washington State Scientists, Engineers and Physicians for the Lyndon Johnson/Hubert Humphrey ticket. In 2008, along with thousands of doctors throughout the country, Allison affiliated with Doctors for Obama ’08 by supporting the Obama Health Care Plan.

In Defense of Freud

Since the beginning of psychoanalysis in the late nineteenth century, professionals and non-professionals alike have been throwing darts at Freud no doubt the Freud Wars will continue. Nonetheless, Allison was a staunch believer in Freud. In 1993, having just completed his role as president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, he told a reporter for Time:

Cherishing an Identity

Allison’s continued enthusiasm for psychoanalysis was underscored in his 2009 talk to the graduates of Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He was 88 years old and had been a practicing psychiatrist all of his adult life and most of it as an analyst. Here he speaks of his psychoanalytic identity:

Allison practiced psychoanalysis in Seattle until he was 91 years old. He retired reluctantly.

Changing Times

But by this time, the traditional practice of psychoanalysis -- 50 minute sessions on the couch four or five days a week -- had changed from its nineteenth-century beginnings in Vienna and Berlin, and even from its twentieth-century beginnings in the United States, where it spread from New York to Seattle to what some would call a "watered-down" therapeutic process.

For Allison and other devotees of a "pure" analysis -- one that is undertaken four or five days a week, where the analysand/client/patient lies on a couch for sometimes three, four, five or more years attempting to get to the heart of his or her life-long conflicts -- theoretical explanations often ignore the cost factor. Not that the cost factor is beside the point: Analysts are aware that insurance companies do not pay for long-term therapies and only those clients of robust financial means can afford to lie on a couch and talk away their problems. Alternative-to-psychoanalytic therapeutic methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (focus on thought patterns and behavior) or relational therapy (focus on relationships with others) are often more attractive to the client because they are less expensive than psychoanalysis and are often paid for, at least in part, by insurance companies. Even though psychoanalytic institutes often establish low-income programs for a limited number of patients, it is difficult to get accepted into such programs moreover, senior-level analysts are preferred to cover this end of the psychoanalytic business and are not always available.

Allison refers to alternative therapies as "homogenized psychoanalysis." Dictionaries define homogenized as "blending unlike elements." For Allison, unlike elements may refer to various modes of therapeutic interpretation. In a 1994 essay for instance, he explains that the psychoanalytic process "typically requires thorough immersion through frequent sessions which permits greater resolution of the transference or transference neurosis." He suggests that frequency of visits allows for "insight and greater opportunity for the achievement of autonomy." He concedes that "Other modes of therapeutic action also play into the process as in psychotherapy, but the interpretive mode with progressive insight distinguishes psychoanalysis proper" ("On the Homogenization of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy")

In other words, interpretations regarding emotional health depend upon resolution of the transference neurosis, that is, differentiating one's mother, father, sister, brother, even a cousin, from the likes of the therapist.

In a later paper, "The Shortage of Psychoanalytic Patients: An Inquiry into Its Causes and Consequences," Allison worries that the shortage of psychoanalytic patients will effect just how psychoanalysis will be taught within psychoanalytic training programs. What will the curriculum look like? How will institutional policies be developed? He worries that the variety of theoretical interpretations comes at a time when psychoanalysis proper is losing patients and that different types of therapies will conflate upon each other so that psychoanalysis will no longer be recognized in its pure form. He does not mention in this essay that not everyone who reaches out to a therapist is interested in resolving the so-called transference neurosis or even believes it exists!

Allison admits that "mainstream medical psychoanalysis, which dominated the field in the United States well into the post–World War II era, is often seen to have maintained a rigid dogmatic theoretical orthodoxy in its training institutes, as well as a stultifying exclusionary elitist stance toward the rest of the scientific world. Many see this as having been self-defeating,” he writes. But "[s]ome have argued that psychoanalysis is now experiencing something of a renaissance in contemporary culture because of the proliferation of new perspectives . that many suggest may more inclusively address the complexities of social and psychological life" ("The Shortage of Psychoanalytic Patients. ").

No doubt the homogenization of psychoanalysis and various types of psychotherapies will allow for more inclusivity than conventional psychoanalytic institutes ever dreamed possible. Dr. Allison would be proud of this newness. He was aware of the elitism inherent in psychoanalysis, all the while he loved the process. The societal ramifications for change in the field of psychoanalysis are far-reaching: Psychoanalysis has always comprised a predominately white group of healers, whether in Europe Topeka, Kansas Chicago or Seattle. Little has changed in this regard in terms of clients or practitioners during its hundred-plus years of development.

But in today’s twenty-first century that demographic is already changing and people of color, especially those coming through the fields of social work and psychology, will push the barriers, just as lay analysts did (and won) a few decades ago. And just as gay doctors pushed through. People of color will push through those barriers too -- in Seattle and beyond. And this writer believes that George "Mike" Allison will be smiling.

George Allison died from heart disease on March 19, 2016. On Saturday, May 21, 2016, at 11 a.m., a memorial service was held for him at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle's Laurelhurst neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Washington, where Allison had been a clinical professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department.

Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
King County

George H. "Mike" Allison, M.D. (1921-2016), Seattle, 1980s

Courtesy Michael R. Allison, MA, LMHC

George H. "Mike" Allison M.D. (1921-2016), 1930s

Courtesy Michael R. Allison, MA, LMHC

George H. "Mike" Allison (1921-2016), in United States Navy, 1940s

Why do a series on George Allison?

I should start by making a confession (well not much of a confession because what I am going to confess is undoubtedly patently obvious if you have been reading through my jottings over the past couple of years.

It is this: when I start any of these series, I don’t do so with the articles mapped out and planned. Rather it is a case of, “I wonder if there is anything extra to be discovered about this subject?” – and then it starts.

So it is will George Frederick Allison (24 October 1883 – 13 March 1957) one of our greatest managers (that view may be upgraded in the coming weeks), a journalist who had a mega impact on the club through his writings, the BBC’s first sports commentator, and….

Well the dots can be filled in, in the coming entries.

County Durham seems to be a favoured part of the country with us, since that is where Jack Humble came from, before trekking to Woolwich to found Dial Square FC, which of course morphed into Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal and Arsenal.

George Allison came from Hurworth on Tees, village south of Darlington. I don’t think they have anything up to commemorate their most famous son – if they do and you know it, please send me a photo. Otherwise we might just end up campaigning for a statue.

George is reputed to have played amateur football, and (so the story goes) starting writing about his team for the local paper. He had a trial with Shildon, a local non-league club who are still in existence playing in the Northern League.

Being rather a better writer than football he took up the former and dropped the latter and at some stage before 1906 was apparently assistant to the manager of Middlesbrough FC – but I can find very little about this.

So here’s the first question: what took George to London in 1906? My guess is a desire to break into the big world of journalism. He worked for Edward Hulton who ultimately started the Daily Sketch, a rival to the Daily Mirror, but with Conservative views. But that was not for a few years, and quite what he did for Hulton’s publishing group again I am not sure. Maybe it will all emerge in time.

But it appears that he initially got freelance work and quickly established himself as a football writer who was willing to go out to the wilderness of north Kent to report on Woolwich Arsenal. This was the era when the club was on the edge of becoming something special for both in 1906 and 1907 Woolwich Arsenal got to the semi-final of the FA Cup and indeed in 1907 they had their best league finish – 7th in the first division. Indeed it is said that Chapman wrote reports on the matches at Plumstead for several different papers using different journalistic “voices” and different writing nom-de-plumes.

By 1910 things had moved on. He became the greyhound racing correspondent of Sporting Life, and under Henry Norris’ ownership of Woolwich Arsenal started to write Gunners’ Mate – the leading article in the match day programme.

It is also reported that at the coronation of King George V (an event which failed to set the working classes of London alight with royal enthusiasm) he met Lord Kitchener, and wrote up the story for the New York Post which led to a regular weekly column in that paper. In 1912 he joined the staff of William Randolph Hearst, the American politician and newspaper magnate.

I think (as I start my journey into the life of George Allison) that this was significant. You will know, if you have been reading the story of Woolwich Arsenal, that in 1913 George Allison edited the first club handbook in which appeared the first official history of Arsenal FC. You’ll also know that we have shown on this site that part of that story (the part related to Arsenal’s move into professionalism and the resultant action of the London FA and Kent FA, was a complete invention.

Randolph Hearst is described in the book Unreliable Sources as a man who “routinely invented sensational stories, faked interviews, ran phony pictures and distorted real events.” A similar charge is laid in the book “The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism” by Upton Sinclair.

We’ve not suggested that George Allison did this, but it is most interesting to find him working for a newspaper owner who was so widely believed to do this that his approach was given a name: Yellow Journalism – a name that derived from a character in Hearst’s Hogan’s Alley comic strip.

Sinclair said in the Brass Check, that the “Universal News Bureau” owned b y Hearst re-wrote the news of the London papers and then sent it out to American afternoon newspapers under the names of non-existent “Hearst correspondents” in Europe.

Knowing this much background we might guess at once at what George Allison’s job was in the first world war. He worked with the War Office and the Admiralty writing propaganda. After the war he joined both Arsenal and the BBC. For the BBC he was the first person to do commentaries on major sports events such as the Derby, the Grand National, the football international England v Scotland (then an annual match) and, most notably, the 1927 Cup final of Cardiff v Arsenal.

George Allison was the main football commentator of the BBC and it is said that by 1931 the BBC was broadcasting over 100 games per season. This was the era in which the Radio Times ran a picture of the pitch divided into squares with a background voice saying which square the ball was in as play moved around the field. It is also said that this was the origin of the phrase “Back to Square One”.

However the Football League was unhappy with the effect it believed the coverage was having on attendances and so banned the BBC from continuing the activity – and the ban stayed in place until 1945 (although the FA Cup Final continued to be broadcast).

For Arsenal he was first secretary and then managing director. When Herbert Chapman died in January 1934 the club appointed Joe Shaw (see separate article on this site) as temporary manager for the rest of the season before giving the job to George Allison. He won the league (1933-4) and the FA Cup 1935-6), followed by the League 1937-8).

If you know the face and look of George Allison it is probably because you have seen him in The Arsenal Stadium Mystery movie (1939) where unlike most of the rest of the club, he had a proper acting role as himself in the film, and says, part way through the game that is the heart of the story, “It’s one-nil to the Arsenal. That’s the way we like it.”

George Allison retained the services of Joe Shaw (who had led the club to the championship after Chapman’s death) and Tom Whittaker (who followed him as manager). Those two trained the players, while George Allison focussed on transfers and (understandably) the media.

Bernard Joy, who wrote “Forward Arsenal!” and who reprinted Allison’s story about the boycott of Woolwich Arsenal by clubs after Arsenal turned professional, said of George Allison that he was “tactful, friendly and good-hearted” but “lacked the professional’s deep knowledge of the game”.

Bob Wall (Herbert Chapman’s assistant said in his autobiography “Arsenal from the Heart”, “Allison was a complete contrast to Chapman… He never claimed to possess a deep theoretical knowledge of the game but he listened closely to what people like Tom Whittaker and Alex James had to say. Like Chapman before him, Allison always insisted that, no matter how good a prospective signing might be, he would secure him only if his character was beyond reproach.”

This did not stop him making big signings however. In 1938 he bought Bryn Jones from Wolverhampton W for £14,000 – which might not seem too big a deal, but it was a world record, and led to a debate in the House of Commons in which the club and its manager were roundly criticised.

Quite what happened to Allison in the second world war I am not sure – it is said he was instrumental in running the club during that time as we participated in the war time regional league, but George Allison returned for the 1946-7 season, in which we came a disappointing 13th, going out of the FA Cup in the third round to Chelsea.

After this single post-war season George Allison retired, and he died ten years later on 13 March 1957.

There’s a video of George Allison talking here and there’s a picture of him in the National Portrait Gallery

I do hope you might have more to add to this story. I’m going to have a look at the results during his time as manager – but all information is welcome.

12 comments to Why do a series on George Allison?

Only crumblies like me can claim to have been nurtured on Arsenal FC by the George Allison era he of the very cultured voice. One memory I have bears out his policy that players should be beyond reproach in all respects. One prospective signing was abandoned by him “because of his unfortunate table manners”. The cereal firm Quaker Oats produced a book on football and Arsenal in the mid 30’s in which Allison wrote some of the text. You could only get the book by sending in coupons from the cereal packets. I remember the year it came out, I ate porridge non-stop (including throughout a very hot summer) until the number of coupons were attained! I wonder if anyone still has a copy.

Nicky this is why I love what happens on this site. For comments like yours. George Allison writing for a porridge company. You don’t find that anywhere else on the internet

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this. I have often wondered why his part in the life of Arsenal is writ so small in official publications. I know that links with Chapman’s family have been maintained down the years. And of course so they should. He remains the most legendary figure in our history, and hugely influential in what matters most – out on the pitch. But Allison played his own role during a period of Arsenal history that evolved from relative obscurity to worldwide fame and glory. Not least he was a great publicist for the club. “Gunner’s mate” and “Voice of Arsenal” seem pure Allison to me. Like or loathe the language and tone of these messages they went a long way to forming Arsenal’s public image, its sense of fair play, its grandness, its prestige. And besides this there were his broadcasts. However hard he strived for impartiality, to many he surely sounded like the voice of Mr Arsenal. And again, laughable as it may seem today, the Arsenal Stadium Mystery in which he featured so prominently did a huge amount to maintain the profile of the club at the end of a decade in which our best football was firmly behind us. To ensure we remained one of the glamorous and great clubs any aspiring young talent would wish to play for. But he seems to have shuffled off with barely a murmur. He was obviously keen on self-publicity as well amd I’m sure a keen sense of his own self-worth naffed off a fair few. You don’t have to read too closely between the lines of Eddie Hapgood’s biography to work out that many of the senior and more influential players had little time for him. And following on from Chapman and Joe Shaw, genuine football men both of them, it’s hardly surprising that he failed to measure up. But he ever professed to have their expertise for tactics or knowledge of the game. He stuck to what he knew and by and large he did that well. I have quite an extensive collection of programmes spanning the past eighty years and very few if any contain tributes to Allison or mentions of any continuing connection with his descendants, if any exist. Being a suspicious type I instinctively start to ruminate on the possibility of power struggles and misdemeanours. But that’s probably too knee jerk of me. I bet Brian Glanville has a theory.

I beleive I have the original press pass of George Allison to the coronation of King george V and Queen Mary on 22nd June 1911 as a reporter for The New York American. Would this be any worth to anyone?

I should think it is worth a small fortune. Before you do anything else could you make a digital copy and email that over to me so that I can put it on this site? If you don’t want to keep it or sell it, I would suggest you might care to donate it to the Arsenal Museum at the Emirates. Or maybe loan it to them. If you do that, perhaps you might mention that I suggested it?

Regarding the Quaker Oats book, there were various offers in it relating to ‘Bastin’s Football Club’ items.
For 4 large Quaker figures and a 1 1/2d stamp, readers could obtain a club shirt badge, which I have in my possession.
I also have thc club medal,complete with old pin.
I don’t have the football bladder though!

When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
and now each time a

comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.

Is there any way you can remove

people from that service? Thank you!

I’m really sorry about this. We are running standard Word Press software, and so its not something that I have any knowledge about. I’ll try and find out, but for the moment the only thing I can suggest is that you set up an automatic delete for anything that comes from the address that the annoying emails are sent from.

My Name is Billy Allison, when my Father passed away several years ago, I found some old scrap book of his, and in it is a short clipping about ‘George Frederick Allison’, it would seem that he may have been my Father’s Uncle that had left home long before he got to see his nephew.

Over the years, family and none family members have mentioned how I resemble him, I thought it was simply the name that drew their attention.

I’d love to find out more about him and his past/family etc,

Where is George Allison buried?
He died in Golders Green in 1957 only a few miles from where Herbert Chapman died.

Graham, I don’t have a note of that. I have done a little searching on the internet but without luck. I do hope if anyone knows they will write in.

Sheriffs of Reno County: George Allison

Reno County Sheriff George T. Allison. Author’s collection

It’s 1:30 Sunday afternoon, April 11, 1943, in Eureka, California, in St. Bernard’s Cathedral rectory. Georgiann Allison, 19, daughter of George and Charline Allison, Hutchinson, Kansas, is marrying Richard Harmon, 21, son of J. Clair and Florence Harmon, also from Hutchinson.

It’s Sunday afternoon, April 11, 1943, near Langdon, Kansas. Daisy May Sherow Jones folds and unfolds a newspaper clipping from the society page, then returns it to her family bible.

Georgiann Allison, Hutchinson High School 1940 yearbook senior class photo. Steve Harmon collection

As Georgiann dressed for her wedding day, she remembered a high school Homemaking class assignment from her senior year. Miss Marian Brookover, known as “Brookie,” was her teacher. The purpose of the class was to develop homemakers of tomorrow.

Well, Georgiann thought, tomorrow is today.

For the assignment, Georgiann had made drawings of her completely decorated future home. She even described her future husband and three children. Richard Harmon, who Georgiann was dating, was her first choice for matrimony.

Donald “Richard” Harmon, SK 1/c, Coast Guard, yeoman and storekeeper. Steve Harmon collection

Two years later, in July 1942, Richard enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, along with his buddy, Dave Betz. By the spring of 1943, storekeeper (SK) Harmon, and yeoman (YN) Betz, stationed at Samoa, north of Eureka, California, were missing their sweethearts in Hutchinson. They proposed a west coast wedding.

Click to learn about the “Sand Pounders”: US Coast Guard Beach Patrol

Charline Frances Graves was born and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas. In 1904, when George Allison came to town to help C. H. McBurney open his new dry goods store, Charline noticed.

George, 24, and Charline, 19, were married May 21, 1907, in a double-ring wedding in the home of her parents.

Charline closed her eyes and heard the piano music that had played during her marriage ceremony, Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.”

She and George stood under an arbor of green foliage and ferns. Charline’s dress was white Swiss, beautifully trimmed in Mechlin lace. She carried bride’s roses.

C. H. McBurney’s Dry Goods store in Hutchinson, Kansas. Photo by Marion W. Bailey. Author’s collection

As a boy in knee pants and barefoot, George started working for C. H. McBurney’s Dry Goods store in Burlingame, Kansas. Gradually, over the years, George learned the mercantile business. In 1904 he got an offer he couldn’t refuse. McBurney promised him steady work if he would move to Hutchinson with the owner-manager.

Charles McBurney opened “The New Dry Goods Store” in 1905. George Allison became the window trimmer and then the floor manager.

In April 1908, George got another offer. Hostutler & Hipple Clothing and Gents’ Furnishings, lured him away from McBurney’s. The timing couldn’t have been better. Charline gave birth to a baby boy the next month. They named him Burkson Willard.

William Burkson Allison gravestone at Eastside Cemetery, Hutchinson, KS. Author’s collection

In 1909, Charline and George were counting their blessings when tragedy struck. Burkson, fourteen months old, became ill and died after a short illness of spinal meningitis.

A small miracle occurred in 1923 when George was superintendent of the Hutchinson-Wiley Dry Goods Company. It had been fourteen years since their baby Burkson had died. Many people were surprised when George and Charline welcomed a homeless baby into their home.

In December 1923, the Allison’s introduced three-month-old Georgiann to their friends at a baby garment shower. Two months later, on February 8, 1924, they officially adopted her from the Kansas Children’s Home Society.

Reno County Sheriff George T. Allison (seated) with staff (L-R): George Salmon, undersheriff O. W. “Steve” Stapleton, tax collector Frank Kelly, criminal investigator Oscar “Shorty” Shaw, jailer Guy Ankerholz, office deputy. Author’s collection

George Allison took a four-year detour from the clothing business when he successfully ran for Reno County sheriff in 1934, and took office in 1935. He was reelected in 1936 and served until 1939. In his two terms as sheriff there were plenty of arrests yet no escapes from the county jail.

After an unsuccessful campaign running for Reno County commissioner, George opened up George Allison Cleaners.

The day of Georgiann’s wedding, she told her close friend, Velma Owen: “Sometimes, I wonder if my biological mother or father are still alive and if I have siblings. Can you imagine them ever thinking about me?”

“You may never know your birth parents,” said Velma. “Have you asked Charline or George for help?”

Wedding day, April 11, 1943, in Eureka, CA, for Richard Harmon & Georgiann Allison. Steve Harmon collection

As the Eureka, California, wedding ceremony ended, Georgiann shed a tear of happiness. She considered her life, about learning she’d been homeless as a baby, about being wanted and loved by new parents, about a future with Richard, including her expectations of raising three children. This was the life she had dreamed and the one she had planned in her high school Homemaking class. Georgiann still had the notebook to prove it.

It’s Sunday afternoon, April 11, 1943, near Langdon, Kansas. Daisy May Sherow Jones is shaking and crying. She picks up her bible and opens it. She unfolds a newspaper clipping.

As Daisy rereads the article about Georgiann Allison getting married in Eureka, California, Daisy’s grateful. She says: “Thank you god. My baby’s getting married today.”

Click to see a WANTED Poster: 1938 WANTED Poster WANTED Earl Young

Allison History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Clan from whom the Allison family descends began among the ancient Dalriadan kingdom of the west coast of Scotland. Their name comes from the name for the son of "Ellis" or Ellis' son. Conversely, the surname could be is derived from "Alice" as in "the son of Alice." It is likely though that the name was derived from "Ellis" rather than the female personal name. [1]

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Early Origins of the Allison family

The surname Allison was first found in the county of Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they acquired some time before 1300 the territories of their family seat at Loupe. They were descended from Angus Mor MacDonnell, Lord of the Isles, their Gaelic name was MacAllister, and it is difficult through history to distinguish one name from the other.

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Early History of the Allison family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Allison research. Another 42 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1296 and 1314 are included under the topic Early Allison History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Unisex Coat of Arms Hooded Sweatshirt

Allison Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name Allison include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include Allison, Alison, Alinson, Allinson, McAllister, MacAllister, Ellison and many more.

Early Notables of the Allison family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Allison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Allison family to Ireland

Some of the Allison family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Allison migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Allison Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Allison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Allison, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1750 [2]
  • Andrew Allison who settled in Philadelphia in 1750 with his two brothers named James and Robert
  • William Allison who settled in Pennsylvania in 1764 and was one of the first to examine political strategy
  • Jean Allison who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1775
  • Archibald Allison, who arrived in North Carolina in 1776 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Allison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Duffin Allison, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • John Allison approved the constitution on behalf of Pennsylvania, and Francis Allison, a great classical scholar had a conspicuous role in educating the American mind to the thought of independence
  • Andrew Allison, who arrived in New York in 1830 [2]
  • Elihu Allison, who arrived in Texas in 1835 [2]
  • Andrew Allison, who landed in Mississippi in 1845 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Allison migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Allison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Captain Edward Allison U.E. born in Long Island, New York, USA, United Empire Loyalist who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 Captain of De Lancey's 3rd Battalion [3]
  • Mr. Joseph Allison U.E., United Empire Loyalist who settled in Adolptus Town [Adolphustown], Ontario c. 1783 [3]
  • Mr. William Allison U.E., United Empire Loyalist who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [3]
Allison Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Allison, aged 1 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Washington" departing 9th July 1847 from Liverpool, England the ship arrived on 26th August 1847 but he died on board [4]

Allison migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Allison Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Isabella Allison, (b. 1804), aged 22, Irish country servant who was convicted in Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland for 7 years for pick pocketing, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, listed as having 1 child [5]
  • Ann Allison (alias Miller), Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia[6]
  • Mr. Joseph Allison, Sr., British Convict who was convicted in Cumberland, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[7]
  • Mr. Joseph Allison, Jr., British Convict who was convicted in Cumberland, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[7]
  • Thomas Allison, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia[8]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Allison migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

From our September 2016 issue

Check out the full table of contents and find your next story to read.

Were a Council of Historical Advisers in place today, it could consider precedents for numerous strategic problems. For example: As tensions increase between the U.S. and China in the South and East China Seas, are U.S. commitments to Japan, the Philippines, and other countries as dangerous to peace as the 1839 treaty governing Belgian neutrality, which became the casus belli between Britain and Germany in 1914?

The council might study whether a former president’s handling of another crisis could be applied to a current challenge (what would X have done?). Consider Obama’s decision to strike an imperfect deal to halt or at least delay Iran’s nuclear program, rather than bombing its uranium-enrichment plants, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoped he might. Obama’s deliberations have significant parallels with Kennedy’s decision during the Cuban missile crisis to strike a deal with Nikita Khrushchev, rather than invading Cuba or learning to live with Soviet missiles off Florida’s coast.

A president might also ask the council “what if?” questions. What if some action had not been taken, or a different action had been taken? (These questions are too seldom asked after a policy failure.) In this spirit, the next president could ask the council to replay 2013. What if Obama had enforced his “red line” against the Assad regime, rather than working with Russia to remove Syrian chemical weapons? Was this decision, as critics maintain, the biggest error of his presidency? Or was it, as he insists, one of his best calls?

Finally, the council might consider grand strategic questions, including perhaps the biggest one of all: Is the U.S. in decline? Can it surmount the challenges facing it, or will American power steadily erode in the decades ahead?

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offer answers to these questions. Indeed, Trump proposes to “make America great again,” implying that decline has already occurred, and to put “America first,” reviving a slogan with, to put it mildly, a problematic history. The presidential campaign thus far gives us little confidence that America’s history deficit is about to be closed.

We suggest that the charter for the future Council of Historical Advisers begin with Thucydides’s observation that “the events of future history … will be of the same nature—or nearly so—as the history of the past, so long as men are men.” Although applied historians will never be clairvoyants with unclouded crystal balls, we agree with Winston Churchill: “The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward.”

Timeline of Allison MacKenzie Law Firm

George Allison joined with Peter Laxalt and Robert Berry in founding the firm that later became known as Laxalt, Berry & Allison.

Paul Laxalt became a member of Laxalt, Berry & Allison until elected United State Senator for Nevada in 1974.

George Allison, Andrew MacKenzie, Melvin Brunetti and Reese Taylor continued the firm under the name Allison, Brunetti, MacKenzie & Taylor, Ltd.

Andrew MacKenzie appointed to State Bar of Nevada Fee Dispute Committee.

James Todd Russell elected President of the First Judicial District Bar Association.

Reese Taylor became Interstate Commerce Commission Chairman.

Melvin Brunetti became a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge.

Joan C. Wright elected President of the First Judicial District Bar Association.

Andrew MacKenzie appointed to State of Nevada Judicial Selection Commission.

Patrick V. Fagan appointed to the State Bar of Nevada Disciplinary Board.

The firm expanded its offices.

James R. Cavilia appointed Chairman of the Carson City Charter Review Commission.

Andrew MacKenzie appointed to the U.S. District Court Magistrate Selection Panel.

Karen A. Peterson appointed Chairman of the State Bar of Nevada Board of Bar Examiners.

Patrick V. Fagan Appointed Commissioner of the Nevada Minerals Resources Commission.

Karen A. Peterson appointed Judge Pro-Tem, Carson City Justice and Municipal Courts.

Mark Amodei elected to Nevada State Senate.

Christopher MacKenzie appointed to the State Board of Wildlife Commission.

Patrick V. Fagan appointed Chairman of the State Bar of Nevada Fee Dispute Committee.

Patrick V. Fagan appointed Judge Pro-Tem, Douglas County – Tahoe Justice Court.

Christopher MacKenzie elected Chariman of the State Board of Wildlife Commission.

James Todd Russell became District Court Judge for the First Judicial District Court for Carson City and Storey County.

Ryan D. Russell appointed Judge pro-tem, Carson City Justice and Municipal Courts

George Allison received Judge Howard D. McKibben Model of Professionalism Award.

Ryan D. Russell appointed Trustee of the Justice League of Nevada

Ryan D. Russell elected to State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors

Ryan D. Russell re-elected to State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors

Joel W. Locke elected to State Bar of Nevada Family Law Executive Council

Joan C. Wright and Mike Pavlakis recognized for 40 years of service by the Washoe County Bar Association

Joel W. Locke elected to State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors

Attorneys within the firm hold or have held positions on the state judicial selection committees, the state board of bar examiners, the state continuing legal education committee, the state practice and procedure committee, disciplinary committee, local bar administrative and fee dispute committee, and executive counsel of the young lawyers’ section of the state bar.

Members of the firm serve or have served on the Carson City Redevelopment Authority, Historical Architectural Review Committee, the Carson City Airport Advisory Committee, as well as held leadership roles in Saferide, Rotary, Masonic Lodge, Special Olympics, Soroptomist, Carson Water Management Board, Carson City Children’s Museum, Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevada and a variety of other charitable and community-involved programs.

Today, with a complement of 15 lawyers, the firm welcomes added challenges and is positioned for growth and continued success. Additionally, Allison MacKenzie, with its registered lobbyists, represents numerous clients before the state legislature and interim committees. The firm’s members are actively involved in professional and other organizations in their community.

From Private John Allison

To His Excellancy Genl Washington Commander in Chief of all the United States of North America &c. &c. &c.

The Humble Petition of John Alison Soldier in the fifth New York Regt in the late Captain Hutchins Company1—Most Humbly Sheweth:

Whereas your Excellancies Petitioner, having only Inlisted for the Term of three years, and that time being Expired the first day of January last past, and Whereas I made application to the Commanding Officer of the Regt for my Discharge, but Could not Obtain it, though I produced Evidence Sworn in Writing that I was only Inlisted for three Years and no longer which Depositions I Inclose that your Excellancy may see the fairness and Clearness of my Inlistment2—Now Please your Excellancey I implore that you would see me Justice done in this affair, and your Petitioner as in Duty Bound shall Pray.

N.B. As the Commanding Officer of the Regt would give no attention to the Affidavits produced and Sworn, without the Evidences personally appeared—I produced them personally, and yet would not Accept of them.3

John Allison (b. 1754) came from a Haverstraw, N.Y., family that resided on “a large farm” with “much landed estate” ( Morrison, Alison or Allison Family description begins Leonard Allison Morrison. The History of the Alison or Allison Family In Europe and America, A.D. 1135 to 1893 Giving an Account of the Family in Scotland, England, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Boston, 1893. description ends , 253–54). He enlisted in April 1777 as a corporal in the 5th New York Regiment, and his service record indicates “war” as the enlistment period. Reduced to private on 22 June 1778, Allison deposed on 29 May 1821 that “he served until 1783, when he was discharged near New Windsor & Newburgh, by his Excellency General Washington” (DNA : RG 15, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900 see also DNA : RG 93, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, 5th New York Regiment).

1 . Amos Hutchins (Hutchings), who married Allison’s older sister, Mary, in 1764, served as captain in the 5th New York Regiment from November 1776 until he resigned in May 1778.

2 . Allison enclosed a deposition sworn before the justice of the peace for Orange County, N.Y., on 17 Jan.: “thomas Allison Being of full age … Saith that Some time past that the Deponant was present when John aleson the Son of Joseph allison Did Inlist In the Continantal Service as a Solder Under Amos hutchings Cpn hutchings Insisted that alleson should Inlist During the war Allison absolutely Denyed Inlisted any Longer than three Years Nether would he Inlist for anytime or without Hutchings would Give from Under his hand that he Did Not Inlist for no Longer then three Years and further this Deponant Saith that he was presant when hutchings Did Give from Under his hand Unto John allison that he was Inlisted for no Longer than three Years” (DLC:GW ).

3 . Who commanded the 5th New York Regiment during spring 1780 is uncertain the unit’s colonel, Lewis Duboys, had resigned in December 1779, and its lieutenant colonel and major—respectively, Jacobus Severyn Bruyn and Samuel Logan—were prisoners of war.

ALLISON Genealogy

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From John Allison

At a meeting of the Officers of the Continental line in October last to appoint officers of the State Society of Cincinnati It was there resolv’d, that no officer not holding a Continental Commission should be entitled to become a member 1—As I saw it in a different light from the Gentlemen that compos’d that Body I beg leave to lay before your Excellency the State & progress, of the Regiment to which I belong’d from its first rise to the close of the War.

April 1st 1776 an order passed the Committee of Safety for raising Nine Companies of Marines for the defence of the State many of these Companys were compleated in less than a Month, & imeadeately enter’d upon Service.2

In the October Session following an addition was made of Six Regiments to the Continental Line, and three Regts of Infantry was likewise order’d to be rais’d for the defence of the State In which three Regts was to be incorporated the Nine Marine Companies, they being found useless aboard small Vessels.3

May 1777 the Assembly finding they were deficient in their Continental Quota—Ordered that a Regiment of the State troops should imeadiately march to join the Continental Army under the Command of Genl Washington 4—Which Regt was chiefly compos’d of the Marine Companies (who readily turn’d out Volunteers) And were put under the Command of Coll George Gibson.

The October Session of 1777 pass’d an act that the Regt of State troops under Colo. George Gibson, then in Continental Service, Should remain in place of the Ninth Virginia Regt Captured at German Town, to be considered as part of their Continental quota And to be entitled to every previlige & emolument of Continental troops from this state, Which Act was coroborated by several others of a Similar Nature.5

In Jany 1779 an application was made to Congress respecting our Regiment, and receiv’d the following proceedings for Answer viz.—6

At a meeting of the Committee appointed by Congress to confer with the Commander in Chief—

Present Mr Duane
Mr Laurens In Conference with the
Mr Root Commander in Chief
Mr M. Smith

A letter from Coll George Gibson of one of the State Regiments of Virginia setting forth that he had recd no orders for re-enlisting that said Regiment, & that the time for which the men were enlisted is daily expiring—that very few of the men were enlisted to serve during the War and that they are willing to enlist on the same terms as the troops from the State of Virginia, in Continental Service, was read and the said letter being refer’d to this Committee with power to take such order thereon as they shall Judge proper It is unanimously agreed that the Commander in Chief shall give orders for re-enlisting the men belonging to the said Regiment for the War, allowing them the Contl Bounty, & that if the State of Virginia shall incline to take the Regiments when so re-enlisted into its own imeadiate Service, it shall be at liberty to do so and in that case, the Bounty money to be advanced out of the Continental Treasury together with the Expences of recruiting shall be returned.

It is further agreed that if Colo. Smith & his Regiment rais’d for the service of the State of Virginia shall make a similar application to the Commander in Chief of the Army of these United States,7 the same ⟨mea⟩sures in all respects to be pursued with Regard to that Regiment.

That a Copy of this resolution be deliver’d to the Commander in Chief, & the Original lodged with the Board of War.

Done in Committee of Conference with the Commander in Chief and Sign’d by their order—

A Copy of the above proceedings was transmited to Virginia, whereupon the House of Delegates came to the following Resolution—

In the House of Delegates May 24th 1780

Resolved, that the officers of the first & Second State Regiments, having been employd for several years in the Continental Army, received by Congress as a part of the Quota of this State, and paid by the Continent as such, ought to have enjoyed equal rank privilege & emoluments, from the time of their being ordered to join the American Army, with the Continental Troops of this State.

Resolved, that the Congress by a Resolution dated the thirty first day of Jany 1779 have declaird their Willingness to take the said Regiments into the Continental line, it is expedient that the said Resolution be carried into execution, and that it be further recomended to Congress to give Rank to the Officers of these two state Regiments, having relation to the state of their State Commissions, Provided that such officers shall not be entitl’d to promotion except in the line of the said two regiments.

Resolved, that all disputes relative to rank or command among the officers of the said two Regiments shall be determined by a Board of Officers in like manner & under the same rules as given in the Continental Army.

The Regiment in the Spring of 1780 consisting of 100 men for the War, Rendezvous at Petersburg this number were properly officer’d & sent on to the Southard, where most of them ended their Military carreer in Continental Service some of the Supernumerary Officers were incorporated with some troops then in the State & thrown into a Legion under Lt Colo. Dabney, which Legion existed to the close of the War.8

The proposals for establishing the Society of Cincinnati Says: All Officers of the American Army &c. &c. have the right to become parties to this institution—had the Gentlemen that compos’d the meeting of the Virginia line attended to the above circumstance perhaps there might been no necessity of troubling your Excellency on the Subject—Though it was our missfortune throughout the course of the War, to labour under the disadvantage of State Commissions, (owing entirely to our own neglect at our first entering into Contl Service) I believe it is evident we compos’d a part of the American Army as well as those that held Continental Commissions—To your determination we Submit the matter. In behalf of myself & the Officers of the first and Second State Regiments, I am your Excellencys most Obdt Hubl. Servt

John Allison Lt Colo. 1st S. Reg.

John Allison, a merchant in Alexandria and an occasional visitor at Mount Vernon, was major of the 1st Virginia Regiment when it and the 2d Virginia Regiment were transferred to Continental service in 1777, and he was its lieutenant colonel at the time of his retirement in February 1781. No letter in answer to this has been found, but GW may have responded in person.

1 . At its initial meetings in October 1783 in Fredericksburg, the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati voted that the matter of “the admission of the Officers of the State Corps . . . should be refered to the decision of the General Meeting” (Edgar E. Hume, Sesquecentennial History and Roster of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, 1783–1933 [Richmond, Va., 1934], 66). The delegates to the general meeting in Philadelphia in May decided that the officers of such state units were eligible for election to the society (see note 33, Winthrop Sargent’s Journal, doc. II in General Meeting of the Society of the Cincinnati, 4–18 May).

2 . See the proceedings of the Virginia committee of safety for 29 Mar. and 1 April 1776, printed in Scribner and Tarter, Revolutionary Virginia, description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record . 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends 6:266–68, 295–303.

3 . See “An Act for raising six additional battalions of infantry on the continental establishment” and “An Act for making a farther provision for the internal security and defence of this country” (9 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 . 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 179–84, 192–98).

4 . The journal of the Virginia house of delegates for its May 1777 session has been lost.

5 . Allison is referring to “An Act for speedily recruiting the Virginia Regiments on the continental establishment, and for raising additional troops of Volunteers” (ibid., 337–49). George Gibson (1747–1791) of Cumberland County, Pa., was colonel of the 1st Virginia State Regiment from June 1777 to January 1782. He returned to live in his native Pennsylvania after leaving the army.

6 . Colonel Gibson wrote GW on 23 Jan. 1779: “The Assembly of Virginia in their late Act passed for the reinlistment of their Troops [9 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 . 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 565–67] have not taken any notice of the Two State regiments anex’d to the Continental Army.” Gibson went on to point out that “His Excelly the Governor & many Gentn of the House of Assembly told me we were considerd as continental troops from the time we were taken into Continental Pay” (DNA:PCC , item 78). From 1777 on the 1st and 2d Virginia state regiments were in the Continental service, paid by the Congress, but they were not “on continental establishment” as were the regular Virginia regiments in the Continental army. GW gave Gibson’s letter to Congress on 29 Jan., when it was referred to a committee. The committee’s report as given here by Gibson has not been found in DNA:PCC .

7 . Gregory Smith was colonel of the 2d Regiment of the Virginia state line from June 1777 until January 1779.

8 . Gov. Benjamin Harrison in January 1782 ordered the formation of the Virginia state legion from the remnants of the 1st state regiment and of other units, and Lt. Col. Charles Dabney of the 1st Regiment was given the command of the legion.

Watch the video: George Allison Every Hoe (January 2022).