Allison-Antrim Museum

John Allison

Founder of Greencastle, PA


The land on which Greencastle now stands was first owned by Samuel Smith, having been issued by the Penn proprietors through a land warrant in 1750. In 1761 the holding was conveyed to John Smith who, in 1762, sold the land to John Davison. William Allison purchased the holding in 1763 and in 1769 he transferred three hundred acres of the tract to his son, Col. John Allison.


John Allison was born December 23, 1738, near Greencastle, where he later received a thorough English and colonial education under the care of a Presbyterian minister. In October 1765 he was appointed one of the Provincial Magistrates for Cumberland County and at a meeting of the Citizens of Cumberland County, held at Carlisle, July the 12th, 1774, he was appointed as a member of the Committee of Observation for Cumberland County, becoming quite active in the struggle for Independence. He was a member of the Provincial Conference held at Carpenter's Hall, June 18th, 1776.


He was a Colonel of the Second Battalion of the Cumberland County Associators (Flying Camp) during the Jersey campaign in 1776 1777 and a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1778, 1780, 1781. In 1787 Allison was chosen as a Delegate from Franklin County, to the Pennsylvania Convention to ratify the Federal constitution, and in that Convention he seconded the motion of Thomas McKean to ratify it. In 1788 he was nominated for Congress, but was defeated because he had taken a bold stand for ratification of the Federal Constitution, while his colleagues opposed it. This action made him unpopular with the people and caused his defeat.


He married Elizabeth Wilkin November 3, 1768 and was the father of twelve children. In 1782 he laid out and founded Greencastle. He died June 14th, 1795 and was buried at the Moss Spring graveyard.




Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc

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Greencastle, PA 17225