John F. Allan, born March 4, 1852, in Daviess County, Ky., is a son of Benjamin S. and Rebecca (Evans) Allan, natives of Jefferson County, Ky. His father came to Daviess County in 1851, and located on a farm eight miles from Owensboro, on the Hardinburg road. He lived there nine years and then sold it, and bought another seven miles east of Owensboro, where he still lives. John F. was the eldest of six children. He attended the district school of his neighborhood, known as the “Pleasant Valley” school, and afterward spent three years at school in Louisville.
His earliest delights were connected with pictures, and his highest aspirations to be an artist. His visit to the Centennial in 1876, that sublime vista of art treasures, only impressed him the more with a higher appreciation and respect for that which he ever had a fondness – the fine arts. And though for a time his productions were undervalued by the community, scarcely obtaining for himself a subsistence, yet he was content to dwell in simple retirement, believing that labor would bring its own reward. The love of the beautiful was the law of his being; the beautiful in nature and art, his chief joy. It is said the sight of the mountain and sea moved him with unutterable thought. And that years ago, while on a visit to St. Louis, Mo., he became so interested and forgetful of self and his surroundings in the study of a statuette, he was unconsciously robbed of his watch, which was never captured. While Mr. Allan’s portraits possess not the finish which are given by other artists of more experience, yet he is remarkable in securing a true likeness, and his production seems to flow from his hand with freedom. He says while he neither expects profit nor fame from his profession, yet the pleasure derived from it have amply rewarded him; that it has multiplied and refined his enjoyments. His chief delight is in obscurity and repose, embodying the visions of beauty that rise before his spiritual sight, and they expand into full-blown beauty as he ponders over them.
Source: History of Daviess County, Kentucky. Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co., 1883. Print.