The son of William Smith and Mary Jane (Sprague) Allen, he was born 31 July 1860 in Jacksonville, Florida. At the time of his death, 12 October 1954, he was the oldest living member of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association.
After Jacksonville was bombarded during the Civil War, the Allen family fled to Key West. A few years later, Mary Jane contracted yellow fever, and William moved her and their three sons back to her hometown of Ithaca, New York. She died when Dwight was only nine years old. Dwight attended school in Ithaca, and finished in Key West when his father moved back there. By 1873, his father had settled in Chokoloskee, near Everglades City on Florida’s southwest coast. From 1880—1883 Dwight served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Galena.
Dwight was appointed assistant keeper for the Jupiter Lighthouse in 1885, a position he held for six years. Many of the early settlers were keepers at the lighthouse. It was one of the few ways to earn “hard cash.” While at the lighthouse, Dwight entertained visitors by walking barefoot on the railing around the top and ending with a handstand. He had such great equilibrium from climbing riggings since the age of twelve.
In 1891, Dwight moved south to the shores of the lake of Lake Worth and became a farmer. On 10 October 1894, he married Ida Eugenia Russell of Russell, Oconee County, South Carolina, She was born 24 March 1873, one of fifteen children. The children of Dwight and Ida were:
* William Russell, Kibee Russell, George Dwight, Claramae, Margaret (Mrs. John D. Roberts) and Jane (Mrs. Oliver Gordon).
After his marriage in 1894, Dwight built sea walls along the shores of the lake of Lake Worth. At one time he was Customs House Collector.
On his 50 acre farm he grew oranges, pineapples and other fruit. Allendale Road in the south end of West Palm Beach marks the site of his farm land. In 1918, Paris Singer bought 40 acres from him to supply vegetables and fruit to the new Everglades Club.
Dwight’s father, William Smith Allen, was the first permanent white settler in Everglades City He was born in Enfield, Connecticut. When he married, he lived for awhile in Georgia, where he taught school. In the early 1850s, the Aliens settled in Jacksonville, Florida, where William was a bookkeeper for the Fairbanks Sawmilling Company. Years later, he served as Mayor of Key West. Dwight’s brothers, George Whiting and John William Allen, owned a drugstore in Key West, a busy, thriving town. They remained in Key West while Dwight came to the shores of Lake Worth. Most of the Lake Worth pioneers came from the North but Dwight Allen had been in Key West and Southwest Florida before settling here.
Dwight’s daughter, Claramae, took care of her father when he became blind in later years. She had several important secretarial jobs in Washington, D.C., and the Palm Beaches, and she served as Chief Clerk of Board #1 of the Selective Service Bureau for Palm Beach County. Claramae was secretary of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association for eleven years, active as an officer in her D.A.R. chapter, as well as in other organizations.