Henry Watkins Allen
Born: April 29, 1820 in Farmerville, Virginia
Political Affiliation: "Know Nothing" (American) Party; later joined the Democratic Party.
Religious Affiliation: Presbyterian
Education: Marion College in Philadelphia, Missouri.
Career Prior to Term: Mississippi State Representative; Louisiana State Representative; Confederate General.
How He Became Governor: Elected on November 2, 1863 by Confederate Louisiana
Career after Term: Exiled to Mexico; edited English language newspaper.
Died: April 22, 1866 in Mexico City; body later interred on Old State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge.
Henry Allen served Confederate Louisiana as an officer in the Battle of Shiloh and in the defense of Baton Rouge where he was wounded in both legs. As Governor, Allen persuaded the legislature to adopt programs which benefited a poverty-stricken populace: approving the free distribution of cotton cards and the free distribution of medicine. He established a system of unified currency and state-run stores for citizens to buy basic supplies at low cost.
His administration began a program of cotton collection and trading that defeated the Union blockade, maintained public schools and opened two medical dispensaries in northern Louisiana.
Allen doggedly promoted military resistance, forming the 8th Louisiana Cavalry Regiment and advocating freeing and arming slaves to fight for the Confederacy. He favored continued resistance after Lee's surrender.
Allen fled to Mexico in 1865 where he began publishing an English language newspaper. He died in Mexico City in 1866. Governor Allen's body now lies at rest on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.