Abel Allen, ca. 1765–1840


house carpenter or housewright


Providence, Rhode Island


Abel Allen has been listed as a cabinetmaker in Providence in the Decorative Arts Photographic Collection at Winterthur. It is more likely he worked as a house carpenter. He was paid for making repairs to the pew of Nathaniel Richmond in Dr. Hitchcock’s Providence meetinghouse in 1795. The bill was from both Abel and Darius Allen, also a housewright or carpenter, and possibly a relative.(1) In 1798 he was paid by the Providence firm of Almy and Brown to cover its "Writing Table & Desk" with baize.(2) Abel also provided Caleb Wheaton, the Providence clockmaker, with 465 of feet merchantable pine boards in 1802 when Wheaton was an administrator of the estate of Nathan Sterry.(3) The boards no doubt came from the lumber yard that he maintained near the Episcopal Church where he claimed to also carry on the house carpenter business.(4)


Estate of Nathaniel Richmond, bill from Abel and Darius Allen for work done on pew, 1795. Providence Probate Files, A1625, City Hall, Providence, Rhode Island.

2. Abel Allen Bill, Providence, Rhode Island, December 1798, account with Almy and Brown, Almy and Brown Papers, 1789-1800, Rhode Island Historical Society, as cited in Nancy Goyne Evans, "From Craft Shop to Countinghouse: The Interaction of Woodworkers and Allied Artisans with the Business Community in the Late Colonial and Federal Periods," American Furniture 2020, p. 33.

3. Bill from Abel Allen to Caleb Wheaton for 465 ft merchantable pine board. Providence ProbHall, ame 760, A1713, City Hall, Providence, Rhode Island.

4. Providence Gazette, October 6, 1804, p. 1.