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The Allworth Family Roots

Edward Alfred Allworth, the son of Edward Christopher Allworth-II (1895–1966) and Ethel Elaine Allworth (1897–1995), was born on December 1, 1920 in Columbia, South Carolina. How ironic that his birthplace, Columbia, coincides with the name of the prestigious university where he taught for decades in New York City. Though Professor Allworth was born in Columbia, SC, the roots of the Allworth family hail from the Pacific Northwest of the United States. He was born in Columbia because his father was stationed at Fort Jackson as a military officer.


The importance Professor Allworth gave to his family roots led him to write a book published in 2009 entitled From Mansion to Cottage: Fannie Angenette Wickson and Alfred Adolphus Allworth. The book was written with his paternal grandparents in mind, Fannie and Alfred, (hence we find out where Professor Allworth’s middle name comes from) who formed the main link within six related lineages in their background. Professor Allworth extensively researched his family heritage through the assistance of immediate family members and professional genealogists, and the book was penned in the typical scholarly manner he was known for. The progeny of Fannie and Alfred Allworth included seven children and twenty-three grandchildren. 

Their grandchild, Edward Alfred Allworth, was born in a time of great social, political, and economic changes in America and abroad. Overseas, new borders were redrawn after the First World War, resulting in the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires ceasing to exist. His birth coincided with the period called the "Roaring Twenties," when America’s economic prosperity turned the nation into a creditor instead of a debtor for the first time in its history. In his later childhood and teenage years, he also witnessed the heart-breaking effects of the Great Depression (1929-1939) due to the Wall Street Crash of October 1929. 


As Allworth was growing up in these unprecedented times, one cannot overlook the role his parents played in his upbringing. Professor Allworth’s mother, known as Peggy, vividly explained in a 1979 audio interview that their main focus was “family life, children, our responsibilities" and that her husband “turned out to be quite a disciplinarian…. he had rules in our home, too. And our children had to live by them.” [3] The discipline and rules set by Allworth Senior can be traced back to his military service. 


Professor Allworth’s father, Edward Christopher, graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1916 with a degree in commerce and enlisted in the military when the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. By June 1918, he was a Captain in the 60th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Division fighting on the battlefields of France against the Germans. Though the United States entered late in the Great War, it lost an estimated 116,000 servicemen. The fortunate ones to return home included Captain Edward Christopher Allworth, and he returned with the highest military honor. In 1919, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his leadership and bravery at Clery-le-Petit, France, on November 5, 1918 (there were only 124 Medal of Honor recipients during World War I). He would later earn several additional medals such as the Purple Heart and the French Legion of Honor. 

After retiring from the U.S. military as a Major in 1922, Allworth Sr. returned home with his family to Corvallis, OR in 1925. He was appointed as the first director of the student Memorial Union at Oregon State University, his alma mater. He oversaw the construction of the building and was its director for 38 years when he retired in May 1963. The Memorial Union was important in honoring the 2,000 faculty members and alumni of the university who volunteered for military duty during World War I. Who would have known that another student of Oregon State University would later also volunteer for military duty, this time in World War II? This student was Edward Alfred Allworth. 

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