More about Wallace's assistant Charles Allen

Dr Abigale Woods, an Historian of Medicine at Imperial College London, wrote to me to say:
“I just read your post from 2009, 'Musings on Wallace's Assistants, Charles Allen and Ali' [to read it CLICK HERE]. Very interesting, as I recently found out that my boyfriend's family are descended from Charles Allen's daughter, Amelia. The family lived in Singapore for several generations and had pretty eventful lives, only leaving in WWII.”

Abigale then sent the following interesting information she had discovered about Allen and his descendents, which she said I could share with readers of this blog:

"Charles Martin Allen's obituary is in The Straits Times newspaper, 7 July 1892 (see It reads as follows:
“Mr. C. M. Allen of Perseverance Estate, Gaylang, died this morning, at 4.30. Mr. Allen came to the East in 1854 with Wallace author of  “The Malay Peninsula” [should be “Archipelago”] and with him went through Sarawak and Netherlands India. He afterwards took to tin mining and prospecting in the Carimons with Mr. Hartmann. He was a Collector and Magistrate at Klang 25 years ago. He explored the Malay Peninsula in the years 1870 to 1872 for Mr. Fisher, who, as a result, commenced the Galena Co., and the Chindrass Gold Co. He succeeded Mr. Fisher at Perseverance Estate, Gaylang, ten years ago as proprietor, and he continued to manufacture his well known essential oils up to the day of his death. He was an unassuming man of great and varied intelligence, well versed in Native matters, of a kindly disposition and never putting himself forward. He was well liked by all who knew him. He leaves a grown up family of eight children, and a devoted wife to mourne his loss. His son Charles who hasfor some time back managed the business will no doubt carry it on. The funeral takes place at 5.30 o’clock this afternoon.” 

Abigaile continues “The Perseverance Estate is mentioned in several histories of the region. It was founded by the wealthy Alsagoff family, and was a major source of citronella (lemon grass) and patchouli. It seems to have foundered around the turn of the 20th century.” [The estate is now a district of Singapore city ( and is “considered to be the heart of the Muslim community in Singapore.” (]

“Charles married a Christina Elizabette (apparently of French extraction) in 1860. The children I have identified are:
- William Martin (?)
- Elizabeth Christina (1864-1934, never married, died in Singapore)
- Amelia Allen (1865-1929), who married Joseph Gray (b. South Shields, 1853, joined the merchant navy, was briefly the 2nd mate on the Cutty Sark, eventually settled in Singapore and became the Pilot for Keppel Harbour). They had two children, from which my boyfriend, Nick Riches, is descended. The family fled to Australia when the Japanese invaded and eventually returned to England.
- John (1867-1914)
- Charles Henry (1868-1910)
- Annie Beatrice (b.1880, married Charles Walter Edwards in 1908). Her granddaughter has posted a story of their branch of the family at They also fled to Australia in WWII.
- another daughter, later Mrs Bidwell”

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