There have been many influential citizens in Suwannee County over the years. One who impacted the county in a rather short time was George Francis Allison, a Suwannee County-born citizen who was well-known enough to be written about in a 1923 book entitled “The History of Florida: Past & Present” from The Lewis Publishing Company. We will look at his life over the next few weeks, beginning with a portion of his biography from “The History of Florida”:

Eric Musgrove

Eric Musgrove

“ALLISON, GEORGE FRANCIS is a sterling citizen whose career has demonstrated in a significant way that the young man of Southern birth may have his full quota of initiative an extensive ability and by progressive methods achieve unequivocal success in connection with business and industrial interests of important order. At Live Oak, judicial center of his native county, Mr. ALLISON is the executive head of the Allison Motor Company, which here has the distributive agency for the Ford automobiles and the Fordson tractors in the territory comprising Suwanee (sic), Lafayette and Dixie counties. The company also owns and conducts the Alamor (Alimar, EM) theater, a modern and handsomely equipped amusement resort at Live Oak. Mr. ALLISON is also secretary and treasurer of the Suwanee Packing Company, one of the important industrial and commercial concerns of the county, is the owner of a large landed estate on the Suwanee River, and is making the same one of the model farms of this section of the state, he is director of the Suwanee County Fair Association and is a leader in the progressive activities of the Live Oak Chamber of Commerce. All of these connections serve to mark him as one of the wide-awake and enterprising citizens and representative men of his native county, where his circle of friends is co-incident with that of his acquaintances. He is a director of the Commercial Bank of Live Oak, was one of the organizers and the first president of the local Rotary Club, and has been a liberal supporter of and active worker in all movements advanced for the general civic and material welfare of his home city and county. He owns and occupies one of the finest modern residences at Live Oak, and in its connection it is interesting to record that the property was originally owned by one of his former employers, for whom he had worked at a salary of sixty dollars a month.

“GEORGE F. ALLISON was born on ‘a backwoods farm’ near Wellborn, Suwanee County, August 25, 1880, and is a son of GEORGE EDWARD and ANNIE ELIZA (MILLER) ALLISON, the former of whom was born in Mississippi, in 1852, and who has been a resident of Suwanee County, Florida, since 1874, his somewhat primitive farm near Wellborn having been by him developed into one of the excellent stock farms of the county, and success has attended his indefatigable and well directed endeavors in connection with agricultural and live stock industry. The mother died in August, 1900, aged about thirty-nine years.

SD_RememberingSuwannee Photo - Live Oak - Alimar Theatre - At Opening - 1922.png

The Alimar Theatre at its opening in 1922.

“Reared on the home farm and afforded the advantages of the local schools, GEORGE F. ALLISON continued his active alliance with farm enterprise until he was twenty-six years of age, when his ambition prompted him to find a means for winning advancement. His career since that time has been one of consecutive and worthy progress and stands to his honor as well as a voucher for his ability and resolute purpose. After leaving the farm he worked at building bridges in Suwanee County, and received for his services seventy-five cents a day, from which he had to pay for his board. After a few weeks he became a clerk in the mercantile establishment of A. W. McLaren at Wellborn, at a salary of thirty-five dollars a month, and one year later he went to the City of Jacksonville, where for two years he held a position as clerk in the mercantile house of the Vaughn-Coward Company. In November, 1909, Mr. ALLISON took a place as clerk in the store of the Worth-Stephens Company at Live Oak, and with this concern he served as buyer for and manager of the hardware and grocery departments until 1915. In that year he was tendered and accepted a more remunerative position in the employe (sic) of the Suwanee Hardware Company, but his insistent ambition to establish himself independently in business led him, though his capital was very limited, to go to Monticello, Jefferson County, where on the 14th of July, 1916, he established himself in business as agent for the Ford Automobiles in that county. He developed a successful business for the Ford Company, and in April, 1919, he established himself at Live Oak, where under the title of the Allison Motor Company he has since continued as representative of the Ford Company for Suwanee, Lafayette and Dixie counties. He is one of the substantial business men and most progressive citizens of his native county, and his success has been the direct result of his own well ordered efforts. In his home city he is affiliated with the following named Masonic organizations: Barrett Lodge No. 43, F. and A. M.; Live Oak Chapter No. 25, R. A. M.; and Live Oak Commandery No. 11, Knights Templars. His Masonic affiliations further include his membership in Morocco Temple of the Mystic Shrine in the City of Jacksonville.”

More on George F. Allison next week!

Eric Musgrove can be reached at ericm@suwgov.org or 386-362-0564.

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