The Allison family was a prominent pioneer family in Lawrence County, lending their name to the Prairie on the east side of the county and one of our nine townships. From the files of Irene Black, the Tri-County History published in 1883, and research by Byron Lewis, the following information has been gathered.
The Allison Family who were of Scotch descent first settled in the New England States about 1750, and after the Revolution moved to South Carolina. By 1800 they could be found in Mason County, Ky and then finally settled in what would later be known as Russellville about 1809-'10. The first four families of Allisons listed in the records were brothers, Jonathan and Samuel with his two sons Frederick and Ezra. These early settlers including Samuel, along with his wife Phebe, their nine children and some grandchildren who originally moved here are the early ancestors of many of today's local families.
Many references are made to the hunting ability of these men. The Tri-County History states (page 70) that " he (Samuel) was fond of the pursuit of game, and frequently brought down, and dressed the saddles of as many as fifteen deer between sun and sun." Another article states that in a shooting match one of the Allisons won all sixteen events by successfully shooting the turkeys' heads off at 100 paces, and continued to succeed even when the officials moved him back to 150 paces. That same article states that the Allisons' built rafts, launched them at Russellville and hunted and trapped along the Wabash, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers until they ended up at New Orleans with a big stack of furs such as otter, mink, rat and raccoon skins that they ultimately sold, and returned to buy more acreage.
Samuel Allison is also credited with building the fort to which his name was given. When Tecumseh united the Indian tribes in the Wabash valley, and they began their "career of depredation and pillage" as stated in the Tri-County History, the necessity of some means of protection for life and property became apparent. A stockade fort was accordingly built in the spring of 1812 on Samuel Alison's land now within the northern corporate limits of Russellville, called Fort Allison.