Sir Milton Pentonville Allen was born at Palmetto Point on the 22 nd June 1888. He was the son of Daniel Allen a stone mason of Challengers and Henrietta Garvey. He received his early education at the Methodist school in his village. Although he had academic potential, young Milton preferred a trade to teaching, much to the disappointment of his teacher Miss Geraldine Locker. He was therefore apprenticed to a tailor in Basseterre and then emigrated to the United States in search of a better future. In the United States he took his trade seriously and graduated with a diploma from the David Mitchell’s Cutting and Designing School.
While in New York he kept an eye on developments at home and was inspired at the thought of an organization that would promote workers’ rights. In a letter to the editor of the Union Messenger, published on the 31 st December 1931, he wrote, The time has come and devolves most imperatively upon the inhabitants to join forces in defense of those rights. Of course it is understood that the larger your organization the greater will be your financial obligations. But you would be within your rights to call upon West Indians abroad to assist in this arduous, but righteous effort.
True to his word, Allen became part of concerned group of Kittitians who sent financial assistance to the Workers’ League when it was founded. Following the Labour disturbances of 1935 they sent support which made it possible for the League to assist those accused of rioting to obtain legal representation. In 1935 after more than twenty five years in the United States, Allen was back in St. Kitts and resident in Sandy Point. He showed himself to be an ardent supporter of Thomas Manchester and even appeared as a speaker on the League’s platform.
In 1937 after almost two years in St. Kitts, he married Annie Locker, Head Teacher at the Sandy Point Girls’ School and the couple returned to New York. When she returned to her post, he supported the school’s extra-curricular activities by sending her much needed sheet music. He wrote poetry and even published a collection of poems one of which was set to music for choir by Dr. Leon Forrester, a musical examiner of the Royal College of Music in London, England. From time to time he contributed items to The Un ion Messenger often expressing concerns regarding the well-being of workers. Once in St. Kitts his connection with the newspaper world became more significant as he became associate editor of the Workers’ Weekly and the Union Messenger and later editor of the Labour Spokesman.
Allen retired and returned to St. Kitts in the 1950s and turned his attention to the service of the public through the Workers League. A quiet unassuming man, Allen also had a strong sense of dignity and decorum. Austin Eddie remembered that when Robert Bradshaw called out the masses to protest the appointment and arrival of Governor Blackburne, Allen was the only person in the League to chastise the labour leader for the vulgar behaviour he had encouraged. He was a member of the Legislative Council from 1958 to 1962 and served as minister without portfolio. That year saw the termination of the West Indies Federation and the return of Robert Bradshaw to St. Kitts. Allen resigned his seat so that Bradshaw could return to the Legislative Council. On the 27th August 1966, he was appointed Speaker of the House of Assembly.
In 1969, Milton Allen became the first native of St. Kitts to be appointed Governor of the Associated State of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla, a post he continued to hold till his retirement in 1975. He performed the duties of his post with honour and integrity. He also fulfilled the duties of Chief Scout, Patron of the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, Member of the Conservation Society for Historic Sites, Honorary life member of the Rotary Club. He also remained a member of the Methodist Church.
Sir Milton Allen died at the J. N. France General Hospital on the 17 th September 1981.