Community History – Ludlow – John Allison

Allison, John

Ludlow resident, Sheriff of Kenton County and noted undertaker. John Allison was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 17, 1859 to Walter and Elizabeth Smith Allison. John Allison immigrated to the United States in c. 1880. He lived in New York City for a brief time before moving to Ludlow.

His first job in Ludlow was with the Southern Railroad. In the 1886-1887 Ludlow City Directory, Allison is listed as a carpenter living on Adela Street. By 1890 he is listed as the owner of a boarding and livery stable at 81 Elm Street. In that same year, he is also listed as an agent of the R.E.L. Weaver Undertaking establishment on Pike Street in Covington. When Weaver died in 1895, Allison became the sole owner of the business. In c. 1896 Allison went into business with John C.B. Yates forming the firm Allison and Yates Undertakers. The Allison and Yates Funeral Home merged with the establishment of Gus Menninger under the name Allison, Yates and Menninger Undertakers in 1907.

In the years following the First World War, John Allison merged his undertaking business with that of the Rose Family. The result was the Allison and Rose Funeral Home.

Allison, a staunch Republican, ran for Kenton County Sheriff in 1913. He won the election and held that position for four years (1914-1918). Allison was also an organizer and long-time director of the Citizens National Bank of Covington. In addition, he also served as president of the Kentucky Association of Undertakers and was a member of the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias.

John Allison and his family resided in several Ludlow residences. For many years they lived at 82 Elm Street. By 1902, they were residing at the southeast corner of Butler and Latta Avenues. By 1920, the family was residing in a handsome Victorian home on Kenner Street. The family’s long association with this last home has led many Ludlow residents to refer to home as the Allison House.

John Allison died on April 15, 1933. His wife, Jeanie Allison, had preceded him in death that February. Allison was survived by three daughters: Mrs. Bessie Allison Doerr, Jessie Allison and Mary Allison. Services were held at the First Presbyterian Church of Ludlow with burial at Highland Cemetery in Fort Mitchell.

Kentucky Post April 17, 1933; Ludlow City Directories, 1886-1931-32; Commonwealth of Kentucky Death Certificate, 1933 #9577; Kingsbury, Gilbert W., Allison and Rose Funeral Home: A History (1977).

Back to Top