Allen Parish was part of the Opelousas County after the Louisiana Territory was established in 1803. In 1807, the territory was divided into parishes and Allen was part of St. Landry Parish. Allen remained part of St. Landry Parish until 1840 when Calcasieu Parish was carved from the very large St. Landry Parish. In 1870, Cameron Parish was carved from Calcasieu Parish and also gained a piece of Vermillion Parish. Calcasieu remained the same until 1912 when it was divided into four parishes, including Allen Parish. I am establishing this line of information for those of you who may be researching ancestors. You will need to look at the Calcasieu and St. Landry Parish Archives as well as the Allen Parish Archives.

Allen Parish was named for the Confederate governor Henry Watkins Allen. He was the Confederate governor of Louisiana for one year between 1864 - 1865 during the Civil War. Allen Parish was part of the prairie country where the Attakapas Indians, also known as the Atakapa, made their home. As the European settlers began to arrive in Opelousas County when the Louisiana Territory was opened for settlement, some began to move into the Allen Parish area. The towns of Oberlin, Kinder, Reeves and Oakdale were established before Allen Parish became an official parish. Luther Hall was Governor of Louisiana in 1912 when Allen was established as a parish. He appointed five men to an interim police jury from the communities of Oberlin, Kinder, Reeves and Oakdale.

Oberlin is Allen Parish’s oldest settlement, incorporated in February 1900. It’s the parish’s seat of government and is named for Oberlin, Ohio, home of its first settlers. Oakdale was originally known as Bay and then as Dunnsville. It later became Oakdale allegedly because a team of surveyors were ovserved large oak trees in the area. Elizabeth, founded in 1906, was named for the daughter of a man who had built a mill in the area. The town once was owned by a lumber company. In 1964, the town was incorporated by Gov. Jimmie H. Davis. Kinder takes its name from a general store that once was operated by James Kinder.

A 2013 Census Bureau estimate states that there are 25,537 people living in the parish. A drop from the 2010 population census of 25,764. In 2010 there were 8,099 households with an average of 2.66 people per household. The population density was 33.8 people/sq. mi. There were 9,834 housing units in the parish. The racial makeup of the parish was 71.8% White, 23.2% African American, 2.6% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.7% Hispanic and 1.7% from two or more other races.