Born in Enfield, Connecticut, Allen was the son of a soldier. Following his marriage in 1802, Allen moved to Ithaca, NY where he is referred to as an engraver, portrait painter and musician.
Allen's works are rare; the only engravings recorded of his work are a quarto mezzotint portrait of the Rev. Stephen Williams, D.D., a view of New Port, NJ. and a book-plate engraved by him for either his father or brother.