John Allison was born in Orange County, North Carolina in 1762. In 1778 he became a private in the Orange County Regiment of the North Carolina militia and served three separate tours, finally being discharged in 1781. He later moved to Tennessee, where he made a sworn affidavit supporting Lydia Ray's widow's pension application stating that he knew Ray's husband Joseph Ray, who lived near him in Orange County, was also a soldier in the revolution. His relationship with the Rays probably stemmed from the fact that Allison's sister Jane married Joseph Ray's brother, James Ray Sr. He died in Putnam County, Tennessee, on March 28, 1842.
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