Sarah E. Linton – Sister Mary Baptista

While researching in Prince William County, Virginia, ten years ago, Ritchey and I found Linton Hall School.  It, indeed, had significance with our Linton family.  Land that had been handed down through the generations came to the last daughter – Sarah E. Linton, daughter of John Tyler Linton and Cecilia Ann Graham.  Unfortunately, Sarah never knew her father – he died before she was born.  The area of Dumfries, where the family lived, was rather swampy and had affected his health.  He had numerous bouts with malaria and eventually developed consumption.  He died September 8, 1821, at the age of 26.  But being his only child she inherited all his property.  Sarah attended Catholic schools and became very devout in the Roman Catholic faith – which was very disconcerting to her family!  And even more so when she took the veil, becoming Sister Mary Baptista.

John Tyler Linton

When we visited Linton Hall School, run by the Benedictine Sisters of Bristow, Virginia, we were shown a portrait of Sister Baptista’s father – and his diploma, a law degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania – that hang in the foyer of the school.

John Tyler Linton was the only son and heir of John Augustine Elliott Linton.  John Augustine also had a daughter Elizabeth, but she died at the age of twelve.  An additional 1,000 acres of land were purchased to add to the original 740 acres on Broad Run – and it was named “Lintonsford”.  The mansion that was built stood at Lintonsford until it was destroyed by fire just before the Civil War.

Sister Ernestine, our tour guide, showed us around the school.  We were invited to the convent for lunch, and she brought out the available Linton information.  Sarah, or Sister Mary Baptista, was a wonderful historian.  She studied history for so long and knew so much history that she wrote a textbook that was a manual, and a series of Linton charts (of history) that were so good they won first place at the Chicago World’s Fair.  Colleges even used the charts!

Before her death on October 25, 1901, Sister Mary Baptista divided Lintonsford into two parts.  One tract was turned over to the Benedictine Fathers and a school for poor boys erected; the Benedictine Sisters were given the remaining 500 acres for a school for poor girls.  St. Joseph’s Institute for boys opened in 1894 and St. Anne’s School began accepting girls in the autumn of 1897.

Then Sister Ernestine directed us to the old Linton Cemetery across the road – where Sister Baptista’s parents and grandparents are buried.

There is one large stone in the center, with smaller head and foot stones for each grave with the individual’s initials.  On each side of the large stone is an epitaph.  They read as follows:

Sacred to the memory of John Augustine Elliott Linton, original founder of Lintonsford.  Born January 9, 1769, died December 2, 1822.

Sacred to the memory of Sarah Tyler, born 1763, widow in 1822 of John Augustine Elliott Linton, died August 19, 1835.

Sacred to the memory of John Tyler Linton, only son of John Augustine Elliott Linton and Sarah Tyler, his wife.  Born January 4, 1796, died September 8, 1821.

Sacred to the memory of Cecilia Ann Graham, born July 9, 1804, widow in 1821 of John Tyler Linton, widow in 1828 of R. H. Philips, died May 21, 1878.

There is a medium-sized stone for the daughter Cecilia had with her second husband R. H. Philips.  It reads:

In memory of Anne Cecilia Philips, born August 14, 1828, died July 17, 1917.  “In thee, O God, do I put my trust.”

John Tyler Linton (1796-1821), was the son of John Augustine Elliott Linton (1769-1822) and Sarah Tyler, grandson of John Linton (1730-1775) and Elizabeth Elliott, and great-grandson of William Linton  (1693-1733) and Susanna Monroe (1695-1752).  William Linton was a brother to Moses Linton (1698-1752) – father to my Captain John Linton.  Therefore, Captain John Linton and John Tyler Linton were cousins – 1st cousins twice removed, or 4th cousins once removed – (I don’t really understand this!), let’s just say down the line!

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