William Linton is one of the younger sons of Captain John Linton and Ann Nancy Mason. He is also my great-great-great-grandfather. William married Eliza Lyon Moran April 5, 1817, in Washington County, Kentucky. Since Captain John and most of the family didn’t come to Kentucky until November of 1818, I believe William must have come with his brother Moses in 1816.
William was evidently something of a rounder. In the Circuit Court of Washington County, Kentucky, there are several cases involving William and his brother Moses.
On August 8, 1816, Moses and William Linton sell 100 acres of land to James McAlister for $380. By 1819 McAlister is suing the brothers for damages saying, “they fraudulently represented that they had a good title to the land but had no title the day of the sale, and none at this time.” McAlister was awarded $25 in damages. I can’t help but wonder if this was part of the 2,000 acres the Captain had purchased. I’m sure he was more than upset with his younger sons trying to sell part of his land!
July 16, 1821, William brought brother Moses to court, saying he owed him $56.12. The court agreed with William this time and Moses had to pay the amount. Moses is not found in any court cases after this – I know he moved to Nelson County around this time – perhaps he thought being away from brother William would help! Perhaps it was an ultimatum from his father!
On October 20, 1830, William was brought to court because, “with an evil mind and disposition, did utter, publish and speak the following profane and unlawful oath, to wit, ‘You God damn rascal!'” and again on November 8, 1830, “for the unlawful oath, ‘By God!'” Also on the November date it was said he “did drink spirituous liquor to excess and by said excessive drinking was then and there drunk – contrary to the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” There were two more bouts of drunkenness, on August 1st and 2nd of 1831.
I can just imagine that Captain John was at the end of his wits trying to keep William under control. In the end everything was taken from William and put in the hands of another – first his brother John Hancock – Captain John gave William’s share of his inheritance to him in trust for William’s wife Eliza and children; then, after John Hancock’s death, his son Edward Linton was overseer of money and property.
William and Eliza had seven children: Susan, Elizabeth Jane, Edward Edwards, Bushrod, Margaret, George Mason and Mary Rebecca.
Does this make me feel harshly towards William? No. People are who they are, and you can’t change things that happened years ago. We have to take our ancestors for better or for worse. William, being one of the youngest children, was probably spoiled greatly by his parents and older siblings. However, I am glad provisions were made for his family and for his upkeep. The Captain was a wise man indeed.