Family Stories

Lintons In Allamakee County, Iowa

Note by Phyllis Brown:  Thomas Linton and John Linton are sons of Benjamin Franklin Linton and Lucy Crewdson, grandsons of Captain John Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  They were pioneers, following in the footsteps of their grandfather, moving westward to new lands.

Taken from Past and Present of  Allamakee County, Iowa by Ellery M. Hancock

In 1834 the United States, through its military authorities at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, built on what is now section 19, township 96, range 3, called Fairview township, in this county, a Mission school and farm.  At this time Col. Zachary Taylor, afterwards President of the United States, commanded the post, and Jefferson Davis, since President of the so-called Southern Confederacy, was on duty there as Lieutenant.  General Street was the Indian agent; all the agents at that time being army officers, and the Indians being under the control of the Secretary of War.  The Mission was for the purpose of civilizing and Christianizing the Indians, and was opened in the spring of 1835 with the Rev. David Lowry, a Presbyterian in faith, and Col. Thomas as farmer.  Rev. Lowry, the superintendent, had two young ladies, Minerva and Lucy Brunson, sisters, who did the teaching, while he preached and superintended the agency.  But the effort to make good farmers, scholars or Christians out of these wandering tribes proved abortive.  Minerva, years later, married Thomas Linton, who had in early days been employed at the old agency house.

The Old Mission was located on the north side of the Yellow River.  The building stood facing the south, built almost into the south slope of a high bluff in the rear.  There was also a bluff on the east and west sides, the location being an amphitheater in the shape of a horse shoe, almost completely sheltered from winter winds and storms.  In size it was about 40 by 60 feet with dressed stone walls, excellent building stone being quarried from the bluff side, near the spring, a few rods northeast of the house.  It was two stories and a roomy, high attic.  It included six rooms in the lower story, the school room being on the second floor.  In the center of the building there extended from the cellar up a strongly built chimney about ten feet square with a large, open fireplace for each of the lower four rooms and all others connecting with it, each fireplace being provided with immense iron andirons for holding the large ‘blacklog’.  This chimney was made a ‘witness tree’ when the government survey was made in 1848; and the county surveyor, H. B. Miner, several times climbed to its top when surveying in that locality.

John Linton, born in Kentucky, was employed by Rev. Lowry in 1837 as general manager for nearly five years.  The government, having discontinued the mission, sold this land in 1842, to John Linton and his brother, Thomas C. Linton, one of the county commissioners of Clayton County, which included that location.  John Linton sold his interest to his brother Thomas and afterwards graduated from a St. Louis medical college, and for many years practiced his profession at Garnavillo, Clayton County, where he died in 1878.  Thomas C. Linton became the organizing sheriff of Allamakee County, and afterwards went to Oregon, where he died.

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