Family Stories

Letter from Hugh W. Linton to Frances Barber Linton Montgomery

Hugh Walter Linton and Frances Barber Linton were cousins – both had a love of family and love of genealogy.  Frances was my great-grandmother and I feel she passed that love of genealogy and research directly down to me!  I know of no one else in the family who is quite so thrilled to walk throught a cemetery or visit a basement full of old wills and marriage records!

Hugh was the son of John Wesley Linton and Emma Adelaide Proctor; the grandson of Benjamin Burkett Linton and Nancy J. Newman; the great-grandson of Benjamin  Franklin Linton and Lucy Crewdson; and the great-grandson of Captain John Hancock Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  He lived in Christian County, Kentucky, where he married Eliza “Lydabel” Belfield Garnett.  Hugh and Lydabel had 3 children:  Hugh Walter, Jr., Mary Adelaide and Frances Garnett Linton.

Frances was the daughter of Edward Edwards Linton and Catherine Elizabeth Taylor; the granddaughter of William Linton and Elizabeth Lyon Moran; and the great-granddaughter of Captain John Hancock Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  She lived in Washington County, Kentucky, where she married Robert E. Lee Montgomery.  Frances and Robert had 7 children:  Mary Alice, Anna Margaret, Laura Frances, Lillian Catherine, Robert Lee, Edward Linton and Benjamin Montgomery.

I know of at least nine letters written by Hugh to my great-grandmother from October 5, 1934 to February 8, 1945 – I’m sure there were probably more that were not saved.  On April 11, 1945, Hugh’s wife, Lydabel, wrote to “Cousin Frances” to inform her of Hugh’s death on March 21.  Frances died in August of that year.  Their fascination with family history lasted until the very end!

Dear Cousin Frances:

I want to thank you for both your letters, the first one came early in October, and I was very much distressed to learn of Cousin Alice’s passing.  That was our first knowledge of it.

In some way I got that letter misplaced, and had looked for it time and again and concluded I had lost it, until today I found it filed away in my office with other records of the Linton family, and I hasten to write you.  I see you are living in town now at the old home of your sister.

I see I sent you a sort of family record when I wrote you in the fall of 1934 just after our pleasant visit with you.  In August 1937 we spent a little time in Virginia and Washington City.  We went out to Leesburg, Virginia, the county seat of Loudoun County, to look up what records we could find about Captain John Linton, who I believe was your great-grandfather and my great-great grandfather.  We found he was first commissioned a Lieutenant and then in 1781 a Captain in the Virginia militia, and I suppose at once then went (or was already in) into the Revolutionary Army.  I saw a record of a settlement of an estate of Ann Linton in the Court House there being made in February 1811, indicating she had some interests in Kentucky at the time of her death; I presume then Captain John survived her many years – if that was the name of his wife – and that she never lived in Kentucky.  It is my idea that the Captain did not come till about 1816 when bought that large body of land in your County, where he died December 4, 1836 as his grave stone shows.

When I get a little time, now that law business is not very brisk, I will look over my papers with your two letters and if i can find anything more along this line I will write you again.  We certainly appreciate hearing from you.  You remember our grown daughter, Mary Adelaide, I suppose.  She is married now, living in Hickory, North Carolina, has a little girl past one year old.  We are getting on pretty well I reckon; the little one who was with us in September 1934 at your home is in school now.  We hope your family is well.

With love from all.

Your Cousin,


I must comment that the estate of Ann Linton mentioned in the letter is NOT Captain John’s wife.  Ann Nancy Mason Linton moved to Kentucky with her husband and family.  She died November 14, 1832, and is buried in the family graveyard with her husband.  There is no stone for her, or if there was it is no longer standing.  I do know there are more people buried in the cemetery than the number of stones there.

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