Family Stories

There is a Town Named Linton!


Years ago when vacationing at the ‘Land Between the Lakes’ area of western Kentucky, we searched and found the small town of Linton, Kentucky.  We tried to find a town sign – our son, Linton, wanted a picture taken with it! – but could only find this sign of their recreational area.  But we did get the picture!  This shot shows a much younger father and son.

Linton is named for his 6th gr-grandfather – Captain John Linton.  He’s always been proud of his name – and his namesake!  Now that he lives in Indianapolis he’s taken a picture of the “You’ll Like Linton” sign from Linton, Indiana!  Any other states with a town named Linton?

Found long ago in a Trigg County, Kentucky, newspaper.  The article was one of a series written by Judy Maupin – Echoes From The Past, December 29, 1979.

Linton, Kentucky

Occasionally in this column I have had brief histories of some of the small settlements or towns in Western Kentucky, some of which still exist and some which no longer do.  There were some settlements, such as Wadesboro, which seemed to have died a natural death, due to a shift in population; others were removed from the pages of history by man-made forces, such as the creation of our two TVA lakes and the creation of Land Between the Lakes.

Linton, Kentucky, still exists, although it is now not much more than a place for tourists to visit, to buy groceries at the two or three small country stores, or to camp or launch their boats.  But at one time, it was the site of a thriving iron furnace and seemed to have possibilities for growth.

Linton was originally known as Olive’s Landing, because it had been settled about 1800 by Abel Olive and his brothers.  It was a much-used steamboat landing in the 1820’s – so much so that its name was changed to Shipsport in 1830.  It was, as a result of this industry, a distribution point for goods brought to Kentucky from other larger towns via the river, much as Smithland was.

The first store in Linton was begun about the same time by a man named Good in a small log building near the site of the Stacker iron furnace.  In 1845 the furnaces was built, which drew a goodly number of families to the town.  The furnace was abandoned about 1855, after which S. A. Lindsay bought the land owned by the furnace company.  It is believed that the demise of the iron industry in that neighborhood came about partly because of the poor grade of ore found locally, but also because an epidemic of cholera killed many of the iron workers about that time.

Another interesting attraction, located quite near the remains of the old iron furnace, is a small cave.  It can be found about 30 feet above the level of the lake, in the side of the bluff overlooking the lake.  It slopes downward and is now filled with water which rises and falls with the lake level.  In the entrance is a large iron ring embedded in the wall, which may have been used to tie up boats.  It is believed that this is a salt peter cave, where the salt peter was mined for the manufacture of gunpowder.

After the iron furnace property was purchased by Mr. Lindsay in 1858, the Whitlock brothers went into partnership with him and laid out a seven acre town plot in which lots were offered for sale.  Joseph Dyer had started a small store by this time, and a warehouse was built soon afterwards, which was still in operation in 1885.  The town had one of the earliest Masonic lodges in the area, as well as several churches.

The old Dry Creek Church was organized in 1805 and is still in existence today.  The original log structure has been replaced in 1850 by a frame building which has since been replaced by a very nice brick church.  The Linton Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1867; meetings were held for the first two years in the tobacco warehouse, but a church was later built, which is still in existence.

Linton is now mostly a picturesque place on Lake Barkley, but at one time it had the potential to become a bustling metropolis.  Who knows what causes one town to grow and expand, while another gradually fades away?  But it is still a peaceful place to visit and to live, as are many other such small Kentucky towns.

3 replies »

  1. From David Linton in Elkhorn, WI. There is an unincorporated village named Linton about 15 miles from us, and is a crossroads settlement. I am unaware of the history, but don’t think it is linked to the Kentucky Lintons, of which I am one. Regarding the Indiana Linton, my dad (Thomas A. Linton, Jr) stopped by there (it is a requirement in our family to travel there and have a picture taken by the “You’ll Like Linton” sign) and visited the City Hall. He found that there were no Lintons living in Linton at that time. They also had little buttons (about 1” diameter) that said, in blue print on white background, “I Like Linton”. I wear mine occasionally when I need a boost.

    • How wonderful! From which Kentucky Lintons do you descend? I would love to know your lineage! What a neat idea to make buttons! I’ll have to make a trip to Linton, Indiana, next time we visit our son. My brother lives in Madison – is that close to Elkhorn? Thanks for visiting the website! And I hope to hear from you soon!

      • I’m so sorry to have taken so long to reply! Yes, we’re about an hour’s drive from Madison. I’m descended from the Russellville (Logan County) Lintons – we trace lineage to Capt. John Linton, from Virginia. Please feel free to contact me at – thanks!

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