Do you have a favorite ancestor? By far, Captain John Hancock Linton is mine. Not to diminish or detract from any of my other forebears, Captain John was my first goal in my genealogy research, and I have learned many things about him from those first days spent in the Washington County Court House and talking with relatives!
While in my teens I heard about John Linton and thought it fascinating that he lived during the time of, and participated in, the Revolutionary War! He was part of the group – albeit one of eighty thousand! – that included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams – and so many others. He did his part during the war, just like many, many others.
During this time, about 1974, my grandmother, Mary Alice Montgomery Carrico, told me about the Linton Cemetery that was located on property owned by her parents, and at the time, owned by Reed Spalding. My parents and I located the cemetery – it looked like an overgrown clump of bushes, trees and briars. With a little work – well, truthfully, more than a little – we cleared it enough to photograph the stones. It was such a happy day! Once Mr. Spalding realized there was a cemetery on his land he kept it well groomed. After his death years later, the cemetery was again neglected. We visited as often as we could, walking through tall weeds and bushes, to photograph the gravestones and check for deterioration. About five years ago the property was purchased by a church, and they keep the cemetery in beautiful condition. They plan to bury members on the outside of the iron fence.
My wonderful great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, a great-grandchild of John, was a genealogy enthusiast! She kept family records, little pieces of old, brittle papers that enthrall me today! Frances wrote family histories on any scrap of paper she could find – remember, she lived during the depression years! I am so thankful for these memories since they were passed down to me! In her research Grandmother Frances gave the name of John Linton’s father as William de Linton. In all my research I have never seen ‘de Linton’ in any records. I have found that John’s parents were Moses Linton and Susannah Hancock, but it doesn’t make me think any less of Frances, because she used what records and information that were available to her at the time. Think of how much more information is ready for our use today – not to mention the internet and the wonderful possibilities we have there! Genealogists through the years have worked with information they had, and built on those facts to have more names and dates and family stories for the next generation!
One of my prized possessions is my DAR certificate – becoming a member through Captain John Linton in February, 2000. Our local DAR chapter is named for one of the pioneering women of Mercer County, Jane McAfee. She came with her five sons to the county around 1774. Can you imagine coming through the wilderness of early Kentucky, not knowing if a band of Indians were nearby, getting to your destination and starting from scratch with your home, having to grow your food and make a new life! I didn’t realize the significance of this woman in 2000, but have learned much since that date! And Grandfather John made this possible, with his service during the war, and Grandmother Frances made it possible by keeping the Linton history alive.