About twelve years ago I researched the family of Richard Linton. We spent three or four years unraveling his Linton-Welsh family. Since my own research took his Linton’s back to Captain John Hancock Linton, most of my time was concentrated on the descendants of the captain’s grandson, Moses Filmore Linton, and the Welsh line. Cousin Dick and I both worked on the final report for his family – I giving the facts and dates and other information, and he giving the personal touch with family stories and photos.
Captain John’s son Moses came to Kentucky several years earlier than his father and settled in Nelson County, then moving to Washington County when his father arrived in the state. His son Moses Filmore Linton, born in 1819, married Margaret Willett Kennedy, a widow, September 2, 1850, in Nelson County. Moses and Margaret’s first child, William Franklin Linton, is the grandfather of Richard Linton. Moses Filmore Linton died April 4, 1876, leaving William Franklin to help his mother with the farm and family.
William F. Linton married Catherine Welsh January 27, 1879, in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Catherine was the daughter of John Welsh and Sarah Hollern, both immigrants from Galway County, Ireland. The couple came back to the Nelson County farm (about 70 miles on a straight line, west-northwest, from Mt. Vernon) near Gethsemani Abbey and lived for a few years. Kate Linton is listed in the 1880 census living in the household with her mother-in-law, Margaret Linton. That is, William F. and Catherine began their marriage living at the family farm with William F.’s widowed mother, Margaret, and six of William’s siblings still at home, while William F. worked the farm. (Daughter Louisa had married by this time and daughter Regina had died.)
The 1890 census was lost in a fire in Washington, D.C. What valuable information up in cinders! The next available census records, 1900, show William F., wife Catherine and seven children living in Jefferson County at 1322 W. Broadway in Louisville. William is listed as a grocer. Catherine is shown being the mother of eight children, seven of which are living. It is impossible to tell when this child would have been born and died. Since no mention of this child has been handed down through the family it probably died shortly after birth.
How and when did the family make such a move from the farm to the city? We turn to the Louisville City Directories for some clues. In 1883 a Wm. F. Linton is listed as a brakeman for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. No residence is given. It is possible William F. (b: 1851) first moved to Louisville on his own – perhaps to find employment and housing for his family. Either the family farm was not producing enough to support all the children of Moses and Margaret Linton, or William F., and later a few of his brothers thought they could receive a better economic return for their labor in the city, or they simply desired to engage in some work other than farming. In the 1885 directory William F. Linton is listed as a driver for Brinkley and Adams, and gives his residence as 1524 Lytle. Catherine and the children must have made the move to Louisville by this time.
By 1888 two brothers (John K. Linton, b: 1858; Joseph Charles Fenton Linton, b: 1859) and a cousin (James Monroe Linton, b: 1857) have joined William in Louisville. The list from the directory is as follows: William F. Linton, packer Brinkley & Grubbs, res. 1818 Lytle; Fenton Linton, driver C.P.R.R. Co., res. 1726 W. Walnut; James M. Linton, driver, res. 2417 W. Broadway; John Linton, driver Brinkley & Grubbs, res. 1818 Lytle. James Monroe Linton is the son (7th and last child) of William Yerby Linton (b: 1818), brother to Moses F. Linton (b: 1819) and William Yerby’s first wife, Mary M. Polly Hagan.
Over the next 6 years, the four changed employers a time or two. Then, in 1894, a significant development — the first mention of the Linton Brothers Grocery. The listing is as follows in the 1894 Carson’s City Directory for Louisville: Linton Bros. (W.F. & J.F. Linton) grocers, 2401 Slevin; James F. (Linton Bros.) res. 226 7th; John, packer Lou. Tin & Stove Co., res. 511 22nd; Monroe, engineer Lou. Tin & Stove Co., res. 226 7th; Wm. F. (Linton Bros.) res. 2401 Slevin. Here again, the James F. should be Joseph F. in reference to (Joseph Charles) Fenton Linton (b: 1859).
For whatever reason, by 1895 the partnership (even if it was just an informal one) had been dissolved. Joseph Fenton Linton found a new partner at the Slevin address and William moved his business to another address. The 1895 directory is as follows: Linton Bros. (W. F. Linton) grocer, 1324 W. Broadway; John, packer, Lou. Tin & Stove Co., res. 2401 Slevin; Joseph F. (J.F. & J.M. Linton), bus. 2401 Slevin; J.F. & J.M. (Joseph F. & J. Monroe Linton) grocers, 2401 Slevin; J. Monroe (J.F. & J.M. Linton) res. 2401 Slevin; Wm. F. (Linton Bros.) res. 1324 W. Broadway. During the next several years, the city directory records some additional job changes by some of the group. During these next years, the city directory continues to show William F. as operating a grocery at 1324 W. Broadway. The latter also seems to have been the residence address for William F.’s family until 1900 when the residence is shown as 1322 W. Broadway where, according to the census for that year, they rented.
Catherine Welsh Linton holding her youngest of 8 children (7 of whom survived) — son George William Linton. As Uncle George, born July 11, 1899, appears to be about 2 months old here, that would date the picture to September 1899, making Grandmother Catherine, born 7-13-1861, a young and very attractive woman of 38 years. After eight children, her beauty is all the more amazing. (Indeed, I think my male cousins would join me in saying that at 38, Grandmother Catherine was still quite a chick.)
By 1907, with the grocery still at 1324 W. Broadway, the residence has changed to 1320 W. Broadway, with that address also listed as his residence. In 1910, their residence changed to 1224 W. Broadway, and the census for that year states that they owned their home. Catherine worked as a saleslady, Margaret as bookkeeper and Walter, and Annie as clerks at the grocery store that William owned. Sallie had already married.
The 1911 directory reveals another significant development: William F. is listed as operating a saloon at 1332 W. Broadway and a grocery at 1100 S. 9th. Son Walter is listed as a bartender for his father. Son James Willett is listed as a clerk for S. Shapinsky & Co. In 1912 William F. is listed as operating only the saloon.
In 1918 William F. is still operating the saloon at 1332 W. Broadway with son Jas. W. as bartender. Son Walter is now a travel agent; son J. Richard (Richard J.) a clerk for P. Lorillard Co.; and son W. Geo. (George W.) a clerk for Stewart Dry Goods Co.
In the frames below, Richard Linton has provided the pictures (the full and then the cropped ones) of Linton’s Grocery, with William F. Linton standing at the front door. Although the photo shows that the business was selling liquor (the emblem on the right of the door), and apparently beer (sign on the left), presumably that could have been done from a grocery store without converting the store into a saloon. Moreover, William F.’s apron has more the appearance of a butcher’s apron than any appearance it likely would have had (even if he wore an apron) when he was operating a saloon from 1911 to 1920 — the decade of World War I.
The photo also is consistent with an 1899 time frame based on the fact that the upstairs appears to be a residence. Recall that during the last 5 years of the 19th Century, the family’s residence was the same 1324 W. Broadway address as their grocery business. As the two youngest sons (Richard and George) progressed into their grade school years, they delivered groceries in the store’s goat cart, as described later. That would have been done from the 1324 W. Broadway location during perhaps the 3 or 4 years before the store moved in 1910, and possibly for the next 2 years at the new location of 1100 S. 9th before it appears that William F. discontinued his grocery store in favor of operating his saloon business.
This close up view (as cropped from the original photo) of granddad Linton shows him to have been husky, with rather muscular arms. He appears to have been perhaps 5’11” or so in height, and, as of this photo, weighing roughly 235 pounds. His formidable appearance no doubt served him well when he later, during the 1910s, operated a saloon a few doors away at 1332 W. Broadway. On his birthday of July 4 that 1899, Granddad would have turned 48 years of age.
Richard J. “Dick” Linton, Sr., in Go-Cart with Billy Goat. Brother George standing by. The boys delivered groceries in Go-Cart for their Daddy. Linton’s Grocery, Louisville, Kentucky – from a handwritten note.
Following the close of World War I, a great social, legal, and economic change occurred in the United States — on January 16, 1920, Prohibition became part of the “law of the land” by virtue of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution (and by the Volstead Act that implemented the Amendment). Prohibition would remain the law until it essentially was repealed, by the 21st Amendment, effective December 5, 1933. (The repeal was not total, for it permitted the states to enact their own prohibition laws. Few did. Today, only some counties or communities remain “dry.”)
Under Prohibition, all importing, exporting, transporting, selling and manufacturing of intoxicant liquor was put to an end. And thus ended the saloon days for William F. In the 1920 Louisville Directory he was listed as selling soft drinks at the former address of the saloon. Sons George, James Willett and Richard were clerks, but Walter had become department manager of Embry-Weir Motors. For the next two years William F. was listed as a grocer once again.
On March 24, 1922, William F. Linton passed away. He and Catherine had spent 43 years together. Catherine lived on at the West Broadway address until 1926 when she moved to 1860 Yale Drive. The rest of her days were spent there. On September 27, 1931, Catherine died. She and William are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Louisville.