Analysis. Is Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek the same person as Hugh Linn (1)



Linn Tapestry

……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky



Person:Hugh Linn (1) (Brandywine Creek)
Person:Hugh Linn (2) (Coldwater Creek)
Analysis. Wife of Hugh Linn (1) (See also)


A Hugh Linn settled on Coldwater Creek in Rowan County NC in 1770, dying there in 1786. Family histories give his wife's name as either "Mary" or "Margaret". Many identify Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek as the same person as the Hugh Linn who lived in Old Chester County, PA/DE/MD from at least 1726 and on. How this connection has been made is not known. It is possible that people have simply assumed that Hugh Linn of Old Chester County is the same person as Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek.


Linn, Jo White, 1984 prepared a well documented, professional family history of Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek, Rowan Co, NC. She identifies identifies Hugh Linn's wife as "probably the daughter of Christopher Houston who died c1726, but stops short of identifying that daughter by name. She does, however, note an 1748 land transaction between Hugh Linn of Brandywine Hundred, and a James Huston, in which Linn mortguaged a parcel to Huston. The presumption is that the James Huston is in fact the grandson mentioned by Christopher Houston in his will, but it could be a different James Huston. The property was on the south side of Shellpot Creek.

In a 1754 transaction Linn and wife Mary sell this same property to a William Sharply. Hugh Linn's will was filed in 1786 in Rowan Co, NC [1]; it does not identify a wife, and presumably his wife predeceased him. Linn, Jo White, 1984 consistently identifies her as Mary. This conflicts with the evidence that his wife was Margaret daughter of Christopher Houston. Possible explanations include:

a) her full name was Mary Margaret
b) she was known as Mary, irregardless of what her parents named her
c) there was another otherwise unnamed daughter of Christopher, Mary, and that all told four of Christpher's daughters married into the Linn family
d) This is a different Hugh Linn.
e) there is a transcription error in the extract of Samuel Houston's will, such that "Mary" was transcribed as "Margaret".

In 1758 person:Margaret Linn (2) left a will in Bethel, Chester Co, PA. Chester County Will Abstracts and Administrations 1713-1825, extract for 1758-1759| An abstract of that will shows Hugh Linn, Jr. as the administer. It is conceivable that this is the will for person:Margaret Houston (1), daughter of Christopher Huston, and wife of person:Hugh Linn (1) and that Hugh Linn (the father) predeceased Margaret, leaving a son Hugh Linn Jr. There are subsequent records for "Hugh Linn" in the area, but these may be "Hugh Linn Jr." If this is true, and Margaret Linn who dies around 1758 must be the daughter of person:Christopher Huston (1). Thus Hugh Linn the father, and soninlaw of Christopher Huston, can not be Hugh Linn of Cold Water Creek, NC as is often supposed. [That Hugh Linn is known from records as late as 1770 in NC.).


As posted to the Wigton Walker mailing list 9 January 2008. Q 10:50, 10 January 2009 (EST) with some additions Q 07:26, 29 June 2011 (EDT)"

Hugh Linn recently came up in the context of the Houston lineage associated with the John Walker III line. We believe that at one time this Hugh Linn lived on or near Brandywine Creek, so I usually refer to him as Hugh Linn of Brandywine.

Our connection here is the fact that Hugh married Margaret Houston, daughter of Christopher of Mill Creek Hundred. Ann Houston who married John III is another of Christopher's daughters---and the ONLY member of the Wigton Walker line mentioned by White 1902, for whom there is solid evidence of their presence in Old Chester County.

In that light, Hugh Linn is of interest because looking at his personal history may yield insight into a) the family history of the Houston's b) the family history of the Walkers

The usual (almost universal) view of Hugh Linn is that he moved to Rowan County NC, settling on Coldwater Creek about 1770. In this view "Hugh Linn of Brandywine" is the same person as "Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek". This is a bit problematic for me, since I've been unable to find ANY information that supports this view---many web genealogies state this, but offer no evidence to support the view.

There are reasons to question this, beyond the fact that no supporting evidence is provided by anyone (that I've found):


First, most genealogies for Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek identify his wife as "Mary Linn". That conflicts with the information that we have about "our" Hugh Linn, since a close reading of the wills of Christopher Huston and son Samuel Houston indicates that the daughter of Christopher that married Hugh, was name Margaret. (You have to read both wills to reach this conclusion, as Christopher does not identify a daughter Margaret, only a soninlaw Hugh Linn), and Samuel identifies a sister "Margaret Linn", but not her husbands name.)

This can be explained away by saying (for example)

a) Margaret died, and Hugh remarried b) Margaret's full name was "Mary Margaret",

Plausible explanations, but unfortunately there seems to be no data to confirm any of it. You could just as easily say (perhaps with more justification) that the names given for of Hugh Linn's wife differ simply because Hugh of Brandywine is not the same person as Hugh of Coldwater Creek.


Christopher Huston's will was written in 1726, at which time Margaret had already married Hugh Linn. Hence Hugh was an adult in 1726. They might have just gotten married, or been married for several years. Since Margaret's sisters (including Ann) are not married at this time, we can assume that Margaret was probably the eldest, and probably had been married for at most, only a few years. I'll arbitrarily say that it occurred c1725. That would probably make Margaret's DOB as about 1705, and Hugh's possibly a bit earlier (assuming as is the usual case that he was a few years older than his bride.)

So, if you accept Hugh as having been born about 1705 (same age as John Walker III!), that would make him about 65 years of age when Hugh of Coldwater Creek settled on Coldwater Creek in 1770. John Walker III made a similar move at this time, in his case moving from NC to SW VA, dying shortly thereafter (c.1775), so you can't really argue that Hugh was too old to be making such a move. While this is not conclusive about anything, it still seems that if Hugh of Coldwater Creek was born in 1705, he would seem to be of an age when he would have been settling down to finish his life. Yet, at age 67 he is known to have accepted a John McClung, "orphan", as an apprentice. It seems seems unlikely that if Hugh of Coldwater Creek was born in 1705 (ie, the same person as Hugh of Brandywine Creek), that he would have been taking on an apprentice at age 67.

Will of Margaret Linn

More critically is the will of a Margaret Linn who died in Old Chester County PA in 1758. She left a will identifying her administrator as one "Hugh Linn, Jr." I think there's a plausible argument to be made that her husband had predeceased her (otherwise, there would have been little need for a will---wives only seem to make wills in this time period if they outlive their husbands.) Also, while the "Jr." is not definitive proof, it seems likely that Hugh Jr.s father was "Hugh Linn Sr.".

Under this reasoning we have a Margaret Linn married to a Hugh Linn, which is consistent with Margaret being the married daughter of Christopher Huston.

Hugh Linn in Old Chester after 1770

There are numerous records recording the presence of a Hugh Linn in Old Chester County well after 1758. I presume that these records are for Hugh Linn Jr, who appears on petitions, as witnesses in wills, Church records, in militia rosters, and tax records at least until 1785. Possibly these are different Hugh Linn's, but in anycase there are ample records to show the presence of a Hugh Linn in Old Chester County until after Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek appears in the records in 1770. The continued presence of a Hugh Linn in Old Chester make it difficult to make the argument that "Hugh of Brandywine dissappears after 1770, and appears in NC records about this time". Its not impossible from what I've seen, but if this is true, you'd need to be able to show that the Old Chester records are in fact for someone different.


Overall, this is my best guess interpretation of the family history

Margaret Huston married Hugh Linn about 1725; The couple had at least one son, Hugh Jr., though there were probably more children than this. Hugh Linn Sr. died sometime before 1758, when Margaret herself dies. Hugh Jr. continues to live in Old Chester County. Under this interpretation, Hugh Linn of Coldwater Creek is a different individual.

What's Missing

One could argue that for all the information given in genealogies, the ONLY reason the two people are linked is because they share the same name. What's missing is information that clearly links Hugh of Brandywine to Hugh of Coldwater Creek. I personally think that the available evidence suggests that these are two different persons.