James Widney Linn

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James Widney Linn
Born 1809[1]
Died 1864[2]
Residence Concord, Pennsylvania
Spouse Mary Wilds, in 1836[3]
Children John Wesley Linn (1837-1862)
Hugh William Linn (1839)
Ann Widney Linn (1842-1846)
George Wilds Linn (1844)
Kezia McCune Linn (1848-1864)[4]
Parents Hugh Linn II
Ann Widney

The Clan Linn Entry[edit]

JAMES WIDNEY LINN, oldest son of Hugh Linn, 2nd, was born in 1809, and died in 1864. He received the schooling usual in that early day and place, and in his teens accompanied his father in his business of stone mason, thus acquiring a good, practical knowledge of that trade, and later entered his father's mill, where he learned the trade of a miller.

He was deep and broad chested, a man of great endurance and efficient in every line of work he undertook, social in disposition, hospitable in entertaining, generous in his benefactions and popular with all classes of the community. His home, like that of his father, was ever an asylum for "the preacher," especially the "junior preacher" of the circuit, and when that personage arrived from the seat of the Conference annually (for then the junior preacher was changed every year) his first inquiry on reaching Concord was for the house of James Linn.

He was a most consistent member of the Methodist Church and an official member nearly all his mature life. Like his father he was a man of devout mind and much given to secret prayer, no day of his life passing without private devotion at some time during the working hours, while family worship morning and evening was the invariable rule. In early life he bought his father's mill, and, with the aid of an assistant to whom much of the routine work was given, followed that business the rest of his life. Being a superior workman, trustworthy and honest in all his dealings with men, his mill was the seat of a custom which extended for miles, men often passing other mills to go to Concord. For this reason much night work was necessary, and for weeks sometimes the mill was kept going without intermission from one o'clock on Monday morning until eleven o'clock Saturday night. So honest was he in the sale of grain that he was never known to "stroke" a bushel except when he sold it as an agent for some one else.

James Widney Linn was an active member of the community, being interested in all matters of public welfare, and was employed from time to time by citizens in settling family estates. Intellectually and morally well balanced, the writer never knew him to lose his temper, to use harsh language nor to speak evil of any one. He spared no effort in the training and education of his children. He was an opponent of slavery, an advocate of lay representation in the Methodist Church long before its introduction, and a total abstainer from tobacco and intoxicating beverages. Fond of reading, he was a regular subscriber to the church and secular periodicals, and the possessor of a good collection of books for that day.

He was a leading spirit in financing and erecting the present Methodist church in Concord in 1845-6. The original edifice, which stood in the village graveyard, and the pulpit of which was over the site of the graves of Robert Maclay and his wife (leading members of that church for more than fifty years), was a log structure erected early in the century, and proved too small for the growing society. He being a practical mason, as well as miller, superintended the work of building and personally assisted in laying the foundation and erecting the walls. The bricks were made in his meadow, bordering on the Tuscarora Creek, where even today may be seen evidences of the old clay pits from which the material was taken to make them. He boarded the masons and bricklayers, and in many ways did as much as anyone else in carrying to a successful completion the new church edifice.

In 1836 he married Miss Mary Wilds, of Fort Littleton, Fulton County, Pennsylvania. She was a greatgranddaughter of Colonel James Burd, who commanded the Fourth Battalion of Pennsylvania Riflemen in the Revolutionary War. Colonel Burd's daughter, Ann Burd, born 1762, was married to Benjamin Wilds, by whom she had four children, Benjamin, William, John and George, the dates of their births and deaths respectively being 1780-1834, 1781-1827, 1783-1830, 1785-1827.

Ann (Burd) Wilds being left a widow, married James Widney, the founder of Concord, in 1809. His daughter, Ann Widney, born in 1785, married Hugh Linn 2d in 1808, and was the writer's grandmother in the Linn family. Thus it is seen that his great-grandmother, Ann (Burd) Wilds, married as a widow his great-grandfather, James Widney, a widower.[5]

Historical Records[edit]

  • One ancestry user feels they have found James in the 1840 census for Fannetsburg, Franklin Co, PA, listed as "James W Linn." It looks to me like "James M Linn," though.
  • Another ancestry user left these notes ("NOTES TAKEN FROM BEULAH WIDNEY WALL, 'James Widney & Mary Wilson, 260 years & 2000 descendants'."):
    • James Widney LINN lived on one of the farms near Concord, of James & Ann Irwin WIDNEY. On a 1979 visit, my brother Linnie was shown the house of James W. LINN near Doylesburg, Penn. On the barn door were the initials "HWL 1840" (could this possibly be the birth date of son, Hugh William LINN, instead of 1839).
    • 1850 U.S. Census, Concord, Fannett T., Franklin Co., PA, #394, listed James (39) & Mary (38) LINN, occupation miller, w/$4200 in assets. Also, Wesley (12), Hugh William (11), Geo. Wilds (5), & Cessaea (2).[6]
    • In an 1853 Survey of land, James W. LINN is listed w/ 175 acres. [Pa. Archives, 3rd Series, Vol. XXV].
    • 1860 U.S. Census, Concord, Fannett T., Franklin Co., PA, #171, listed James W. (49) & Mary (47).[7]


  1. The Clan Linn, [p158-60] (George Wilds Linn 1905).
  2. The Clan Linn, [p158-60] (George Wilds Linn 1905).
  3. The Clan Linn, [p158-60] (George Wilds Linn 1905).
  4. The Clan Linn, [p126] (George Wilds Linn 1905).
  5. The Clan Linn, [p158-60] (George Wilds Linn 1905).
  6. 1850 US Census
  7. 1860 US Census