Archilles James Linville



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Archilles James Linville (1825->1900)

Archilles James Linville was born in Mar 1825 in Virginia. He may have been born in Harrison County, Virginia, an area that is now in West Virginia. He had three siblings, namely: Charity, Elizabeth “Lizzie,” and Susan. We don’t know his exact birth date and we don’t know who his parents were. His name has been found written as Archilles, Archelaus, Arkless, Ark and even Archibald. We know he existed, but he is largely a mystery.

His parents may have been Lewis Linville and Sarah Dunham. Sarah’s dad’s name was Archelaus (or Archilles) Dunham. Archilles James Linville named one of his sons Lewis. So, there is some circumstantial evidence to support this.

Update: after more years of research, it seems that Lewis Linville and Sarah Dunham were indeed his parents.

We do know that his parents died early, maybe when Archilles was an infant or young child. Archilles’ sister Elizabeth “Lizzie” had documented adoptive parents. She was adopted by Thomas Kitchen and his wife, the widow Goodrich,  when she was about 5-years old. That would place the adoption at about 1826 when Archilles was only a year or so old.

We don’t know who raised Archilles and we don’t know when he came from Virginia to Missouri. At least two of his siblings were in Missouri too, so it is probable that his parents  had brought the family westward. It is also possible, that when the parents died – whoever they were and whenever they died – that the orphaned children were shipped west to live with a relative. Only the heads-of-households were listed by name in census records prior to 1850. so we can’t find these kids living with other families. The Kitchen residence in 1830 only had one adult male, one adult female, and one female child. So Archilles and his sister, Susan, were probably not raised by the Kitchens. Though in the 1844 Missouri State Census, the household was larger.

No real trace of the other supposed sibling, Charity Linville, has been found. In fact, we aren’t even sure if Charity was a girl or a boy. People named their boys Charity back then.

Maybe eventually, his parents can be proven and we can figure out who raised him, but right now we are missing conclusive evidence.

When he was 16, he married Martha Jane Wren on 16 Sep 1841 in Columbia, Boone, Missouri. Boone County is just to the west of Callaway County where he is found in census records for the remainder of his life. Sixteen seems like a really early age for a man (boy) to marry.

Linville-Wren marriage.

Archilles James Linville and Martha Jane Wren had the following children:

  1. Elizabeth A. Linville was born about 1842 in Callaway, Missouri. She died between 1871–1876 in Callaway, Missouri. She married Samual Christopher McCall on 13 Dec 1860 in Callaway, Missouri.
  2. Martha Jane Linville was born on 07 Oct 1844 in Boone, Missouri. She died on 20 Jan 1931 in Auxvasse, Callaway, Missouri. She married James Polk McClellan on 10 Oct 1865 in Callaway, Missouri. She married Andrew Jackson Martin on 09 Sep 1880 in Callaway, Missouri.
  3. Lewis Harrison Linville was born in 1846 in Missouri.

At the time of the 1850 Federal Census, Archilles, Martha, and their two daughters, were living with his sister, Elizabeth Linville Kitchen. Elizabeth, known as Lizzie, was a widow. Her story is unusual. As was stated before, she was adopted by Thomas Kitchen and his wife when she was about 5-years old. By the time Lizzie was grown up, her adoptive mother had died. She married her adoptive father on 22 Jul 1841. He was 60-years old and she was about 17. The nearly nine-year marriage ended on 24 Apr 1850 when he died at age 69. So, she was newly widowed when they took the census in 1850. She was the owner of real estate worth $1,200. In his will, Thomas had left his “beloved wife” all of his property.

1850 Federal Census, Archilles Linville.

By 1860, Archilles had his own property. Their last child was listed too. But, the 1850 and 1860 census entries serve as good examples of the fact that census records are not always 100% accurate. Look at the ages of their daughters.  In 1850, Elizabeth was shown as seven-years old and Martha Jane was four. By 1860, Elizabeth was 18-years old and Mary Jane was 16. We know from other records that Martha Jane was born 07 Oct 1844, so she really was four in 1850. But, she was NOT sixteen in 1860. And, where was son Lewis Harrison in the 1850 Federal Census? If he was fourteen in 1860, he was born by the time of the 1850 census. So many questions. Was he their child? If so, was his birth year recorded wrong in 1860 too? Maybe he was born in 1856 rather than 1846? Or, was he just forgotten when the census keeper came to the door in 1850? And what happened to him after 1860? This is the only trace of him that has been found. Yes, so many questions!

1860 Federal Census, Archilles Linville.

Between the 1860 and 1870 censuses, the family had to survive the Civil War. Callaway County, where they lived, was pro-Southern and against the war. When Lincoln declared war to put down secessionist forces, the Missouri governor wouldn’t send troops to the Federal Government. Instead, a Missouri militia was formed to resist Federal forces. Callaway County had its own unit called the Callaway Guards.  When the Union Army arrived, martial law was declared in the county. Everyday life was disrupted.

In 1870, the family was listed living in Saint Aubert township. Married daughter, Martha Jane, and her family were residing with Archilles and his wife Martha.

1870 Federal Census, Archilles Linville.

At the time of the 1876 Missouri State Census, Archilles and Martha were living next door to their married daughter Martha Jane in Township 46, Range 8 of Callaway County. Both Archilles and Martha could read and write. Archilles only owned 2 horses 150 bushels of corn. His farm was not a large operation. Based on a township plat map of the same year, Archilles was no longer a land owner. We don’t know for sure what happened to make him lose his farm. Most likely, he couldn’t afford to pay the mortgage. A sheriff’s sale was held.

Sheriff’s sale, Archilles Linville property.
1876 Missouri Census, Archilles Linville.
1876 Missouri Census, Archilles Linville, continued.

Archilles became a widower sometime between the 1876 and 1880 censuses. His daughter, Martha Jane Linville McClellan, lost both a husband and son to an epidemic on the same day in 1875. Martha Jane was left with four children to support. She worked for $.25 a day planting crops. She would be gone all week and return on the weekend. The family had to make do with what she brought home with her on pay day. They were usually out of food long before the next pay day. The children would pick berries and live on whatever was available.

Before she remarried in September 1880, Archilles Linville, lived with Martha Jane and watched the children for her. Archilles had lost a leg in an accident when trimming railroad ties so was unable to provide for the family. This may have been why he lost his farm. But, one day when he was cutting wood, Archilles accidentally hit his grandson, Marion, on the head with the ax. The wound would not quit bleeding so they put ashes in the wound. That caused the bleeding to stop. They left the ashes on the wound until Marion’s mother got home at the end of the week. She had to clean out the wound.

1880 Federal Census, Archilles Linville.

Archilles seems to have remained with his daughter Martha Jane for the remainder of his life. He was living with Mary Jane, her second husband, and her children at the time the 1900 Federal census was taken.

1900 Federal Census, Archilles Linville.

Archilles died sometime after 1900 in Callaway, Missouri. His death leaves us with yet another mystery. The exact date of his death is not known. He was alive for the 1900 census, but gone by the time 1910 census was taken. He was buried in Riverview Cemetery, Steedman, Callaway, Missouri.

Riverside Cemetery, Callaway County, Missouri, September 2017.

Where is he in the tree?

Relationship chart, Thomas Leland Estes to Archilles James Linville.
Pedigree chart, Archilles James Linville.

Selected Sources:

Mark Douglas, “The Civil War in Callaway County,” Callaway County, Missouri ( : accessed 18 Mar 2018).

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