A Guide to the Edward Daniel and John Joseph Linn Family Papers, 1833-1941
John Joseph Linn (1798-1885) and his father, John Linn, fled Ireland in 1798 after his father was branded a traitor by British authorities for his participation in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Linn, Sr., married Grace Woods and they had four sons and a daughter, including Edward, John Joseph, Charles and Henry.
John Joseph grew up in New York, where he eventually became a successful bookkeeper. He established a merchant business in New Orleans in 1822 and soon developed an interest in Texas, specifically the De León Colony. After moving to Guadalupe Victoria (now Victoria) in 1829, he established the town of New Port (soon called Linnville) two years later. The new town included a wharf and a warehouse for Linn’s merchant business. Linn served as a liaison and translator between the Irish and Mexican settlers, who called him Juan Linn.
As the Texas Revolution began to brew, Linn spoke out against Mexico and Antonio López de Santa Anna from an early period. As a member of the Victoria Committee of Safety and Correspondence, he had access to sensitive information relating to the Mexican Army’s movements, information he passed on to the Texas Army. He also served the Texas Army more directly as quartermaster, negotiator and advisor. Following the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21, 1836), Linn was asked by interim president David G. Burnet to interview the captured Santa Anna.
During the war, Linn represented Victoria in the Consultation of 1835 (the provisional Texas governing body during the Revolution), served in the General Council, and was elected alcalde of Guadalupe Victoria to the Convention of 1836. After the creation of the Republic of Texas (October 1836), Linn was elected mayor of Victoria and served in the House of the Second and Third Congresses (1838-1841 and 1841-1844). He was a charter member of the Powderhorn, Victoria and Gonzales Railroad Company (a railroad which was never built) and a leader in establishing the San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railway.
Linn married Margaret Cornelia Daniel. They had seven sons and seven daughters, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Amongst them were Edward Daniel, Mary Ann “Annie”, Charles Carroll, John Jr., and William F. Linn.
Edward Daniel Linn (1848-1898) was the eighth of John Joseph Linn and Margaret C. Daniels Linn’s fourteen children. He became the editor of The Victoria Advocate following the Civil War, co-owner of the paper in 1874 and sole proprietor by 1878. He sold the paper ten years later. Linn served as a clerk for the Twelfth Texas Legislature in 1870 and was elected as a representative to the Fourteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Legislatures (1874, 1879-1885), and also as a state senator to the Twenty-fifth Legislature (1897). He represented a number of counties during these years and served on several committees.
Linn married Mary Augusta Alice “Gussie” West on May 23, 1889, and had four daughters, including Josephine Amelia. He served on the board of directors and as secretary for the New York, Texas, and Mexican Railway Company. The eventual deterioration of his health led the Linn family relocate to Goliad County where he died on January 27, 1898.
Miller, Aragorn Storm. “Linn, Edward Daniel.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed June 24, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/LL/fli49.html.
Roell, Craig H. “Linn, John Joseph.” Handbook of Texas Online. June 24, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/LL/fli12.html.
Roell, Craig H. “Linnville, Texas.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed July 7, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/LL/hvl58.html.
The Edward Daniel and John Joseph Linn Family Papers, 1833-1941, include correspondence, surveys, deeds, receipts, contracts for the purchase of slaves, legislation, printed material, creative works, election certificate, and speeches created and maintained by several generations of the Linn family. John Joseph Linn’s letter describing the Battle of San Jacinto (April 1836) has received preservation treatment and a transcript is included. A John J. Linn deed includes a manifest receipt with the signature of Stephen F. Austin (1835).
The activities of John J. Linn as alcalde (mayor) of Victoria, Texas, are chronicled, as well as the career of his son Edward Daniel Linn. E. D. Linn’s ultimately successful attempt to regain the position of Customs Collector generated a large amount of correspondence (1888-1894) that is of particular value in understanding the patronage process of the era. As a Texas Senator, E. D. Linn received correspondence (1896-1898), mostly from people asking for assistance in obtaining Texas state jobs - many who claimed steadfast loyalty to the Democratic Party. Additional correspondence was generated (1887-1899) in relation to political service organizations outside government office. Personal items of E. D. Linn include a photo album of family members and of Texas Senators (1897), and another album includes his Texas House colleagues (1881).
Additional items in the collection include illustrations from magazines and numerous newspaper clippings that were frequently pasted into scrapbooks and albums, including copies of speeches, legislation, and documents that certified electoral victory (1869-1898). The papers of E. D.’s wife, Gussie Linn, are primarily a record of how he corresponded with her through their courtship and marriage (1887-1897). Also included are two photographs of Santa Anna’s Farewell Address in English.
Other Linn family members, represented within the collection, include Margaret C. Linn (1875-1884), Edward Linn (1843-1865), Mary Ann “Annie” Linn (1870-1885), Josephine Linn (1939), Gussie Linn’s brother Andrew Jackson West (1865-1910) and his wife, Mary. U.S. congressman, W. H. Crain, provided adjunct letters on political issues to E.D. Linn (1888-1894) and Mrs. R.A. Smith produced an essay on contributions of John Joseph Linn to the Texas Revolution and the Battle of San Jacinto.
This collection is open for research use.
Edward Daniel and John Joseph Linn Family Papers, 1833-1941, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers