Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Bellefonte, Centre County
An accomplished lawyer and well-liked judge, Linn also released works on the histories of Union, Centre, and Clinton Counties.
Central Pennsylvania lawyer John Blair Linn was born into a family with a legal tradition in 1831. During his life, he not only practiced law and became a district attorney for Sullivan County, but he also became a prominent historian, chronicling the early histories of Buffalo Valley and Centre and Clinton Counties.
John Blair Linn was born on October 16, 1831, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were James F. Linn, Esq. and Margaret I. Wilson. In 1857, Linn married Julia J. Pollock, with whom he had two children. Pollock died in 1862, and Linn married again in 1867 to Mary E.D. Wilson. The couple had two children.
Linn attended the Lewisburg Academy and Marshall College in Mercersburg and graduated in 1846. He practiced law in Union and Sullivan Counties before he moved his practice to Centre County in 1871.
Having accompanied his father to work and read through old newspapers and other local historical documents, Linn became interested in preserving the history of his home and the surrounding area. In 1883, Linn published the first of his historical compilations, Annals of Buffalo Valley, Pennsylvania, 1755-1855. His History of Centre and Clinton Counties (1883) remains an important source text for local historians and genealogists.
Linn was elected District Attorney during his short stay in Sullivan County and was later appointed Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth in 1873. He was also appointed to be one of two editors to work on 12 volumes of the second Pennsylvania Archives.
John Blair Linn died in Bellefonte on New Year's Day, 1899.
Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution: Battalions and Line, 1775-1783. Eds. John Blair Linn and William H. Egle. Harrisburg: Lane S. Hart, 1880.
History of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1883.
Annals of Buffalo Valley, Pennsylvania, 1755-1855. Harrisburg: Lane S. Hart, 1877.