Samuel Linnell, a War of 1812 veteran and prisoner of war, had his new headstone dedicated to him during a ceremony Saturday at the inactive Clayton Center Cemetery on County Route 5.
Several descendants of Linnel watched with gratitude as an honors contingent from Fort Drum led the ceremony. His headstone became official after a flag was neatly folded, cartridges placed carefully inside and handed over to a family member.
The headstone was a well-deserved one. Linnell fought to defend the United States in the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor in 1813, where he was injured and captured by enemy forces. Linnel was a prisoner of war for around a year, before he returned home to Jefferson County. Despite never fully recovering from the injuries he suffered in battle, he was never issued a pension.
Representatives of the Linnell Family Association worked with Jean B. Davis, the director of Cummings Funeral Service, to get Linnell the recognition they believe he deserves. It was a process that required investigation, research and lots of paperwork. On Saturday, it all became worthwhile, when Davis and Linnell’s descendants watched the smooth, pearly white stone — with the black capital letters SAMUEL LINNEL — glimmer in the sunlight.
The following biographical information was submitted by Clayton resident Ann Cummings Major-Stevenson, a direct descendant of Samuel Linell:
Samuel Linnell was born on Jan. 27, 1778, in Barnstable, Massachusetts. He died Aug. 13, 1847, on Grindstone Island, Clayton, Jefferson County. He was married to Eunice Mosher (born about 1779 in Maine and died Nov. 28, 1853, in Clayton, Jefferson County.
Samuel and Eunice were married Aug. 24, 1797, in Belgrade, Maine. They were parents to John, Sarah (known as ‘Sally’), Sofia, Rufus, Samuel, Charles R., Marshall, Thomas Jefferson and Eunice Linnell.
Their second child, the oldest daughter, Sarah (known as ‘Sally’) Linnell (born 1801 in Augusta, Maine and died April 29, 1891) was married to Thomas Cummings (born about 1805 in Vermont).
They were a ‘First Family’ of Grindstone Island and donated land to the town of Clayton to create the Lower Cemetery on Grindstone Island, also known as the Civil War cemetery.
They were parents to: Philander, Malvina, Malvina, George, Walter, William Riley, Hall, Jane, George and Betsey Cummings.
Through their oldest son, Philander, several of veteran Samuel Linnell’s great-great-great-great grandchildren keep in touch living in or near the area.
These include: sisters Elizabeth Cummings Gorman O’Brian (Clayton) and Patricia Cummings Gorman Larson (Canandaigua,) and their first cousins Sylvia Cummings Johnson Dillenback (Cape Vincent and North Carolina), her sisters Sandra and Susie (in Watertown), and John Cummings O’Kay (Chaumont) and his siblings, and Brenda Cummings Dix (Fort Myers, Florida) and her brother Steve, and all of their second cousins, Ann Cummings Major-Stevenson (Clayton/Chaumont).
Through Samuel and Eunice’s third son, Walter, Walter P Cummings, director of Cummings Funeral Service (Clayton and Watertown) is also a great-great-great-great grandchild of the honoree Samuel Linnell.
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