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W.Va. bridge named for Revolutionary War soldier

August 26, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Until recently, it was just known as Bridge No. 19-3405B. Earlier this year, however, the U.S. 340 bridge over the W.Va. 9 bypass near Charles Town was named the John Adam Link Bridge in honor of an early settler and Revolutionary War soldier.

That made the Link family reunion at the Uvilla Lutheran Church a bit more special this year. More than 60 members of the family gathered Sunday beneath a pavilion dedicated to John Jacob Link, the first Link to come to America.

In getting a bridge named after a member of one's family, it doesn't hurt to have a politician in the family. Kanawha County Del. Ron Walters said he sponsored the bill that the West Virginia House of Delegates passed in April. Jefferson County's two delegates, John Doyle and Dale Manuel, co-sponsored the resolution.

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Walters, a third-term Republican, grew up in Charles Town. A number of Links and other branches of the family tree remain rooted in Jefferson and Berkeley counties, as well as Maryland and Virginia. The church cemetery is the final resting place for many Link descendants.

Some of those buried at the Uvilla church were Civil War veterans. Walters said the conflict split the family, with about equal numbers serving both sides. Jefferson County's last veteran of that war, Confederate soldier John Allen Link, died in 1935.

John Adam Link II was the grandson of John Jacob Link, who came to this country in 1733 to avoid the frequent wars that were devastating central Europe during the 18th century. Born on New Year's Eve 1756 in Berks Co., Pa., he and his family moved to Israel's Creek in Frederick County about three years later, according to a book on the family history.

In 1782 he was commissioned an ensign in Capt. Peter Barrick's Company of the Catoctin Battalion of the Frederick County Militia. The next year Link married Jane Ogle and they moved to land her father had owned near Shepherdstown. The quarry stone house John Link built in the early 19th century is still owned by a member of the family.

Before Link died in 1835, he and Jane had seven children. He is buried at St. Peters Old Lutheran Church in Shepherdstown.

Patsy Currier of Shepherdstown now serves as the family historian and her records showed there have been about 9,000 people over 11 generations who could trace their roots to John Jacob Link. Four of those generations were represented Sunday.

Also at the reunion was a display of family artifacts from more than 200 years, including John Adam Link's Revolutionary War mess kit and folding spoon and knife.

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