The Darlings: Maternal Ancestors of Linus Pauling

William Darling, William Darling Jr. and Linus Wilson Darling, ca. 1870.

William Allen Darling III, William Allen Darling Jr. and Linus Wilson Darling, ca. 1890s.

Before her wedding to Herman Pauling on May 27, 1900, Linus Pauling’s mother, Belle, was known as Lucy Isabelle Darling.  The Darling family history is a rough and tumble one, indicative of the pioneer environment in which Linus Pauling was raised.

Earliest Ancestors

Brothers Dennis and John Darling, the family’s earliest known ancestors, settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, just south of Boston, sometime around 1660.  Records are slight for at least one or two generations, but it is known that John R. Darling, born in 1750, established himself as a farmer in the mid-Hudson Valley region of New York state.  We also know that John R. Darling was a Tory loyalist who, in response to the outbreak of revolution in the American colonies, moved his family to the Bay Quinte region of Ontario, Canada, where he remained until his death at age 98.

The Darlings resided in eastern Canada for some time.  John R. Darling’s son William Darling, born 1800, married and raised eight children in the Bay Quinte region.  One of William’s sons, William Allen Darling (1826-1900) would become Linus Pauling’s great-grandfather.

Great-Grandfather William Allen Darling

William Allen Darling’s biography is the first in which we find documentation of what might be described as “Wild West” behavior.  Having married in 1850 and, in ten years, fathered six children, William Allen Darling left both eastern Canada and his family behind in 1863, bound for Chicago, apparently for purposes of fighting in the American Civil War on the side of the Union.

During this time he cut off communication with his family, who eventually presumed him to be dead.  Four years later he married again – a bigamous marriage, technically – and settled on the western shores of Lake Huron in Tawas City, Michigan.  [He and his second oldest child, William Allen III, would later relocate to the Pacific Northwest] Around this same period, Darling’s first wife died and all six of her children were moved into foster homes.

Grandfather Linus Wilson Darling

One of those six children, Linus Wilson Darling (1855-1910), ran away from his foster parents in New Jersey, worked for a spell as a mule-driver on the Erie Canal and, at the age of fifteen, found his way to Chicago, where he both worked and lodged in a bakery. (he slept in a large bakery barrel)

A year later Linus Wilson Darling left Chicago and, for two years, roamed westward.  He eventually settled in western Oregon, near the state capitol of Salem, and found work as a school teacher.  It is here that he met his future wife, Alcy Delilah Neal, who was one of his students – she was nineteen at the time of their marriage, he was twenty-three.

The newlyweds stayed near Salem for two years, before finally moving to Lonerock, on the east side of the state, where Linus opened a drugstore and Alcy gave birth to four daughters.  The second, Lucy Isabelle, born April 12, 1881, would become Linus Pauling’s mother.

Linus Wilson Darling and his third of four daughters, Estella, early 1900s.

Linus Wilson Darling and Estella Darling, the third of his four daughters, early 1900s.

Four years later the Darlings moved to Condon, where Linus opened a General Store and where Belle would later meet Herman Pauling – a traveling pharmacist, her future husband and the father of Linus, Pauline and Lucile Pauling.

It is worth noting that The Oregon Historical Society includes among its holdings a thoroughly entertaining diary kept by Linus Wilson Darling during his time in Lonerock and Condon.  In it Darling notes, among other events, his first experience of catching a fish by shooting it with a gun…

More information on the Darling family can be found in subseries 5 of the Pauling Biographical materials and a previous blog post on Linus Pauling’s paternal lineage is available here.

Oregon 150