He was born January 30, 1815, in Clinton County, Ohio, to Nathaniel Matthew Linton and Elizabeth Rachel Smith. He received his A.B. degree from Miami University in 1839 and his LL.B. from Cincinnati in 1840. Linton worked as a lawyer in Wilmington, Ohio, Clinton County, Ohio, and finally Linn County, Kansas, where he was a probate judge (1867–69). Linton also served as a state senator for Ohio (1851–55) before he moved to Kansas. He died August 10, 1889, in Linn County.