Rev. James Michael Finley

Is your surname Finley?

Research the Finley family

Rev. James Michael Finley's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

James Michael Finley

Birthdate:
Birthplace: County Armagh, Ulster, Ireland
Death: Died in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: North Belle Vernon, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Michael Finley and Ann Finley (O'Neill)
Husband of Hannah Finley (Evans)
Father of John Evans Finley; Margaret Power (Finley); Ebenezer Finley; Hannah Finley; Joseph Finley and 4 others
Brother of John Finley; Rev. Andrew Finley (twin, 1717-1780); William Finley (twin, 1717-1800); Rev. Samuel Finley, Pres.of the College of New Jersey (Princeton); Michael Finley, Jr and 4 others

Occupation: minister
Managed by: Charles W Lewis, II
Last Updated:

About Rev. James Michael Finley

From the English Wikipedia page on James Finley:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Finley_(minister)

James Finley (February 4, 1725 - January 6, 1795) was an American Presbyterian minister and politician who was a pioneer resident of western Pennsylvania. Either he or his wife owned the house in which Thomas Jefferson began his first attempt to draft the United States Declaration of Independence.

Early life

James Finley was born on February 4, 1725 in County Armagh, Ireland, the son of Michael Finley and Anne daughter of Samuel O'Neill. He immigrated to America at the age of nine, and studied under Samuel Blair at Faggs Manor Academy,[1] in what is now Londonderry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

In 1752, Finley married Hannah Evans (1715-April 1, 1795), daughter of Robert Evans. The couple had seven sons and two daughters. Eight of their children lived to adulthood. A son, James (1769–1772), died aged three.[2]

James was brother of Andrew Finley and brother and student of the Samuel Finley, (fifth president of the College of New Jersey, later known as Princeton University, from 1761 until 1766).[3] James graduated from Princeton.[1] (He attended and graduated from the predecessor institution then known as William Tennant's Log College, in Neshaminy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania).

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a cousin of the Finleys, and moved into the Samuel Finley home at the age of six upon the death of his father. Through his brother Samuel, James was likely acquainted with another signer of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Stockton, as well as Oliver Ellsworth, who became the third Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and Ebenezer Hazard, who became Postmaster General.

Later life

Finley had a revival experience under Robert Smith and traveled with noted evangelist George Whitfield. Finley was ordained in 1752 and became pastor of East Nottingham Church, near the disputed Maryland-Pennsylvania border. He traveled to western Pennsylvania three or four times before 1782, possibly as early as 1765.

In 1771 Finley supplied sabbath services over the Allegheny Mountains under commission from the Presbyterian Synod of Philadelphia. In 1772 he traveled to Fayette County, Pennsylvania with his son, Ebenezer, to a farm Finley had purchased near Dunlap's Creek. In 1782 he accepted a call from the united congregations at the Forks of the Youghiogheny River to serve as pastor to several congregations and settlements.[1]

In "Ever a Frontier: The Bicentennial History of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary," a short biography of Finley concludes: "Finley was one of the 'honored seven,'" all graduates of Princeton College, who carried the responsibility of spreading Christianity and Presbyterianism throughout the expanses of the west. This they did in their own way, so very successfully that the whole area was soon called their "Western Zion."

Finley died at 1795 at the age of seventy. He left a bequest to Canonsburg Academy, which became Jefferson College, then Washington & Jefferson College.[1]

Finley family history holds that during the American Revolution, he was connected to the house where the Declaration of Independence was initially drafted. Web sources have him as owning the house, in which Thomas Jefferson was so uncomfortable that he moved to a boarding house on the edge of town.[4] Other sources state that the home where Jefferson wrote the Declaration was owned and occupied by Jacob Graff, a local bricklayer.[5]

Finley was involved in the border dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania in furtherance of the interests of Pennsylvania. He made several trips to then Westmoreland County, likely to the area of present Greene and Washington Counties, where he collected signatures on petitions which are now at NARA in Washington. These trips have sometimes been speculated as also being spying missions for Benjamin Franklin and the Committee of Safety.[6]

In 1795 Finley was elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature.[7]

The following story was recorded about Finley having a premonition when his third son and fourth child, Ebenezer (1758–1849), barely escaped an Indian attack: "[Ebenezer] came to Fayette county [PA] with his father in 1772 and settled on lands in Redstone township, purchased by his father in 1771. Ebenezer was a daring, hardy lad, and amidst his pioneer surroundings rapidly developed stature and strength. Samuel Finley, who came at the same time, but not a relative, was in charge of the farm, aided by his Negro slaves brought from Maryland. Samuel was drafted for militia duty, but Ebenezer was allowed to go as his substitute. While at Fort Wallace a rider brought news of the approach of Indians, Young Finley was one of the party of twenty men who left the fort, and soon came upon a large body of Indians before whom they retreated, keeping up a running fight. Finley's gun would not go off, and in stopping to fix it he fell behind the others. An Indian with a leveled gun was about to shoot him, when a settler's shot struck him. Finley ran, closely pursued, and soon caught up with the hindmost man, who received the tomahawk, intended for Finley, in the back of his head. Close pressed, but protected by the fire of a comrade, he safely crossed the bridge and reached the fort. A remarkable case of premonition or telepathy, or call it as one may, must here be recorded: During young Finley's running fight and narrow escapes, just mentioned, his father, Rev. James Finley, three hundred miles away, had a strange and undefinable impression that his son was in great danger, but could form no distinct conception of its nature or cause. He fell to his knees and spent a long time in earnest prayer for his son, arising with the comfortable feeling that the danger was past. He made a note of the time, and when a few weeks later he received a letter from his son giving an account of his narrow escapes from death, he saw that the time corresponded exactly with his own strange experience. Rev. Finley was a man of absolute truth—the reader must settle for himself what was the cause of this wireless intercourse between father and son and separated by three hundred miles of space." [2]

Death

James Finley died on January 6, 1795 in Rostaver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and is buried at Rehoboth Presbyterian Churchyard.[6]

References

1.^ Dwight Guthrie, "Presbyterian Beginnings in the West," Ever a Frontier: The Bicentennial History of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, edited by James Arthur Walther, Wm. B. Eerdmanns Publishing Company, 1994, pages 50-51

2.^ Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County Pennsylvania, Vol. I-II, John W. Jordan, ed. New York, USA: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1912

3.^ Clan Finley, RADM Herald F. Stout, 2d Ed 2 VV bound as 1, Dover OH:1956, V1 p26

4.^ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~cafamilies/finley/famous.html - Accessed: April 9, 2007

5.^ http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/graff.htm - Accessed: April 9, 2007

6.^ Clan Finley RADM Herald F. Stout, 2d Ed 2 VV bound as 1, Dover OH:1956, V1 p26

7.^ List Members of PA State Legislature, PA State Library, Harrisburg

Further reading

Wilfred Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1935 6 vv.


James Finley (February 4, 1725 - January 6, 1795), 5th s/o Michael Finley/Ann O'Neill or Neill, was an American Presbyterian minister and politician who was a Pioneer resident of Western Pennsylvania. Either he or his wife owned the house in which Thomas Jefferson began his first attempt to draft the United States Declaration of Independence.

James Finley was born on February 4, 1725 in County Armagh, Ireland, the son of Michael Finley and Anne daughter of Samuel O'Neill. He immigrated to America at the age of nine, and studied under Samuel Blair at Faggs Manor Academy, in what is now Londonderry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

In 1752, Finley married Hannah Evans (1715-April 1, 1795), daughter of Robert Evans. The couple had seven sons and two daughters. Eight of their children lived to adulthood. A son, James (1769–1772), died aged three. Children were: Rev. John Evans FINLEY, Rev. Ebenezer FINLEY, Joseph FINLEY, William FINLEY...

James was brother of Andrew Finley and brother and student of the Samuel Finley, (fifth president of the College of New Jersey, later known as Princeton University, from 1761 until 1766). James graduated from Princeton. (He attended and graduated from the predecessor institution then known as William Tennant's Log College, in Neshaminy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania).

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a cousin of the Finleys, and moved into the Samuel Finley home at the age of six upon the death of his father. Through his brother Samuel, James was likely acquainted with another signer of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Stockton, as well as Oliver Ellsworth, who became the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Ebenezer Hazard, who became Postmaster General.

Finley was involved in the border dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania in furtherance of the interests of Pennsylvania. He made several trips to then Westmoreland County, likely to the area of present Greene and Washington Counties, where he collected signatures on petitions which are now at NARA in Washington. These trips have sometimes been speculated as also being spying missions for Benjamin Franklin and the Committee of Safety. In 1795 Finley was elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature.

James Finley died on January 6, 1795 in Rostaver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and is buried at Rehoboth Presbyterian Churchyard. _________________________ Rev James Finley was born in County Armagh, Ireland Feb 1725 & died in Fayette Co, Pa Jan 6, 1795. He emigrated to America in 1734 & married Hannah Evans. Children of James FINLEY and Hannah EVANS are:

  i.   Rev. John Evans FINLEY, born 26 Jul 1753 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Md; died 07 Jan 1818; married Elizabeth RUSTON; 
  ii.   Samuel Robert FINLEY, born 19 Dec 1754 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died 19 Oct 1839. 
  iii.   Margaret FINLEY, born 06 Sep 1756 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died 10 Mar 1836 in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland, PA. 
 iv.   Ebenezer FINLEY, born 30 Dec 1758 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died 01 Jan 1849 in Dunlap Creek, PA; married (1) Jane KINKAID 31 Jan 1782; married (2) Violet LOWRY 08 Apr 1794 in Fayette Co., PA; married (3) Margery HUSTON Mar 1805; married (4) Sarah JONES 1822. 
  v.   Hannah FINLEY, born 30 Jun 1764 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died 1820; married John ROBINSON; 
  vi.   Joseph FINLEY, born 13 Dec 1766 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died 03 Jun 1860; married Elizabeth VEETCH; 
  vii.   James FINLEY, born 14 Jan 1769 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died Abt. 1772 in Cecil Co., Maryland. 
  viii.   William FINLEY, born 10 Jun 1772 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died Unknown; married Sarah PATTERSON; 
  ix.   Michael FINLEY, born 24 Mar 1774 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; died Abt. 1850; married Eleanor ELLIOT;
  x.   Robert FINLEY, born Abt. 1776 in White Hall Farm, Cecil Co., Maryland; 

_______________________________________________________________ 4 marriages of Ebenezer & the children born to his first three wives. the record of his own family as follows:

   "Ebenezer Finley Jr born Oct 24, 1804 died 1891.
    Phebe Woodward born May 8, 1808 married Feb 9, 1826
           Children's names

1. Caleb W. Finley born Jan 15, 1827 2. Ebenezer Leroy Finley born Oct 2, 1828 died Sept 9, 1849 3. Robert Finley born May 29, 1830 4. Evans Finley born Aug 16, 1832, died Sept 21, 1898 5. Elijah V. Finley Born July 10, 1834, died Nov 25, 1859 6. James G. Finley born Sept 16, 1836 7. Davis Finley born Sept 19, 1838 died Sept 19, 1839 8. Phebe Jane Finley born July 25, 1840 9. Albert W. Finley Born March 23, 1843 10. Ashbel D. Finley born Jan 8, 1845 died Jan 5, 1847 11. John Huston Finley born Apr 7, 1847 died Nov 18, 1883 12. Violet Finley born Apr 18, 1849 (The deaths at items 4 & 11 are inserted in pencil in another hand.) Elijah V. Finley and Sarah Dempsey married Aug 19, 1856, married by Samuel Wilson D.D. Evans Finley & Mary A. Crow married Jan 15, 1857 by Rev King (This was Feb on the record, but both Mrs Finley now 88 & her daughter, say Jan 15, is the correct date & Mrs Finley says Rev King was the Baptist minister at Uniontown.) Phebe Jane & John T. Porter Married Sept 1858 by Rev Sam'l Wilson Caleb W. Finley & Magie [sic] Wilson married Sept 1859 by Rev Sam'l Wilson (Magie's father)" +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Record of Evans Finley's family Evans Finley born Aug 16, 1832 died Sep 21, 1898 Mary A. Finley Born Jan 2, 1834 died Mar 3, 1926 (She was the daughter of Isaac Crow ent'd 3/29/26)

           Children

1. Violet Lizzie Born Wed May 26, 1858 2. Walter E. Born Mon, Oct 10, 1859 Died Sun, Feb 16, 1862 3. Nannie C. Born Wed, Feb 13, 1861 Died Wed Feb 12, 1862 4. Ebenezer Lowry born Wed, Aug 13, 1862 died Tues Aug 31, 1897 5. Isaac Gipson born Fri, May 27, 1864 6. Phebe Annetta born Wed, Dec 12, 1866 7. Frank Oren born Tues, Jun 1, 1869 died Sat, Jan 2, 1915. 8. Nora born Fri, May 3, 1872 died Fri Nov 15, 1901 9. Infant born Sun May 2, 1875 died Oct 1875 10. Edna born Wed, Aug 7, 1878 died Sun May 7, 1893. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Violet Lizzie Finley & William A. Harvey married.Jun 10, 1880. He died in Jul 11, 1881 at Monmouth, Ill & buried there. Phebe Annetta Finley & Wm Herbert Higby m.Jun 4, 1890. He died Jul 10, 1913 at Ottawa, Ill & is buried there. Violet L. Harvey & Rev Geo E. Gowdy m.Nov 18, 1891 Isaac Gipson Finley & Nellie R. Palmer m.Jan 4, 1897 Ebenezer Lowry Finley & France May Wilson m.Jun 16, 1897. He died in Streator, Ill Aug 31, 1897 Mary Margaret Higby (daughter of Phebe Annetta) & Clyde Lowe Casey married. Nov 24, 1913

                  Births

Mary Margaret Higby Born Sun Apr 24, 1892 Edwin Finley Gowdy born Fri, Oct 6, 1893 William Evans Higby born Fri, March 26, 1897 John Margaret Casey born Fri, Dec 4, 1914.

view all 13

Rev. James Michael Finley's Timeline

1725
February 4, 1725
County Armagh, Ulster, Ireland
1753
1753
Age 27
East Nottingham, Cecil, Maryland
1756
September 6, 1756
Age 31
Cecil County, Province of Maryland, (Present USA)
1758
December 30, 1758
Age 33
Cecil County, Province of Maryland, (Present USA)
1764
June 20, 1764
Age 39
East Nottingham, Cecil, Maryland
1766
December 15, 1766
Age 41
East Nottingham, Cecil, Maryland
1769
1769
Age 43
1772
1772
Age 46
East Nottingham, Cecil, Maryland
1774
1774
Age 48
East Nottingham, Cecil, Maryland