The earliest records I currently have for my Finley family line begins with John J. Finley, born January 1800 in Ireland and his wife, Isabella Johnson. I have not been able to determine when John and Isabella came to America, but it was some time after the birth of their son George Finley. It is a strong possibility that there were other relatives in America before their arrival. Several Finleys resided in and around central Illinois in the early 1800's.
John and Isabella had four sons, William, John, Robert and George. All lived on farms adjacent to each other in Montgomery Township, Woodford Co. Illinois in 1860. George and Matilda Graham Finley resided in the town of Deer Creek which is right on the Tazewell and Woodford County lines.
In the 1860 Federal census, George is listed as a farm hand and residing with the Joseph Meek family. The Meek farm was very close to the Finley family farms. Son William Finley was married to Sarah Meek. This is the first time we see George appearing on any census, although I believe the family was here some years before. I have evidence of George's naturalization in 1865 in the actual document and according to the statement of George in the census record of 1900. I also have record of George purchasing 40 acres of rail road land at $10.00 an acre in 1870. George Nelson, (son of George) purchased adjoining land of 40 acres for $9.00 an acre in 1871 from the railroad.
George and Matilda were simple and hard working people. A letter written by Matilda to John, her son, expresses her desire to get away from the farm "but she has too many chickens to mind." George and Matilda were charter members of the M. E. Church in Deer Creek. Their names are in the cornerstone of that church. George also owned a quarter section of land in Kingsbury County, South Dakota. I have yet to determine why he had land there. A search of papers filed in the Homestead Act of 1862 revealed that the land was not homestead land but a purchase from Fred and Dora Davis in 1902. The land was sold through George's estate in 1917. The curious thing about this original land purchase was that it was sold to George for "$1.00 and other valuable consideration". When Georges estate was settled, the land in Kingsbury County sold for $6,400.00 to H. C. Strub.
As far as military records I did not find any for George. I am puzzled as to why he would not have served in the Civil War. George is not recorded in the 1865 state census, but does appear again in the 1880 Federal Census.
George, Matilda, and many of the Finleys are buried in Allison Cemetery, which is on private property. This property is close to the Finley family farms. Other family names buried there include Cherrington, Robinson, Graham, Simpson, Wells, and Kinkaid. I was able to make some type of family connection through most of the surnames.
I welcome information from anyone with information on the Finley family line. Please note when contacting me that there is an underscore between Cindi and Davis. firstname.lastname@example.org