Facts and Events
||18 Dec. 1706
||10 Mar 1723/24
||Chester County, Pennsylvaniato Thankful Doak
||17 Nov 1767
||Augusta, Virginia, United StatesJohn Finley and Thankful to George Finley, 179 acres, 17 November 1767, Deed Book 14, page 106, Augusta Co., VA.
||bef. 20 September 1791
||Augusta County, Virginia[Will Presented in Court]
John Finley was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Advisory on John Finley
This John Finley has been frequently confused with another John Finley that was also located in Augusta County, Virgina. This John Finley, married Thankful Doak, daughter of Samuel Doak. John Finley and Thankful Doak had children in both Pennsylvania and Augusta County, Virginia, a fact that has been omitted by several researchers posting on the internet that has also caused this John Finley's birthdate to have been erroneously listed. This John Finley's genealogy has been thoroughly researched by Carmen Finley, Ph.D., C.G., and was published in four parts in the Virginia Genealogist in 2002, entitled: "The John Finley's of Augusta County, Virginia - Correcting the Record".
There are many inaccurate genealogies posted on the internet regarding the Finley families of Virginia. It is suggested that extreme caution be used before changes are made to these families.
Land in Augusta County, Virginia
Probable site of John Finley's land (Beverley Manor NW, 300 acres, 1741) as shown on the map meticulously drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, cartographer. This map is copyrighted©, used by permission of John Hildebrand, son of J.R. Hildebrand, April, 2009.
Note: John Finley's land is not listed on the Hildebrand Map, but in some records is listed as "adjoining Alexander Breckenridge's" land, and the land identified appears to be the only land of that size that adjoins Breckenridge's land, not owned by other early settlers. We do know that John Finley was a close associate of Alexander Breckenridge, so it certainly makes sense that they lived nearby each other in Augusta County:
Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA
Acquisition of Land in Augusta County, VA
- John Finley received a patent for 183 acres of land, "lying and being in that part of Orange County called Augusta on a branch of Cathey's River called Finley's Branch" (Va. State Land Office, Patent #19, 739-41, reel 17, p. 852), 1 Dec. 1740, as listed in Chalkley's: Page 329.--183 acres patented to John Finley 1st December, 1740.
- John Finley received a second patent for 300 acres, "in that part of Orange called Augusta on a draft of Cathey's River" (Patent #20, 1741-43, reel 18, p. 83), 15 Oct. 1741, adjoining land of Alexander Breckenridge.
Disposition of Land from Chalkley's:
- Page 366.—28th November, 1749. John Finley to Alexander Gardner, 183 acres on Finley's Branch of Cathey's River, William Anderson's line. Delivered: John Archer, November, 1753. Teste: Robert Scott, James McCorkall, Francis Beaty.
- Page 106.--17th November, 1767. John Finley and Thankful to George Finley, 6 shillings, 176 acres, part of the tract John now lives on. Teste: Thos. Brown, Ro. Finley. Delivered: George Findley, November, 1771.
- Page 524. - 23rd August 1770. William Finley to son, John Finley, ₤53.6.8, 215 acres in Beverley Manor, part of 297 acres laid off for John Finley, Sr.., part of 892 acres on Shannandore surveyed for John Finley, Jr. , manor line; William Finley's line; Ramsey's line. Teste: Wm. Marshall, William Armstrong. Delivered: John Finley, 15th December, 1773.
- John Finley wrote his will on 7 August 1791 naming in order; wife, Thankful; children, David, George, Robert, Margaret Shields, James, John, Jean, and Thankful McKarter; and grandson, John Trimble, son of Jean. David received the lion s share of the estate. Thankful received all household furniture except one old bed and furniture, his Negro woman, Hannah, and a saddle and horse, with maintenance out of the estate willed to David. George, Robert, and Margaret Shields received five shillings each. James received 9C120 with interest from this date, to be paid by David out of the estate. John was to receive one bed and furniture upon the death of Thankful. Jean was to receive a mare and Negro woman upon the death of Thankful, while her son, John Trimble, was left a saddle and bridle. Thankful McKarter was left six shillings. David, probably the youngest son, was also named executor. (Source: "The John Finleys of Augusta County, Virginia", by Carmen J. Finley, Ph.D., C.G.)
- In the Naim of God -- Amen. The Seventeenth day of August 1791. I John Finley of the Colony of Virginia and the County of Agusta former being in a low state of health but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to god. Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men onst to die do make and ordain this my Last will and Testiment -- that is to say principaly and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God that give it, and my body to the Earth, to be buried in a Christian Descent maner at the Descretion of my Executors and Unto him of such worldly estate where with it pleases God to bless me in this Life.
- I give Demise and dispose of the items in the following manner and form, first all my Lawful Debts and funeral Expences to be payed out of my real Estate, also I give and bequeth unto my dearly beloved wife Thankful, all my houshold furniture to be at her Disposal, Except one bed and furniture and my Negro woman, Hannah During her life and a good hors and sadle Likewis a good Deasent room and Deasent mantainence to be found her out of the part of my Estat I have willed to my son David. Item I give and bequith unto my beloved sons George, Robert and my Daughter, Marget Shields, Eatch of them five shillings Virginia Currancy to them and heirs.
- Item I give and bequith unto my beloved son James one hundred and twenty pounds Virginia Currancy with interest from this Date to him and his heirs for ever to be payd by my son David out of the part I now will to him.
- Item I give and bequith unto my beloved son John one bed and furniture at my beloved wifes Decese to him and his heirs. Item I give and bequith unto my beloved Daughter Jean one negro womman at my wifes death and to her son John Trimble my sadle and bridle to them and their heirs forever.
- Item I give and bequith unto my beloved son David all my lands and tenements and in every part of my Estate not herein separately willd to others to him and his heirs or asignes forever, Item I give and bequith unto my beloved Daughter Thankfull McCarter six shillings Virginia Currancy to her and her heirs forever, and I Likewise constitute make and ordain my son David sole Executor of this my last will and testiment.
- I Do hereby utterly Disalow revoik and Disanul all and every other former Testiments wills Legities bequests and Executors by me in ani wies before naimed willed and bequithed ratifying and confirming this and know other to be my last will and testiment in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and sail the Day and year above mentioned."
- (Signed) John Finley
- Witnesses: David MC NAIR, John THOMAS and John WILSON.
- Attached to the will is the following, "At a court held for Augusta County September 20th 1791, This last Will and Testament of John Finley deceased was presented in Court by David Finley the Executor therein named and proved by the Oaths of David McNair, John Thomas and John Wilson witnesses thereto and is ordered to be recorded. And on the Motion of the said Executor who made Oath according to Law certificate is granted him for obtaining probat thereof in due form, he having given security as the Law directs."
- Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and Virginia's Northern Neck Counties Website
Records in Augusta County, VA
From Chalkley's: [some records may pertain to the other John Finley in Augusta County]
- Page 471.—27th November, 1752. Valuation of improvements on Alexander Brownlee's 400 acres on North Branch Shanado by John Finley, John Hogshead.
- Page 1.48.—19th May, 1756. Joseph Tays appraisement, by John Finley, Wm. Thompson, Saml. Steel, Wm. Finley.
- Page 227.—15th March, 1758. Gilbert Mill's appraisement, by Saml. Steel, Wm. Finley, John Finley, James Gilespy.
- Page 87.—5th September, 1759. Archibald Stewart's will—Wife, Janet; son, Thomas, his Great Bible; daughter, Eleanor, 5 shillings; son, Alexander, tract adjoining Andw. McClure's land; grandson, Archibald Stewart, £10 when aged 10 years; son, Benj. Stewart. Executors, Thos. Stewart, Edward Hall. Teste: Jno. and Andw. Campbell, Jno. Finley. Proved, 17th November, 1761. by Jno. and Andrew Campbell. Executors qualified, with Jno. Campbell, Andrew Campbell.
- Page 350.—18th March, 1760. James Armstrong's appraisement, by John Finley, Sampson Archer, James Hogshead, Andrew Foster.
- Page 412.—21st August, 1760. Robert Gibson's appraisement, by Jno. Finley, Geo. Caldwell, Wm. Caldwell.
- Page 127.—4th September, 1761. Anthony Black's estate appraised by John Finley, James Savers, Daniel ———.
- Page 113.—17th February, 1762. Robert Patrick's appraisement, by John Finley, John Hamilton, John Thompson, recorded.
Biography of John Finley
John and Thankful (Doak) Finley, were among the earliest settlers of the Shenandoah Valley in what is now Augusta County, Virginia, most likely having come from Pennsylvania. Like their early neighbors, they were Scotch-Irish Presbyterian farmers. John was also a cooper. From land records and other documents we can get some feel for his life in this early Virginia settlement.
John and Thankful lived on Middle River, a branch of the Shenandoah. While his property is not shown on the settlement map of Beverley Manor, one can make a pretty good estimate of his location as being just across the manor line near the property of Robert Davis.
We cannot be sure whether John Finley and Thankful Doak were married in Pennsylvania or in Virginia. The Doaks were also early settlers in this region and it is possible that John and Thankful met after both families arrived in the area. Thankful s brothers, Samuel and David Doak, had properties about ten miles due south of John s Middle River property. Her sister, Ann Doak, was married after the Doaks moved to Augusta County.
The first record found for John appeared in Augusta County records of 1 December 1740 when he received a patent for 183 acres on a branch of Cathey s River called Finley s Branch (now Middle River). Since the actual receipt of a patent was the third step in a process that normally took several years, we can assume they were probably in that location by 1737 or 1738.
On 15 October 1741, he received another patent for 300 acres on a draft of Cathey's River. This property was described as being adjacent to land owned by Alexander Breckenridge, whose son, George, married Thankful s sister, Ann Doak, the next year.
John sold his first patent, 183 acres, to Alexander Garden on 27 November 1749. On 17 November 1767, John and Thankful deeded 179 acres of their property to their son, George, for five shillings. George, however, soon moved to Washington County about 170 miles to the southwest and sold his Middle River property to Robert and Margaret Clendenen for 9C16, less than five years after it was given to him. The Clendenens, in turn, sold it back to John and Thankful three years later for five shillings.
On 20 July 1768, John acquired another patent of 238 acres on a branch of the middle River of Shanando adjoin to the land he lives on. This same year he was named as one of the representatives and commissioners of Browns Meeting House and received two acres on Meadow Run, a branch of Middle River, from John and Margaret Brown. North Mountain Meeting House (later Hebron), which was the church nearest the Middle River neighborhood, had originally been Old Side Presbyterian and held only sporadic services until the mid-1740s when the New Side revivalist Presbyterians stepped in. Brown, not pleased with this turn of events, joined with his neighbors to build a meeting house near his home. Brown s Meeting House officially opened its doors 16 February 1748. This, perhaps, explains why John and Thankful s children were baptized at Tinkling Spring, some twelve miles away, until December 1746.
On 16 March 1773, John was bound, along with his neighbors, William McPheeters, Jr. and George Berry, in the settlement of the estate of William McPheeters, Sr. That same year, John and Thankful were both named in an accounting of Samuel Craig, who served as a guardian for John Black, orphan of Anthony Black. John received 9C5 and Thankful received 9C5 6s. for services or goods. Three of the persons with whom John is associated in these documents, John Brown, Hugh Young, and John Trimble, can be found in the extreme northwestern corner of Hildebrand s map of The Beverley Patent. They lived either on, or close to, the Manor line and near Middle River. This gives us a good indication of the location of John and Thankful s property as being just outside the Manor line along Middle River.
John Finley appeared on the tax rolls during the periods 1777-1778 and 1782-1787, the only years for which lists were found. Until 1786 he was listed as the only tithable in his household. His 1786 entry read Jno & David, while the 1787 entry read self & son David.
John wrote his will on 7 August 1791 naming in order; wife, Thankful; children, David, George, Robert, Margaret Shields, James, John, Jean, and Thankful McKarter; and grandson, John Trimble, son of Jean. David received the lion s share of the estate. Thankful received all household furniture except one old bed and furniture, his Negro woman, Hannah, and a saddle and horse, with maintenance out of the estate willed to David. George, Robert, and Margaret Shields received five shillings each. James received 9C120 with interest from this date, to be paid by David out of the estate. John was to receive one bed and furniture upon the death of Thankful. Jean was to receive a mare and Negro woman upon the death of Thankful, while her son, John Trimble, was left a saddle and bridle. Thankful McKarter was left six shillings. David, probably the youngest son, was also named executor.
It is interesting that John chose to divide his estate so unequally and no clues have really been found as to why this was so. Often, when the parents have already provided for their children, the children are left only nominal amounts in the will. This may have been the case here and is just not specified. We do know, however, that George received a portion of John and Thankful's property in 1767. Naming David as executor may have been a practical necessity as it appears all other sons had left the area by 1791.
An appraisal of John s estate was made on 20 December 1791 by David McNair, James Wilson, and John Thomas, the same men who had witnessed his will.
The total of his estate was 9C99 5s. 2p. including one slave, Hannah, valued at 9C12. The largest single entry was a book of accounts of David's totalling 9C1916s. His inventory included a set of cooper's tools.
It is not known how much longer Thankful lived. However, David sold his entire holdings on 1 October 1794 to John Johnston for 9C1,100 and moved on, suggesting, perhaps, that Thankful had died prior to that time.
Known children of John and Thankful (Doak) Finley include the following, in the order named in John s will (except for David who is presumed to be the youngest male):
- 2 i. George2 Finley, christened at Tinkling Spring, 30 January 1743.
- 3 ii. Robert Finley, christened 21 April 1745, at Tinkling Spring.
- 4 iii. Margaret Finley, christened 21 November 1746, at Tinkling Sprin
- 5 iv. James Finley.
- 6 v. John Finley.
- 7 vi. Jean Finley, married Joseph Trimble.
- 8 vii. Thankful Finley, married McKarter.
- 9 viii. David Finley.
Information on John Finley
- John Finley
- Born: (bef. 1703)- Ireland
- Marr: 10 MAR 1723/24 - Chester County, PA
- Died: - Augusta County, VA
- Elizabeth Thankful Doak
- Born: ABT. 1704 - At sea
- Died: AFT. 20 SEP 1791 -
- Other Spouses:
- 1. George Finley N7173
- Born: -
- Died: -
- 2. Robert Finley
- Born: -
- Died: -
- 3. Thankful Finley
- Born: -
- Died: -
- 4. James Finley
- Born: -
- Died: -
- 5. John Finley N7177
- Born: 11 JAN 1740/41 - Augusta County, VA
- Marr: - Ann Miller
- Died: ABT. 1818 - Lincoln County, NC
- 6. Jean Finley
- Born: 16 FEB 1742/43 -
- Died: -
- 7. Margaret Finley
- Born: 21 NOV 1746 - Augusta County, VA
- Marr: - John Shields
- Died: AFT. 1802 - Amherst County, VA
- ↑ Finley, Carmen J. The John Finleys of Augusta County, Virginia. Finley Findings International. (Timothy Kessler, Sept/Oct 1995).
- http://lib-operations.sonoma.edu/. Sanoma State University Library.