m. 10 Mar 1723/24
Facts and Events
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
Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA
Acquisition of Land in Augusta County, VA
Biography of John Finley
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):
Will of John Finley in Augusta County, VA
Records of John Finley in Augusta County, VA
Information on John Finley