Person:Robert Finley (24)

Robert Finley
b.6 August 1710 Dublin, Ireland
m. 10 Jan 1705/06
  1. James Finleyest 1708 - BEF 1785
  2. Robert Finley1710 - Bef 1763
  3. William Finley1711/12 - Bef 1789
  4. John Finley1724 - Bef 1782
m. abt. 19 March 1750
  1. Susanna Finleyest 1750-1755 -
Facts and Events
Name Robert Finley
Gender Male
Birth[1] 6 August 1710 Dublin, Ireland
Marriage abt. 19 March 1750 Augusta County, Virginia[Marriage License]
to Martha Henderson
Death[1] Bef. 16 Nov 1763 Washington County, Pennsylvania

Robert Finley was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA


Robert Finley's land (Beverley Manor NM, 155 acres, 1754) 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.

Acquisition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 713.--__ ____, 1750. John Finley. Gent., to Robert Finley, Gent., 297 acres. In Beverley Manor on South River, corner Israel Christian; Charles Dolway's line; corner Wm. Finley; Manor line, near Robert's houses.
  • Page 402.--15th August, 1753. County Court, by Lewis McClenachan to Robert Finley, merchant. By order County Court, 28th November, 1751, lots 4, 3, and 13 in Staunton. Teste: Walter Patterson, John Brown, Samuel Brown. Livery by handful of earth.
  • Page 191.--19th March, 1754. (William) Beverley to Robert Finley, of Town of Staunton, merchant. 155 acres on a chestnut ridge in Beverley Manor. Cor. Wm. Preston's land near Staunton.
  • Page 194.--16th January, 1754. James Brown to Robert Finley, of Town of Staunton, merchant, lease formerly made to Brown by Beverley adjoining the widow Preston's land. Cor. said Brown and James Miller.

Disposition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 186.--1st July, 1755. Robert Finley, of Staunton, to Alexander Wright, of Staunton, by virtue of a lease to him by James Brown, conveys 6 acres of meadow adjoining widow Preston, Alexander Wright, and Ro. Finley's woodland, for 7 years. Teste: Ro. Brown, Patrick ( ) McCluskey.
  • Page 643.--16th May, 1758. Robert ( ) Finley and Martha ( ) to William Finley, £20, 100 acres on South River Shanandore, part of the land on which Robert now lives, and joining south side, John Ramsey's land; corner between William and Robert Finley; corner Charles Dalhoss; corner William's old survey. Delivered: Robert Finley, son of Wm. Finley, 13th April, 1798.
  • Page 181.--16th August, 1759. Robert Finley to Felix Gilbert, merchant. Beverley (William Beverley) in 1749 conveyed to County Court 85 acres. County Court conveyed to Robert, 1753, lots 4, 3, 13, in Staunton, £30, lot 4 and 50 acres; corner Thos. Stewart, Wm. Preston's line. Teste: Audley Hamilton.
  • Page 233.--24th November, 1759. Robt. Finley to Felix Gilbert. County Court conveyed lots 3, 4, and 13 to Robert, 1753, now Robert conveys to Felix, £30, half lot No. 4, parallel with Samuel Wilson's lot to Sampson Mathews; also 50 acres, part of a large tract belonging to Robert in Beverley Manor; corner Thos. Stewart, Wm. Preston's line. Livery, &c., by handful of earth.
  • Page 235.--24th November, 1759. Robert Finley to Thomas Stewart (conveyed to Robert by County Court, 1753), £30, half of lot 3; also 40 acres, part as above, near Felix Gilbert's land. Livery, &c., by handful of earth. Delivered: Thomas, July, 1766.
  • Page 94.--18th November, 1766. [??] Robert ( ) Finley, gent., and Martha to John Ramsey, £65, 88 acres in Beverley Manor on both side South River of Shanando, William Finley's line. Delivered: William Ramsey, 5th October, 1772. [Note: as Robert Finley had died in 1763, this record needs further research].

Administration of Robert Finley's Estate

  • Vol. 1 - NOVEMBER 16, 1763. - (337) James Findley qualified admr. of his deceased brother, Robert Findley.
  • Page 208.--18th August, 1765. James Finley, heir-at-law and administrator of estate of Robert Finley, and Agness ( ) to James Huston, £28, 37 acres woodland in Beverley Manor on the Chesnut Ridge, part of 155 acres of woodland surveyed to Robert, 22d February, 1753, joining Felix Gilbert and William Preston; also 1/4 of an acre lot in Staunton, No. 13, opposite the lots of George Wilson and Samuel Moor. Delivered: Thos. Smith, 25th September, 1772.
  • Page 392.--26th March, 1765. Robt. Finley's estate appraisement (appraised 1764 by Michl. Bowyer, Wm. Crow, Thos. Bowyer), recorded.
  • Vol. 1 - OCTOBER, 1765 (A). - Robert Finley's Estate vs. James Young.--Account, dated October 3, 1759. Petition, 28th August, 1765. Returned: "Dead, did live in Augusta." Robert Patton vs. Richard Williams.--1765. Patton lives in Pennsylvania.
  • Vol. 1 - OCTOBER, 1765 (D). - 1757. Sergeant John Nash to estate of Robert Finley, deceased, debtor.-- September 19, 1758, linen, buttons, thread, linen handkerchiefs, ribbon; April 22, neck cloth, penknife, garters.
  • Vol. 1 - OCTOBER, 1765 (D). - Robert Finley vs. Sergeant John Nash.--1757 account.
  • Page 400.--15th October, 1765. John Finley acknowledges receipt from his father James Finley, one bond of John Frows; one account of Cap. Israel Christian, which John takes as his full part of his uncle Robert Finley's estate. Delivered: James Finley, May, 1766.
  • Vol. 1 - OCTOBER 22, 1765. - (132) Findley vs. Moses Hamilton.--Abates by death of defendant.
  • Vol. 1 - OCTOBER 22, 1765. - (134) Findley vs. Jacob Dodson.--Sheriff returned he did not know the defendant.
  • Vol. 1 - OCTOBER 22, 1765. - (135) James Findley, admr. of Robert Findley, vs. Shannon, admr. of Young. } John Stewart makes affidavit that the acct. is a true copy from plaintiff's books. (And the same in many suits.)
  • Page 173.--20th May, 1766. James Finley, of Staunton, farmer, and Agness to Sampson and George Mathews, merchants and partners in Staunton, mortgage, £110. three half lots of land in County lots, lot No. 3, lot No. 4, lot No. 13; also the residue of tract conveyed to James by Beverley, 19th March, 1754, containing 155 acres, part of which was formerly granted to Felix Gilbert. Thomas Stewart and James Huston; also remainder of a lease for 87 acres in Beverley Manor, and described in a lease from James Brown to the said Robert Finley, 16th January, 1754, for the term of 57 years; all which land was conveyed to Robert Finley, late of Augusta County, deceased, and descended to James Finley as his brother and heir-at-law.
  • Page 485.--21st November, 1766. Settlement recorded of Robert Finley's estate, by James Finley--Paid Saml. Rippy, expenses travelling from Carlile, expenses traveling from Staunton to New London, from New London to Halifax; paid Jas. Bratton; paid Mr. Ravelet, Mr. Finney (Finley), Nathanl. Gilliland; paid Jno. Ramsey, Calfpasture; James Branan. Contra--1764, by Cash received of Wm. Carroll, Middle River; by cash received of Wm. McFeeters, Sr.
  • Vol. 1 - MAY, 1767 (B). - Findley vs. Lewis.--Col. John Lewis to Robert Findlay, debtor. 1752, December 13, sundries to ye Dutchman, to yourself, per Mrs. Peggey, per self, to Mr. John, to ye boy, per Mrs. Peggey, at Mr. Cunningham's, at Mr. Williams's, at Mr. Brown's, at Mr. Cunningham's, your assumtion for John Stoffelmier, your assumtion for George Baer, one satikis, cash lent at Mr. Long's. Contra: By 1800 of said (8d) nails.

Processioning List of 1755

"Processioning" was the periodic review and agreement of property lines between settler's lands. Processioning Lists are useful in determining the general area of a settlers lands and their neighbors at specific time periods:
  • Vol. 2 - Page 152.-[1755]-Jno. Finley, Wm. Thompson processioned in Cap. Thompson's Company as follows, viz: For Samuel McCune, for Wm. Logan, for Wm. Johnston, for Widow Thompson, for Thos. Thompson; Widow Frazer, present Robert Modey; for Rob. Moody; for Andw. McClure, present Jno. Hutchison; for Jno. Hutchison; for Hugh McClure, for Richard Pilson, for Zechoriah Smith, for Widow Sayre, for Andw. McClure, for John Campbell, for John Black, for Archd. Stewart, for Rob. Finley, for Alex. Henderson, for Wm. Patterson, for Jno. McClure, for George Caldwell, for John Thompson, for Wm. Palmer, for James Gillespey, for James Hamilton, for Saml. Steele, for James McClure, for Widow Campbell, for Robert Patrick, for John Ramsey, for Wm. Finley, for John Finley, for David Henderson, for Isaac White, for Adam Morow, for Alex. Thompson, for Wm. Thompson, for Wm. Caldwell.

Records of Robert Finley in Augusta County, VA

From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:

  • Vol. 1 - JUNE 17, 1747. - (217) Thos. Waterson appd. Constable, vice David Stevenson; Wm. Carr appd. Constable, vice James Gillespy; Andrew Fought, appd. Constable, vice Rob. Finley; John Spear, James Beard, Archd. Hamilton, Andrew Scot, qualified Constables.
  • Page 709.--__ _____, 1750. John Finley, Gent., to William Finley, Gent., 298 acres on So. River in Beverley Manor; corner Robert Finley (hishouse), Charles Dolway's line, Mary, wife of John. Teste: Wm. Henderson, Robert Patrick, John Black. (Note: John and William Finley who live adjoining Robert Finley appear to be probable siblings).
  • Vol. 2 - MARRIAGES LICENSES IN AUGUSTA COUNTY. - 1750--March 19, Robert Finia. [Note: Bride's name not listed in record].
  • Vol. 2 - FEE BOOKS OF AUGUSTA COURT. 1754---Page 3, Robert Jackson, Merchant, (March, 1754); page 15, Wm. Miller, Frederick, (March, 1754), Record Dunbarr's deeds; page 19, John Buchanan, Miller, (March, May); Walter Cunningham, Hampshire; page 20, Elizabeth Howard, Frederick; page 23, Robert Finla, King of Pedlers, (March), Recording Beverley's deeds, Recording Brown's deeds, vs. Ramsey; page 30, John Norton, York, (March, May, August, November); page 36, John Ramsey, Pheasant Head, see page 69; page 39, John Lewis, Gloucester, (March), vs. Pickens; Thomas Foster, Pennsylvania, (March), vs. Strother; page 40, Archibald Bourland, for your wife Jane; page 41, Andrew Caldwell, Frederick; Joseph Fitzpatrick, Albermarle; page 48, Hugh Hicks, Fairfax, (March), vs. Strother; The Hon Geo. Crohan (Ceohan), Esquire, Logs Town, (March), vs. Strother; page 59, Robert Young, griner; page 61, Samuel Hairstone, Albemarle; page 63, Benjamin Scott, Hampshire; page 66, Joseph James, Culpeper; page 99, John Thompson, Hanover; page 102, John Smith, Weaver; page 125, Doctor Thomas Hunt; page 126, Wm. Thompson, North River.
  • Vol. 2 - DELINQUENTS. 1755--List of Robert Breckinridge, Sheriff: Robt. Finley, twice charged.
  • Vol. 1 - MAY 16, 1759. - (258) Robert Finla appointed Constable, vice James Hughes.
  • Vol. 1 - MAY, 1762 (A). Finley vs. Christian.--Debtor, Mr. Israel Christian, in account with Robert Finley. 1757, September, to your assumption for sundry orders drawn on you by the Militia at Fort Dinwiddie amounting to £19, 14, 5-1/2; to your assumption for Thomas Herbert, £1, 10, 0; to same, for Capt. Walker, £0, 13, 6; to the pay of B_____ Scott and McFeeters as soldiers in the Militia assigned to me and received by you, 19 days each; to my pay as a soldier under Col. Stewart, received by you, 7 days; to balance in my favor on the return of goods, cash and book debts, £0, 15, 8-1/2; to cash paid for cattle bought for your use, £33, 8, 3; to cash paid expenses in driving them. £0, 18, 3; to cash paid Michael Kelly wages, for driving said cattle 20 days, £1, 15, 0; to the hire of my horse while purchasing provisions on your account, 101 days; to my wages for one year in your service, per agreement, £25, 0, 0; to my commission on the sale of your goods, amounting to £8, 1, 3, at 2/ per lb., £0, 16, 1. (Signed) Robert Finley. Dated 18th December, 1760.
  • Page 702.--May, 1764. Alexander Wright, merchant of Fredericksburg, to Daniel Kidd. Whereas James Brown on 9th October, 1754, leased 173 acres, part of 1550 acres known by the name of the Mill tract on which the Court House now stands, for 57 years 6 months to said Alexander Wright, for £20. This lease witnesseth. £20 paid by said Thomas Fulton, and 40 shillings yearly rent. Alexander leases to said Daniel 173 acres; James Millers' line; Beverley's line; corner Robt. Finley's land, crossing the Creek; 47 years term; reenter if said Thomas Fulton fails to pay. Teste: James Hargrove, Is. Christian, Thos. Fulton. Delivered: Daniel Kidd, April, 1769.
  • Page 117.--24th November, 1767. James Findley, brother and heir of Robert Findley, deceased, late of Staunton, to S. and G. Mathews. On 28th February, 1750, Beverley leased to James Brown, of Staunton, 260 acres, part of 1,550 acres known as the Mill tract and where the Court now stands for term of 61 years at a rental of £3. James leased to Robert, 87 acres, part of 200. This indenture, £30, and yearly rent of £1, 87 acres, part of 260 above. Term of 44 years and 4 months.
  • Page 350 - - 2nd September, 1770. William Henderson's will, aged about 71 years - - To wife; two sons, William and David Henderson; to son, James; to three sons-in-law, David and Joseph Bell and John Leeper; to Shusanna Henderson, daughter to son John Henderson; to Shusanna Finley, daughter to daughter Martha; to granddaughter, Jeen Teas. Executors, wife and brother, Samuel Henderson, and testator's son, James Henderson. Teate: Walter Davis, John Carlile. Proved, 20th November, 1770. by the witnesses. James Henderson qualifies executor, with Samuel Henderson, John Carlile. (Note: William Henderson was the father-in-law of Robert Finley).

Carmen Finley's article on Robert and James Finley


By Carmen J. Finley, Ph.D., C.G.

[Published in The American Genealogist, Vol. 66, No. 4, October 1991, pp. 239-246]

During the period from the late 1730s through the early 1800s there were numerous Finleys in Augusta Co., Va., many bearing the same given names. For at least three generations the given names of John, James, Robert, George and William appeared with such frequency it is difficult to determine the exact relationships. Some Finleys with identical names seem hopelessly intertwined; others, through careful study and by tracing documents that chain their various locations together, can be identified properly. By accounting for those that can be identified, the overall problem of assigning the various Finleys to the correct family units can be reduced to more manageable units.

A previous paper demonstrated this principle by distinguishing between two George Finleys, both sons of a different John Finley (Carmen J. Finley, "The George Finleys of Augusta County, Va.," TAG 64 [1989]:216-225). The purpose of the present paper is to similarly define the lives of a Robert and a James Finley, brothers. Robert lived in Augusta Co. from the early 1750s until his death in the early 1760s. His brother, James, appeared in Augusta Co. to settle Robert's estate and moved on to Bedford Co., Va., about 1768. By accounting for them, it is possible to reduce the number of remaining records in Augusta Co. belonging to other Roberts and James Finleys.


The first record found for Robert Finley, merchant, was dated 15 August 1753, when he purchased three half acre lots in Staunton from Andrew Lewis and Robert McClenehan (Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta Co. . . . [Roslyn, Va., 1912], hereafter Chalkley, 3:316). For the next six years, he rented, leased, bought and sold property in and around Staunton (Chalkley, 3:323, 3:324, 3:338, 3:357, 3:359). He was variously referred to as "merchant," "of Staunton," and "King of Peddlers," in the Fee Books of 1754 (Chalkley, 2:398). His property was located in north central Beverley Manor very close to the border line and adjacent to properties of Felix Gilbert and William Preston, who are mentioned in his property descriptions (J.R. Hildebrand, "The Beverley Patent. 1736; including original grantees, 1738-1815 in Orange & Augusta Counties, Va.," map inserted in Howard M. Wilson, The Tinkling Spring. . .[Verona, Va., 1974]).

This Robert Finley died sometime prior to 16 Nov. 1763, for on that date, his brother, James, was appointed administrator of his estate (Chalkley, 1:110). Subsequent records involving the settlement of Robert's estate give a prior location and additional information about his brother, James. This information may eventually contribute to the task of unraveling other Finley relationships in Augusta Co.


A key document in determining from whence the brothers Robert and James came was found in the settlement of Robert's estate in November 1766. Expenses had been allowed for traveling from Carlile (Carlisle, Cumberland Co., Pa.) in the amount of 2, 9d. (Chalkley, 3:96). Cumberland Co., Pa., records showed that on 28 April 1764, James Finley of Carlisle, administrator for Robert Finley, deceased, had sold to Samuel Rippey of Shippensburg, Cumberland Co., 500 acres in Guilford Twp., late the property of Robert Finley (Cumberland Co., LR 2A:227). Tax lists available for the years 1753, 1762, 1763 showed a James Finley living in Guilford Twp. (Merri Lou Schaumann, Cumberland County Tax Lists [Carlisle, Pa., 1974] pp. 18, 29, 39). He disappeared from Guilford tax lists after 1763 and in 1765 through 1767 James handles the appraisement and sale of Robert's estate in Augusta Co. (Chalkley, 3:89, 3:431, 3:437, 3:448, 3:454, 1:333, 1:348). One of the documents executed in the Spring of 1766 identified James and Agnes, his wife, as "of Staunton" at that time (Chalkley, 3:448). In another key document, executed in October 1765, John Finley acknowledged receipt of money from his father, James Finley, an inheritance of 24 from the estate of his "onckall," Robert Finley (Chalkley, 3:437).


Robert and James Finley, brothers from Cumberland Co., Pa., lived for a brief period of time in Augusta Co., Va. (early 1750s to late 1760s). Robert died in Augusta Co. prior to 16 Nov. 1763 and his brother, James and his wife, Agnes, moved from Cumberland Co., Pa. to Augusta Co. to settle Robert's estate. James and Agnes moved on to Bedford Co. about 1768. Their children included at least John Armour (eldest), and Elizabeth, and most likely David, Robert and Samuel. James died prior to 22 Aug. 1785. There is some indication that the family may have moved on to Ohio Co., (now West), Va. but more research needs to be done in that area to be confident of this move. James and Agnes of Bedford, John and Mary of Montgomery (now Wythe Co.) and John and Thankful of Augusta each had a son, David. Additionally, James and Agnes and John and Mary also had sons, Samuel. The primary purpose of this paper has been to help sort out the many Finleys who lived in Augusta Co. during the second half of the 18th century. Robert of Staunton and his brother, James, have now been accounted for.

Submitted by Carmen Finley <finleyc@SONOMA.EDU>

  1. 1.0 1.1 Public Member Trees: (Note: not considered a reliable source).