Person:Seely Finch (1)

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Selah 'Seely' Finch
b.1767
m. 1 Jun 1756
  1. Jonathan Finch1758 -
  2. Selah 'Seely' Finch1767 - 1827
  1. Ira Finch1787 - 1853
  2. Amasa Finch1799 - 1877
  3. Phillip Finch1804 - 1880
  4. James Finch1807 - 1876
  5. Chauncy Finch1809 - 1826
  1. William Roe Finch1816 - 1902
Facts and Events
Name[1] Selah 'Seely' Finch
Alt Name[2] Seely Finch
Alt Name[3][6] Seeley Finch
Alt Name[4] Celey Finch
Gender Male
Birth[3] 1767
Death[3] January 23, 1827 Tioga, New York, United States
Burial[3] Nichols, Tioga, New York, United States East Nichols Cemetery

The ancestry of Seely Finch, late of Tioga County, New York is not certain. Two options are presented by Claude B. Thummel in his work "Descendants of John Finch of Connecticut" (self published 1965 and on file at the BYU Library). In this work, Selah (Celey-Seeley) Finch is shown on page 74 of his work and numbered 323-33. Claude has loosely linked this Seely to Solomon Finch (Thummel #323-3), son of Abraham (Thummel #323). However, he also places a note on page 58 of his work in the outline of Jonathan Finch (Thummel #311-21), son of John Finch (Thummel #311-2) and Mary Smith where he tells us that it is "probable that he had a son Seeley-Selah-Celey born 1767". Many have ignored this reference since the listing that outlines this family (Thummel #323-33) is linked to Solomon in Thummel's work. I am quite confident that Thummel's information regarding Jonathan Finch came from Mary E. (SAWYER) FINCH. Mary, the wife of Amasa FINCH born 1836 Tioga County, NY son of Phillip FINCH born 1804, and grandson of Selah FINCH. Mary lived well into her one hundred sixth year, passing away in 1947 at Waverly, Tioga County, NY. She or her daughter (also named Mary E. FINCH) spent much time researching the FINCH line. They also were the benefactors of much of the Finch family information passed down from Amasa and his father. However, Mrs. Finch had only one child. And that child, Mary, never married. so correspondence was set up between Mary and a known surviving cousin, Mina (FINCH) HOUSEL. With this correspondence, much information was passed. But no resolution was ever added to the subject of who Selah's father was. Mary seemed quite convinced that Selah was of Westchester County in New York. And the lineage for Selah had always been passed on verbally as 'All Johns, and then a James", which probably isn't completely true.

I have shown a number of options linked with this page. Due to research regarding the ancestry of the WRIGHT family of Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, I have switched Selah's parents once again to show emphasis on one of Claude Thummel's guesses, which is Jonathan and Mary (HUESTED) FINCH. The presence of a Seely family member in Oyster Bay, and the convenience of shipping a nearly orphaned son off to live with cousins in New York State at about the time of the Revolution seems compelling. And I have always wondered if there was any significance in the fact that Selah and his son Chauncey are buried at a cemetery established on land given as a public burying ground by Caleb WRIGHT, suspected to be a brother of Ursula (WRIGHT) DUNHAM (and both suspected to be descendants of that Oyster Bay group of Wrights). Ursula and many of her children are buried at this cemetery. That Selah is also buried there may not be a coincidence.

Another scenario involves: James Finch with his wife Abigail Seeley. It is their son, James Jr, who died at Colchester, Delaware, NY in 1833. Colchester is where Selah was a defendant in the court of common pleas (that court ruling on Nov. 10, 1800). By Claude B. Thummel's work, James Jr is only 16 when Seely/Selah is born, and James Jr's younger brother John is only a few years younger, but they both have children or grandchildren whose names incorporate the name Seeley or Selah (& etc.). James Jr's son born in 1804 at Colchester was named Isaac Seeley Finch. Brother John had a grandson (born 1844 to Franklin) named Selah (or alternately known as Seeley).

It should be noted that there is another Seely Finch who may be buried at Wheatland, New York, whose birth year must be very close to Seely of Tioga's birth year. (the 1810 census shows this 'Seeley' age 21-45 with six children, before he died along with his wife and two of his children in 1813). Some believe this burial only marks the burial of the first wife and some early children of Selah. But the ages of the children for this person do not work out. So there is some doubt. For the Seely of Wheatland, there are two children that I know the names of. One is Ephraim, and the other named Seely. The Seely son of Seely of Wheatland is buried at Caledonia (and I henceforth will refer to him as Seely of Caledonia).

It is this younger Seely of Caledonia who took a wife from Lenawee Co, Michigan. This may be a coincidence, but there was a Finch family who located at Lenawee Co, Michigan. This being the family of Asahel Finch, son of the Daniel Finch who died at Forty-Fort PA during The Wyoming Massacre. A grandson of Asahel is named Amasa Finch. This matches the name of Selah of Tioga's son Amasa who was born 1799 and who is buried at Clarksfield, Huron Co, Ohio. To complicate matters, there are a few other Amasa FINCH. One is the son of Phillip Finch and wife of Mary discussed earlier. And there is yet another Amasa Finch buried at Jefferson, Iowa who is descended from another Finch family who were at Forty-Fort PA during the massacre. This Amasa is a descendant of John Finch, brother of the Daniel who died there. Of course, John died at FortyFort as well.


The work titled "Our county and its people : a memorial history of Tioga County, New York" Leroy W. Kingman, ed. Elmira, N. Y. : W. A. Fergusson and Company, [19--?] tells us that Seely settled 'near the center of town' in 1815 and was able to purchase a large tract of land. It also tells us that the second meeting of the town of Barton was held at his home. But the date of death listed in this work (1834) does not seem to match family verbal history or the information on his grave marker.


The work "History of Waverly, N.Y. & Vicinity" shows Seely Finch attending a meeting at Barton, New York at the home of Gilbert Smith on April 27, 1824. At that meeting he was appointed along with John Hanna, JR as "Overseers of the Poor".

He was in attendance at the home of Joseph Smith in Ulster County, Bradford, Pennsylvania for the organizational meeting of the First Baptist Church of Ulster. He and four others were representatives from the Chemung Baptist Church, Tioga County, NY.

In a private holding is a hand written contract between brothers Phillip Finch and Amasa Finch where Seely signs his name as a witness on June 12, 1826.

The grave marker of Elizabeth Roe Finch at Roe Cemetery, North of Brooktondale in the town of Caroline, Tompkins County, New York, shows Elizabeth's burial and the words, "Wife of Seely Finch".

Seely's grave marker (spelled Seeley on the marker) is at a cemetery known as East Nichols Cemetery, Nichols, Tioga County, New York. It shows his date of death and an age in years only.

References
  1. Seely Finch , in 1790 Census at Frederickstown, Dutchess County, NY.

    where he is listed as 'Selah'.
    It is unknown if this is 'Seely of Tioga' or 'Seely of Wheatland'.
    See also the 1820 Census at Barton, Tioga, NY

    1790 Census of Frederickstown, Dutchess Co, NY
    p82C
    Finch, Selah...............................1-1-1-0-0
    1 Free White Male
    1 Free White Male under 16
    1 Free White Female

    Not far from a Jacob Mead 2-4-4-0-0
    and a John Mead 1-1-1-0-0

    We assume that this is one and the same as Selah of Tioga, though it is hard to determine where the Seely Finch buried at 1813 Wheatland, NY came from.

  2. Contract between brothers Phillip and Amasa Finch.

    The signature of Seely can be clearly viewed on this contract dated June 12, 1826.
    This document is maintained in a private collection within the family of descendants, but a scan of the signature can be seen at the online memorial at FindAGrave
    - see reference #3

  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Grave marker for Seely Finch.

    The name Seeley Finch is clearly written on this marker. A date of death is given, and an age at death (which yields the 1767 birth year). Selah 'Seely' Finch online memorial

  4. Portrait and Biographical Record of Lacawana Co, PA. (not in copyright).

    This work contains a biographical sketch of William Roe Finch where a man named Celey Finch is named as his father. It is available freely online - click link.

  5.   Claude B. Thummel. Descendants of John Finch of Connecticut. (Self Published).

    "Descendants of John Finch of Connecticut, Vol 1" Compiled by Claude B. Thummel, September 1, 1965. On file at BYU Library. Freely available online through the BYU library digital collections. Enter the name Descendants of John Finch of Connecticut into their search engine.

    Below are the two families that Thummel links this family with in his 1965 manuscript.
    * Solomon Finch
    * Jonathan Finch

    Thummel mentions sources as:
    * 1810 Census - Greene County, New York (this editor has not yet found him in the 1810 Census transcriptions)
    * 1816 - resided Ithaca (Brockton), Tompkins County, New York (No source has been found for this information, though William Roe Finch's birth year was in 1816, and second wife Elizabeth Roe's family is known to be of that area)
    * 1820 Census - Candor, Tioga County, New York (FOUND - The record will be added)

  6. Seely Finch, in Judgements: Delaware County (NY) Court of Common Pleas. 1797-1808.

    Seeley Finch of Colchester', NY is listed as a defendant vs James Scott (Plaintiff). On November 10, 1800, Seeley Finch was made to pay 147.18. Could this be the financial matter which Solomon Finch mentions in his will? It is not known if this record is for Seely of Tioga, or Seely of Wheatland.

  7.   ONE of the Following Census is likely this Selah Finch
    1810 Census for Zela Finch at Catskill, Greene Co, NY
    1 Male under 10
    2 males 10<16
    1 male 26<45
    1 female under 10
    1 female 26-45
    -----------------------
    1810 Census at Cairo, Greene Co, NY for Sely Finch
    3 males under 10
    1 male 10-16
    1 male 26-45
    1 female 26-45
    -----------------------
    1810 Census at Westmoreland, Oneida Co, NY for Selah Finch
    2 males under 10
    1 male 26-45
    2 females under 10
    1 female 16-26
    Note: This Selah appears with a Nathaniel Finch in nearby Whitestown, NY Nathaniel and a female both at 45+

    ---------
    NOTE: Certainly the Selah at Westmoreland NY fits the Seely buried at Wheatland, NY better with respect to the individuals in the family at about this time. Zela is The Sely at Cairo, NY seems to match the known individuals of the Selah of Tioga's family in 1810 (less Ira who was probably married by this time).
  8.   1820 Census at Candor, Tioga CO, NY
    Selah Finch
    1,2,1,2,0,1,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0
    indicating

    1 male under 10 (William age age 4)
    2 males 10-16 (Chauncy age 11 and James age 13)
    1 male 16-18 (Phillip age 16 in September)
    2 males 16-26 (Amasa age 20 until December, is married 1823 at Windham, Bradford, PA)
    1 male 45+ (Selah age 53)
    1 female 45+ (Elizabeth ROE age 47)