Pages 541-542, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JAMES FINLEY was born in Vermillion county, Illinois, January 6, 1842. His father, John Finley, was a native of Dearborn county, Indiana, born May 2, 1814. In 1833 he accompanied his parents to Vermillion county, Illinois locating upon the farm which he owned at the time of his death. He married Miss Frances Ray, also a native of Indiana, and her death occurred September 13, 1869, but Mr. Finley survived until July 31, 1900. He belonged to a family of seventeen children, ten daughters and seven sans. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Vermillion county, was a man of great strength and fortitude, and in all life's relations was honorable and upright, thus winning the high regard of those with whom he was associated. He passed away at the advanced age of eighty-six years and five of his seven sons survive him, namely: Mrs. Emily Cole, a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, James, of Iola, Kansas; Mrs. Agnes Pryor, who is living in Danville, Arthur, also of Danville, and Mrs. Fannie Cole, of the same city.

James Finley was reared upon the home farm in Vermillion county, and assisted his father in the operation of the fields until after the Civil war broke out, when stirred by a spirit of patriotism he responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting in Company A, of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Illinois Infantry, September 7, 1862, for a three-years term. His regiment was immediately sent to the front and he participated in many of the most hotly contested engagements, including the battles of Perryville, Chicamauga, Kenesaw Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Jonesboro, Atlanta, Savannah and Bentonville, together with many others of lesser importance. He also went with Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea, also on the march from Savannah to Richmond and understands fully what constitutes the hardships of war, yet he was always found at his post whether on picket duty or on the firing line, and with an honorable military record he returned to his home.

On the 25th of August, 1867, Mr. Finley was united in marriage to


Miss Maggie Dimond, a native of Canada, who removed with her parents to Michigan when a child and in 1865 came to Vermillion county, Illinois, where she formed the acquaintance of Mr. Finley, who later sought her hand in marriage. Unto them have been born two daughters: Oral, and Sabra, wife of Harry Canatsey of Iola.

In 1881 Mr. Finley and his family came to Kansas and have since been residents of Allen county. He purchased two hundred acres of land in Salem township five miles east of Humboldt, and has since devoted his energies to its further development and improvement. For the past three years, however, he has practically lived retired, having erected a fine residence in Iola, which is now the place of his abode. He holds membership in Vicksburg Post, No. 72, G. A. R., and thus he maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades. He started out in life without capital and had no influential friends to aid him, neither was his environment particularly helpful. He has placed his dependence upon the more substantial qualties of energy and honorable dealing and has thus worked his way upward to the plane of affluence.

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