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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Samuel Finley

FINLEY, Samuel, educator, born in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1715; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 July 1766. His parents, who were of Scottish extraction, gave him a good education in his native country, and in 1834 he came to Philadelphia and studied for the ministry, which he had from childhood determined to enter. He was licensed to preach on 5 August 1740, ordained by the New Brunswick presbytery, 13 October 1742, and in 1743 was sent to Milford, Connecticut, "with allowance that he also preach for other places thereabout when Providence may open a door for him." Taking advantage of this permission, he accepted an invitation to preach to the "second society" in New Haven; but, as this society was not recognized by the authorities, he was arrested, under a law forbidding itinerants to preach in any parish without the regular pastor's consent, indicted by the grand jury, tried, and sentented to be carried out of the colony as a vagrant.

In June 1744, Mr. Finley settled as pastor of a Church at Nottingham, Maryland, where he remained seventeen years conducting an academy, which acquired great reputation, and at which he prepared many young men for the ministry. In July 1761, he was chosen to the presidency of Princeton, to succeed Samuel Davies, and the College prospered under his care. In 1763 the University of Glasgow gave him the degree of D.D., the first instance in which this honor was conferred on an American Presbyterian clergyman. Dr. Finley corresponded largely with eminent men in this country and Europe, and, though he published nothing but sermons, was esteemed an able writer. His discourse "On the Death of President Davies" (1761) was afterward prefixed to an edition of the latter's works.

His nephew, Samuel Finley, soldier, born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 15 April 1752; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 April 1829, was educated by his uncle, President Finley, and settled in Martinsburg, Virginia. He served with distinction in the Virginia cavalry during the Revolution, and rose to the rank of major. The last three years of the war he spent as a prisoner on Long Island. General Washington, whose personal friend he was, appointed him receiver of public moneys in the northwest, and he went, about 1796, to what is now Chillicothe, Ohio, where he had been given large tracts of government land for his services in the Revolution. During the war of 1812'15 he served as a general of militia, raising and commanding a troop of light horse against the border Indians, who were considered allies of the British.

His brother, John Finley, also a major in the Continental army, afterward became an Indian trader, and in 1767, two years before Daniel Boone went to Kentucky, made a tour through that region, and brought back such glowing accounts that Boone was induced to settle there. He was one of the earliest settlers in the " Blue Licks" of Kentucky.

Clement Alexander Finley, son of the younger Samuel, surgeon, born in Newville, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, 11 May 1797 ; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 8 September 1879, was educated at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, and received his medical degree front the University of Pennsylvania in 1818. He entered the army on 10 August of that year as surgeon's mate of the 1st infantry, became assistant surgeon, 1 June 1821, and surgeon, with the rank of major, 13 July 1832. He was medical director in the field, with General Jesup, General Scott, and General Taylor, in the Black Hawk, Seminole, and Mexican wars, and spent nearly eight years on the frontier of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida. Dr, Finley was with the commands that established Fort Leavenworth, Fort Gibson, and Jefferson Barracks, and in 1834 accompanied General Henry Dodge on one of the earliest expeditions to the Rocky Mountains. He was made surgeon general of the army, 15 May 1861, and on 14 April 1862, was retired from active service on his own application. He was brevetted brigadier general on 13 March 1865, "for long and faithful service," and in 1876 was granted the retired pay of a full brigadier general.

Clement Alexander's niece, Martha Finley, author, born in Chillicothe, Ohio, 26 April 1828, went with her father, Dr. James B. Finley, to Circleville, Ohio, about 1829, and in 1836 to South Bend, Indiana, where she was educated. After his death in May 1851, she taught for several years, writing for the press in the evenings and holidays. Her first effort was a short newspaper story published in New York in 1854. Miss Finley left Indiana in 1853, and lived in Philadelphia most of the time till 1876, when she removed to Elkton, Maryland Under the pen name of "Martha Jarquharson" (the Gaelic translation of her surname), she has written "Elsie Dinsmore" (New York, 1868), with several sequels, the last of which is "Elsie's Kith and Kin" (1886); "Casella ; or, The Children of the Valleys" (Philadelphia, 1869);" An Old-Fashioned Boy" (Philadelphia, 1871), with its sequel, "Our Fred" (New York, 1874); "Wanted, a Pedigree" (Philadelphia, 1872); "The Mildred Series " (6 vols.. New York, 1878'86); "The Thorn in the Nest," a novel (New York, 1886); and about sixty volumes of Sunday School books, including the "Do Good Library;" (9 vols., Philadelphia, 1868) and the "Pewit's Nest Series" (12 vols., 1876).

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