IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

William Finley

William Finley was a lad of sixteen years when he came from the fair old Emerald Isle to America and began to assist his uncle, the late John Finley, in the work of one of the productive farms of Highland township, Clayton county, and he has not only continued his residence in the township during the intervening years but has also gained secure status as one of the enterprising and substantial farmers and popular citizens of Highland township, where he is the owner of a large and well improved landed estate, a portion of which was formerly the old home of the uncle with whom he made his home during the early period of his residence in America.

Mr. Finley was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, on the 11th day of July, 1874, and is a son of Michael and Maria (Fions) Finley, both of whom passed the closing years of their lives in their native land, Ireland, the father having been a farmer by vocation during virtually his entire active career and both he and his wife having been devout communicants of the Catholic church.

Of their children the eldest is Thomas, who still resides in Ireland; William, of this review, was the next in order of birth; John resides in the State of Montana; Michael is in South Africa; and John and James died in infancy.

To the schools of his native land William Finley is indebted for the educational advantages that fell to his portion in his boyhood, and, as previously noted, he was sixteen years of age when he came to America and became a resident of the county in which he has since gained marked success and an established position as one of the progressive exponents of agricultural and livestock industry in this section of the state.

During the first five years of his residence in this county Mr. Finley worked for his uncle on the latter's farm, in section 23, Highland township, and he then purchased one hundred and forty acres, to which he has since added until he now has a finely improved estate of two hundred and sixty acres, nearly all of which land is available for cultivation, the place being discriminately given over to diversified agriculture and to the breeding and raising of excellent grades of live stock. Mr. Finley is a director of the State Bank of Volga, is a Democrat in his political adherency, is affiliated with the Catholic Order of Foresters, and both he and his wife are communicants of the Catholic church.

On the 14th of July, 1896, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Finley to Miss Emma Roche, who was born and reared in this county and who is a daughter of John and Hannah (Markham) Roche, both natives of Ireland. Mr. Roche was a youth when he came to America, and he resided first in the state of West Virginia. He was eighteen years old when he came to Clayton county, and here he has since maintained his home, he and his wife being well known and much esteemed citizens of Elkader, the county seat. Of their sixteen children nine are deceased, and Mrs. Finley is the fourth in order of birth of those surviving. The eldest is Michael, who is a farmer in Highland township; William is identified with farm enterprise in Boardman township; John is a resident of Omaha, Nebraska; Mary is a member of a Catholic sisterhood and is in a convent at Danbury; Kathrine is the widow of Patrick Orr and resides at Elkader; and Cecelia is in a convent at Mason City.

Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Finley the first two died at birth, and all of the others remain at the parental home, namely: Frances Dechantal, Mary Cecelia, Matthew, Florence Zita, and Edward John.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; pg 121-122
-submitted by S. Ferrall


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