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Robert Finley
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Birth: May 20, 1830
Fayette County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Feb. 14, 1913
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA

ROBERT FINLEY

ROBERT FINLEY, a pioneer of 1860 and a well-known citizen of Colorado City, was born in Fayette County, Pa., May 29, 1830. He is of Scotch descent, the first of the name in America having emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, and thence to New Jersey. Rev. James Finley, who was born in eastern Pennsylvania, was the first Presbyterian minister west of the Alleghanies, and established churches in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties. His son, Ebenezer, was twelve years of age when the family settled in Fayette County, and there he spent the remaining years of his life. He participated in the Indian wars and had many narrow escapes. Under the soil that he tilled large deposits of coal were afterward found.

Ebenezer Finley, Jr., our subject's father, was born in Fayette County, Pa., in 1804, and owned two farms in his native county, one of which adjoined the old homestead. He died in 1891. His wife, Phoebe, was born in Pennsylvania in 1807 and died there in 1897. She was a daughter of Caleb Woodward, who was born in Chester County, Pa., and removed to Fayette County, where he engaged in farming and also followed the blacksmith's trade. He was a Quaker, and his wife, who was a Miss Carter, was an adherent of the same society. In the family of Ebenezer Finley, Jr., there were twelve children, all but two of whom attained maturity, and three sons and two daughters are still living, Robert being the oldest of the survivors. When a boy he spent two years in Dunlap Creek Academy at Merrittstown, Pa., after which he learned surveying.

In 1851 Mr. Finley went to Colesburg, Delaware County, Iowa, via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and there clerked in a store and taught school for one year. He then engaged on the government survey for a time near Clear Lake, Iowa, and afterward accompanied four surveying expeditions into northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. At the time of the first settlement in Kansas, in 1854, he moved there via the Mississippi to St. Louis, then up the Missouri to Leavenworth. He was employed in subdividing the townships of Johnson County, and was one of the six original proprietors and incorporators of Olathe, that county. Through appointment by the county commissioners he served as county surveyor. When the territory was organized he was elected to the office, but resigned it before the expiration of the term. In 1859 he bought an interest in a sawmill, which he operated until 1860, and then, at the request of his partners, brought it to Colorado, expecting at the time to return to Kansas. However, his plans were changed, and after the war he sold his property in Johnson County.

A party, consisting of William Booth (now in Montana), George Smith (who was later killed in Arizona by Indians), Ambrose Furnoy (of Canon City), Mr. Finley and a man who was taken into the partnership in Kansas, started across the plains with forty-eight head of cattle, eight wagons, a large supply of provisions and a sawmill with machinery. They spent six weeks in coming up the Arkansas, and arrived in Colorado City June 16, 1860. Their sawmill (which was the first steam sawmill brought to El Paso County and the first south of the divide) was set up on Squirrel Creek, and for several years they manufactured lumber, which they hauled to Colorado City and Fountain.

In 1862 Mr. Finley mined in the mountains. The next year he assisted Mr. Sheldon in subdividing the Fountain Valley. Later he surveyed at La Junta, subdividing the land into lots. In 1862 he was elected the first county treasurer of El Paso County and served for one term. Soon afterward he was elected county assessor and served for four terms of one year each. For one year he served as county clerk. He and Mr. Hill had the contract to build the first frame house put up in Colorado Springs, after which he erected one hotel, several business blocks and houses there and in Colorado City. In 1866 he entered a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, ninety acres of which, after it was patented, he deeded to twenty-six members of a company for the government price of $1.25 per acre, in order that the property holders in Colorado City might have a good title to their property. The remainder of the land (seventy acres) he improved, placed under irrigation, and added to it by the purchase of one hundred and eighty-five acres, on which he raised hay. His surveying contracts have taken him throughout the entire country and have been in the interests of both companies and private parties. During the war, in 1864, he enlisted in Company G, Third Colorado Cavalry, and served as commissary sergeant in Company G in the battle of Sand Creek.

By his marriage Mr. Finley was united with Mrs. Alvira (Young) Brown, who was born in Ohio. She was first married to John C. Brown, an attorney in Colorado City and a member of Company G, Third Colorado Infantry; he died here, leaving two children, Edward A. Brown, who cultivates the home place; and Mrs. Mary Barnes, of Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Finley became the parents of a daughter, Grace, who was in the high school graduating class and was a talented young lady; she died in January, 1898, at the age of nineteen years and eight months. In religion she was actively connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which her mother also belongs.

Mr. Finley was made a Mason in El Paso Lodge No. 13, A. F. &A. M., of Colorado City. During the existence of the Grand Army Post here he was identified with it. In politics he is a Republican. The nature of his occupation in early days brought him in contact with Indians, especially in Minnesota and northern Iowa.
_____________________________________________________________

The Real Pioneers of Colorado, 1934, Vol. 2, Page 14

Robert Finley was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, May 29, 1830, of Scotch descent, a son of Ebenezer Jr. and Phoebe (Carter) Finley. When a boy, he spent two years in Dunlap Creek Academy at Merrittstown, Pennsylvania, after which he learned surveying.

In 1851 he went to Iowa and there clerked in a store and taught school for one year. He then engaged on the government survey near Clear Lake, Iowa, and later accompanied four surveying expeditions into northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. In 1854 [he went] to the first settled in Kansas. He was employed in subdividing the townships of Johnson County and was one of the six original proprietors and incorporators of Olathe in that county.

In 1859 he bought an interest in a saw mill, which he operated until 1860, and then at the request of his parents, brought it to Colorado, expecting at the time to return to Kansas. However, his plans were changed and after the war he sold his property in Johnson County.

A party, consisting of William Booth, George Smith (who later was killed by Indians in Arizona), Ambrose Furnoy, a resident of Canon City, Mr. Finley, and a man who was taken into the partnership in Kansas, started across the plains with 48 head of cattle, 8 wagons, a large supply of provisions, and a saw mill with machinery. They spent 6 weeks in coming up the Arkansas and arrived in Colorado City June 16, 1860. Their saw mill, which was the first steam saw mill brought to El Paso County* and the first south of the Divide was set up on Squirrel Creek. For several years they manufactured lumber that they hauled to Colorado City and Fountain.

In 1862 he mined in the mountains. The next year he assisted in subdividing the Fountain Valley. Later he surveyed at La Junta, subdividing the land into lots.

In 1862 he was elected the first county treasurer of El Paso County and served one term. Soon after he was elected county assessor and served four terms. For one year he served as county clerk. He and Mrs. Hill had the contract to build the first frame house put up in Colorado Springs, after which he erected one hotel, several business blocks and houses there and in Colorado City.

In 1866 he entered a farm of 160 acres, 90 acres of which, after it was patented, he deeded to 26 members of a company for the government prices of $1.25 per acre, in order that the property holders in Colorado City might have a good title to their property. The remainder of the land, 70 acres, he improved, placed under irrigation, and added to it by the purchase of 185 acres, on which he raised hay.

His surveying contracts have taken him throughout the entire country and have been in the interest of both companies and private parties. During the war in 1864 he enlisted in Company G., 3rd Colorado Cavalry and served as commissary sergeant in Company G. in the battle of Sand Creek.

By his marriage, Mr. Finley was united with Mrs. Alvira (Young) Brown, who was born in Ohio. She was first married to John C. Brown, an attorney in Colorado City and a member of Company G., 3rd Colorado Infantry. He died at Colorado City leaving two children: Edward A. Brown and Mrs. Mary Barnes of Nebraska.

Mr. and Mrs. Finley became the parents of a daughter, Grace, who died in January 1898 at the age of 19 years and 8 months.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Ebenezer Lowry Finley (1804 - 1891)
  Phebe Woodward Finley (1808 - 1897)
 
 Spouse:
  Alvira Ann Young Finley (1840 - 1931)
 
 Children:
  Grace Finley (1878 - 1898)*
 
 Siblings:
  Caleb Woodward Finley (1827 - 1877)*
  Ebenezer Lowry Finley (1828 - 1849)*
  Robert Finley (1830 - 1913)
  Evans Finley (1832 - 1898)*
  Elijah V Finley (1834 - 1859)*
  James Gibson Finley (1836 - 1911)*
  Davis Finley (1838 - 1838)*
  Phebe Jane Finley Porter (1840 - 1917)*
  Ashabel D Finley (1845 - 1847)*
  John Huston Finley (1847 - 1883)*
  Violet Lowry Finley Chalfant (1849 - 1921)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Evergreen Cemetery
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA
Plot: Block 53 Lot 18
 
Created by: Ron West
Record added: Apr 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68375258
Robert Finley
Added by: Ron West
 
Robert Finley
Added by: Ron West
 
Robert Finley
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Ron West
 
 
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- Kristi Conner-Pardon
 Added: Aug. 29, 2013
 
 
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