|Birth: ||Aug. 8, 1812, Scotland|
|Death: ||Aug. 26, 1896|
William was born to William and Elizabeth Manson Finlayson, the second of at least four siblings, near the village of Wick in Caithness, a precinct in Sutherlandshire, Scotland.
He emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1830 at the age of 18 where he became interested and made contacts in the newborn railroad industry. He worked as Canada's first conductor, beginning 29 Sep 1839, on the Albion Mines Railway, the cars being pulled by the magnificent engine, "Sampson," later displayed at the Chicago World's Fair.
The rail system stretched from the mines at Stellarton to the town of Pictou, where he met and married, in about 1840, the lovely Jessie MacKay, a daughter of the hard-working, prolific MacKay clan, also originally from Sutherlandshire. The couple emigrated to the US in about 1841 and settled in Carroll County, Illinois. They raised seven children amidst that bucolic farming community.
At the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, William was honored as the "First Conductor" by the Order of Trainmen of the City of Chicago. He and the engine Sampson had their day in the White City.
William was "quiet and unobtrusive," but "well liked by everybody," as proclaimed in his obituary, printed in the *Chicago Tribune* and reprinted by many midwest newspapers.
Sources: *Chicago Tribune*, 31 Aug 1896; *Daily Inter Ocean*, 6 Sep 1893; *Sterling Daily Gazette*, 28 Aug 1896, *The Railroad Telegrapher*, 1 Sep 1896, Scotland baptismal records, US Federal Census and other public records.
Jessie MacKay Finlayson (1815 - 1901)*
Daniel William Finlayson (1847 - 1927)*
John Alexander Finlayson (1859 - 1905)*
Maintained by: PerseidsGirl
Originally Created by: Alva Van Houten
Record added: May 24, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 70325061