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George Finlayson

FINLAYSON, MCKAY, DAVIDSON, STEVENSON, LITTLE

Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/11/2011 at 21:42:39

GEORGE FINLAYSON, one of the prominent and enterprising citizens of Grundy County, who carries on agricultural pursuits on section 3, Lincoln Township, was born in Nova Scotia in 1842, and is a son of William and Jessie M. (McKay) Finlayson. The grandparents, George and Christina Finlayson, were both natives of Scotland, and there spent their entire lives. The grandfather was in moderate circumstances, operating a rented farm and carrying on stock dealing. He held membership with the Presbyterian Church. He gave his family, numbering three sons and a daughter, good school privileges, thus fitting them for the duties of life.

The eldest child, William Finlayson, was born August 12, 1812, in the town of Wick, Caithness County, Scotland, and at the age of sixteen years he ran away from home, making is way to Nova Scotia, where he began working in the coal mines. In a short time he began work on the first railroad in that country, which ran from Pickton River to the Albion coal mine, and shortly after became a conductor on the road. His engineer, Mr. Davidson, was once in partnership with the Hon. George Stevenson, of England, the inventor of the locomotive. The engine, tender and caboose of the train on which Mr. Finlayson ran were on exhibition at the World’s Fair in Chicago, and on Train Men’s Day the honored conductor had charge of the John Bull train. He is supposed to be the oldest railroad conductor now living. He was in the employ of the road for about three years.

In 1843 Mr. Finlayson emigrated to Carroll County, Ill., becoming one of its pioneers, and entered land from the Government. Game was very plentiful, and from his cabin door he shot deer. He became a prominent and influential citizen, and was held in the highest regard. For many years he was one of the official members of the Presbyterian Church, took a very active part in church and benevolent work, and was noted for his charity, the poor and needy finding in him a faithful friend. In his political views he was first a Democrat, then became a Whig, and since the organization of the Republican party has been one of its most stalwart supporters. He is yet living in Carroll County on the old farm which he entered from the Government, and his wife also survives, at the age of seventy-eight. To this worthy couple were born the following children: George, Robert M., Daniel W., Calvin G., John A., Mary M. and Jennie C.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who is so widely and favorably known in Grundy County. During his infancy he was taken to Carroll County, and in its district schools acquired his education. At the age of nineteen he left his home for the field of battle, enlisting in the Ninety-second Illinois Mounted Infantry, which was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. He took part in many of the most important engagements, including the battles of Chickamauga, Resaca and Sweet Water. Near Dalton, Ga., he was wounded by a gunshot in the right arm, which necessitated his remaining in the hospital for three months. For a short time during that period he attended a commercial school in Louisville, Ky., and the knowledge there acquired has been of great benefit to him in his business career. As soon as possible he rejoined his regiment in North Carolina, and continued with his command until the close of the war. On the 30th of July, 1865, he received an honorable discharge in Concord, N. C.

Mr. Finlayson at once returned to his home in Illinois, and soon after accepted a position as traveling salesman in Kentucky. In 1868 he removed to Tama County, Iowa, but after a short time took up his residence in Lincoln Township, Grundy County, where he has since made his home. During this time he has engaged exclusively in farming and stock-raising, and has been very successful, accumulating several hundred acres of land and winning a place among the wealthy farmers of the county.

In this county Mr. Finlayson married Anna E., daughter of T. R. H. Little, and their union has been blessed with five children: Lizzie J., Clara L., Hayes B., Edith and Estella. The parents occupy a high position in social circles, their home is the abode of hospitality, and their friends throughout the community are many.

Mr. Finlayson holds membership with the Grand Army of the Republic, and in politics is independent. For three years he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and for one term served as Chairman. For twenty-two successive terms he has been chosen Treasurer of the school district of Lincoln Township, and during that time has probably paid out $50,000. His long continuance in office is accounted for only in one way, and that way is certainly a compliment, his re-elections being due to faithful service. He was a valiant soldier during the late war, and is alike true to his country in days of peace.

Source:
Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa
1894


 

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