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Robert M. Finlayson


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/11/2011 at 22:09:50

ROBERT M. FINLAYSON is the popular cashier of the First National Bank of Grundy Centre and is the efficient County Auditor of Grundy County. A native of Carroll County, Ill., he was born on the 7th of October, 1844, and is a son of William Finlayson, one of the early settlers of Carroll County. The latter, a native of Scotland, on emigrating to the New World, in 1843, went to Illinois, where he located a claim, although the Government survey had not yet been made. In Nova Scotia, in 1839, he married Miss Jennie Mackay. The following year, he was conductor on the first railroad ever built in Nova Scotia, and was honored on Transportation Day (October 13, 1893) at the World’s Fair as being the oldest living conductor in the United States. He is still living, at the advanced age of eighty-three years, and his wife also survives. They made their home in Mt. Carroll, Ill. The father still owns one hundred and sixty acres of the land which he entered from the Government half a century ago.

No event of special importance occurred during the boyhood and youth of Robert M. Finlayson, who was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads. His education was acquired in the district schools near his home and in the schools of Mt. Carroll. In 1867, when a young man of twenty-three years, he left the parental roof to make his own way in the world. Going to Tama County, Iowa, he there spent about a year, after which, in 1868, he came to Grundy County. Here he purchased a farm in Beaver Township, comprising two hundred and forty acres of wild land. He has himself broken twelve hundred acres of land in this county. Indolence and idleness are utterly foreign to his nature, and an industrious life has won him success. He now owns six hundred and eighty acres of valuable land.

December 23, 1875, Mr. Finlayson was united in marriage with Miss Nettie Dubois, daughter of Benjamin Dubois, who came to this county in 1871 from Dubuque County, Iowa, although his home was formerly in Dayton, Ohio. The young couple began their domestic life upon a farm, which continued to be their home until 1885, when they came to Grundy Centre in order that our subject might enter upon his duties as County Auditor. That position he has since filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents and is now in the tenth year of his service. In politics he has always supported the Republican party and is one of its leaders in this community. He is President of the Board of Education, and socially is a Royal Arch Mason. Formerly Mr. Finlayson was a director of the First National Bank, and in September, 1893, was elected cashier. During the twenty-five years of his residence in Grundy County, he has become well and favorably known, has won the high regard of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact, and is well deserving of honorable mention in this volume.

Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa


Robert M. Finlayson surely was one of the most remarkable men this community has known.

He was born October 7, 1844, in Carroll county, Illinois, the son of William and Jessie Mackay Finalyson. His father was a native of Scotland of Nova Scotia, who settled in Illinois in 1843.

Robert Finlayson was reared on his father's farm and educated in the rural schools and in the schools of Mt. Carroll.

In 1867, at the age of 23, he came to Iowa and worked on a farm in Tama county. The following year he bought 220 acres of unbroken prairie in Beaver township, Grundy county, and settled upon it.

Mr. Finlayson was married December 23, 1875, to Miss Janetta DuBois, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. DuBois, who had come to Beaver township from Ohio. The young couple lived on their farm in Beaver township for 10 years, during a part of which time he served on the Grundy county board of supervisors.

In 1885 he became Grundy county auditor and moved to Grundy Center. He served five successive terms as auditor.

In 1893 he was elected cashier of the First National Bank, and soon assumed active management. A few years later, on the retirement of George Wells, he became president of the bank. He continued in that position until he retired in 1920.

He represented Grundy county in the State Legislature during the 33rd and 34th General Assemblies (1910-1914). In addition, he was a member and president of the Grundy Center school board for 20 years, during which time two school buildings were built. While auditor he served on the building committee in charge of construction of the present courthouse. He was a member of the committee which built the First Presbyterian Church. He also was a trustee and treasurer of the public library from 1910 on. During his tenure the Carnegie library building here was constructed.

R. M. Finlayson, who for more than 50 years was among the most active and prominent men in Grundy county, died at the home of his sister in Mt. Carroll, Ill., on Sunday afternoon, February 10, 1935. He was 90 years old. His remains are buried in the Grundy Center cemetery.

The late Mrs. Horace Edna Vasey of this city was one of his seven children.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 7 July 1977


Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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