Calif. Families Finley Finley Family Contact


As told by Emma Finley McBride to Edgerton B. Sprague

The Grandfather of Emma McBride [James Finley b. 1783, Staunton, Augusta Co., VA; d. 1866, Lincoln Co., MO] was born in Virginia near Staunton. He was a slave owner and moved from there to Shelbyville, Kentucky where Andrew Ramsey Finley and his wife, Caroline Gibson, were born. They both moved to Lincoln County, Missouri where grandfather (James Finley) cleared the forest and established a home and built the Mt. Zion church, A brick church and one the first in Missouri. This church was two and one-half miles southwest of Auburn Missouri and about five miles from Briscoe. There home was a mile and a half south Auburn and also about a mile and a half from the school, known as the Reed and Gladney school, southeast of their home. The house was burned in 1930.

Andrew Ramsey Finley was a well to do man, he did not buy, but inherited it from his father. He was not a slave owner and was a northern sympathizer during the Civil War. He was called to the army, but because he had so many children, was not accepted for service, but sent home. He had a farm two hundred acres where he lived, but hired a man with a family to do the faring and on the farm the raised almost everything to satisfy their needs. Andrew Ramsey Finley ran a wool carding machine, a machine with a great wheel pulled round and round by oxen. He did this in the summer, in winter and other times he did land surveying. While surveying hew saw chances to acquire a great deal land cheap, which made him wealthy for that day in that vicinity.

He was very religious and went to the Associatd Reformed Presbyterian church. He and his wife would go to church on horseback, taking the children with them, one in front and one behind each them. When the children got too many for this way, they all drove in a big farm wagon. The children could not whistle or sing other than church hymns on Sunday and had to study the Bible and catechisms.

In politics Andrew Ramsey Finley was a Democrat. His wife was troubled with bronchial infections and had a bad cough.. In 1869 the home farm in Missouri was sold and Andrew Ramsey Finley and his wife, Caroline and seven children went to Starkville, Miss. for her health. They went to this town because there was an Associated Reformed Presbyterian church at the place. In making the trip they drove by wagon to Falmouth, Missouri where Elsbery is now located, and took a boat to St. Louis. That night they got stuck on a sand bar and had to stay there all night. From St. Louis they went by train. When they arrived at Starkville, the people took them in and entertained them. After several days they rented a house and spent the winter, but it was low and damp and Mrs. FInley was no better, so in the spring they went back to Missouri and when they got there the river was in flood and they had to be taken three miles in small boats from the river steamer to high ground so that they could land on high ground.

In about November 1870, for Mrs. Finley's health, they set out for California, going to Salinas, because at that place was located a United Presbyterian church, one of three in California at that time. A Mr. Wilson was the pastor. The trip was over the Union Pacific railroad, which had been opened about a year. It took a week. S. H. Finley said ten days. S. H Finley, one the boys , said that the train went so slow that they could get off and walk for exercise. They had heard about a bad place on the road in the mountains, called Cape Horn, and had worried until they got there about the train being able to make the grade. They went as far as Miles by train, the rest the way by stage.

At Salinas they rented a house and some land. A baby boy was born and died. The oldest sister, Agnes got a Certificate to teach at Salinas, taught there, then taught a year at Loomis, California, then a little later at Antelope, California. She died July 8, 1873 of a disease called Flux following the measles. She is buried in the Sylvan cemetery near Roseville. She was nineteen years, four months and eighteen days old.

Meanwhile the Gladneys had come from Missouri to Salinas. They felt that they were not doing well at Salinas, so they held a family prayer meeting to get guidance as to what was best to do. It was decided that Richard Gladney [1] was to take one hundred dollars for expense money and start out to find a better location and that they were to locate where he ran out the one hundred dollar expense money. He spent the last of his money at Antelope, California and so bought a section land there for six dollars per acre in 1871. That same year Andrew Ramsey FInley moved to Antelope and bought a section land there for eight dollars per acre.

[1] Richard Gladney was married to Martha Jane Finley, Andrew Ramsey's sister.

last updated 29 Nov 2000