John L. Finley, a prominent attorney of St. Francis, Kan., formerly county attorney of Cheyenne county, and legislative representative in 1907, 1908 and 1909, was born in Stark county, Illinois, December 6, 1854, son of A. J. and M. J. Finley, natives of Ohio, who came to Illinois in the early '30s, where the father of our subject engaged in farming and stock raising. Both parents are still living and reside in San Diego, Cal.
John Finley was raised and attended common schools in Stark county, later entering Heading College at Abingdon, Ill., taking the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in that institution in 1877. After leaving college he taught school one winter and farmed one summer, when he went to college at Ann Arbor, Mich., taking the degree of Bachelor of Laws in the law department of that school in 1881. He first located at Hastings, Neb., where he practiced his profession until the spring of 1886, and was city attorney of that town for a short time. He then removed to St. Francis, Kan., arriving before the county of Cheyenne was organized. He returned to Hastings to settle up some business matters and while he was absent the organization of the county was effected. Mr. Finley began practice in St. Francis, in 1893 was appointed county attorney to fill an unexpired term, and in 1897 was elected to that office and served four years, his term expiring in 1901. In 1907 Mr. Finley was elected representative from Cheyenne county to the State legislature and served two terms, 1907 and 1909, and in the special session of 1908, in which the primary law was passed. While he was a member of the house the anti-pass bill became a law, and Mr. Finley served on the committee on irrigation, also on the special committee to investigate the safety appliances on railroads, and was chairman of the immigration committee. He was mayor of St. Francis from 1905 to 1909, is a Republican in politics and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
In February, 1886, Mr. Finley was married to Nelly D. Holly at Hastings, Neb. She is the daughter of Joel Holly, a native of New York, in which State Mrs. Finley was born. Mr. Holly was a farmer and his daughter attended the common schools and later the high school. For several terms she taught school in Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Finley have seven children, Floyd, Ethel, Myrtle, Holly, Clifford, Lila and John L. Ethel is a teacher in the rural schools of Cheyenne county, Floyd attended normal college at Salina, Kan., and is now a hardware and implement merchant at McDonald. The other children are at home, and the three youngest are attending school in St. Francis.Page 330 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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