Owen Finley

OWEN FINLEY, one of the early settlers of Mineral township, and one of its most respected citizens, was born in Ireland in 1843, and died in Kansas, February 5, 1904.

The late Mr. Finley had been a resident of the United States ever since he reached the age of six years, and of Kansas, for 35 years. His father died in Ireland and the mother, with her five children, came to America and located in Bureau County, Illinois. There the family lived until 1865, when Mr. Finley was married to Kate Murphy, a daughter of Patrick and Mary (McDonald) Murphy, both of whom died in Ireland. Mrs. Finley s brother, William Murphy, had preceded his two sisters, Kate and Mary, to America, and had settled at Arlington, Illinois, where Mary still resides.

In 1869, Owen Finley and William Murphy came to Kansas. They selected farms in Mineral township, Cherokee County, which was then but sparsely settled. Mrs. Finley well recalls the loneliness of living in a box house, removed several miles from neighbors, and the other hardships which met the pioneer settlers. For miles and miles, as far as the eye could see, rolled the prairies, at that time unbroken by highways or by improvements of any kind. It took years of hard work on Mr. Finley's part to get into first-class condition his farm of 160 acres, but he was a man of great industry, and finally accomplished it, and was permitted to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of his hard labors.

Mr. and Mrs. Finley had a family of 11 children born to them, seven of whom grew to maturity, and of these six are living, as follows: Mary, born near La Moille, Illinois, who married Daniel Grant, and has four children,—Catherine, Lizzie, Daniel and John; Ann, born in Mineral township, who married John Toner, and has four children,—John, Joseph, Edwin and Anthony; and Maggie, John, Edward and Kate, all of whom were born in Mineral township, and still reside here. William died aged five years; and Ellen, wife of John Grant, died aged 33 years.

Mrs. Finley still owns the homestead farm, where she and her husband spent so many years of hard work. She conducts the farm and is able to live at ease. Mr. Finley was known for his high character, and was universally respected. He reared a most estimable family, and gave them all the advantages possible in this locality, to fit them for the duties of life. Industry and frugality had been his lifelong characteristics, and these habits he instilled into his children. He was a man of kind heart and generous impulses, and gave in charity where he knew it was deserved.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 6-27-97


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