Member Biography

William Findlay 


Portrait and Biography: United States Congress, text-Congressional Biographies

Sessions Office Position District Party
1799-1800       12 Jeffersonian Republican
1800-1801       12 Jeffersonian Republican
1801-1802       12 Jeffersonian Republican

COUNTIES: Westmoreland, Fayette  


1741 - 04/05/1821

William Findley (Democratic-Republican12) Fayette and Westmoreland Counties 1799-1801 (Democratic-Republican12) Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland Counties 1801-1803

Early Life: 

William Findley, born c.1741, Ulster, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; immigrated, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 1763; moving from, Octorara Valley, Waynesboro, Cumberland Valley, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; weaver; private, captain, Cumberland County Associators, Revolutionary War, 1776-1778; member, Council of Censors, 1783; member, Pennsylvania General Assembly, 1784-1787; member, State Supreme Executive Council, 1789-1790; elected, State House of Representatives, 1790-1791; elected, United States Congress, 1791-1799; elected, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1799-1802; elected, Republican, United States Congresses, 1803-1817; married, Margot Russell Findley, 1758 (d. 1765), children, Alexander Findley, William Findley; married, Mary Elizabeth Cochran Findley, 1769 (d. 1797), children, David William Findley, Martha Findley Junkin, Elizabeth Findley Patterson, John Findley, Eleanor Nellie Findley Caruthers, Mary Findley Black; married, Mary C. Ewing Findley, no children; died, April 5, 1821 (aged 80), home, Loyalhanna Creek, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; interment, Unity Cemetery, Unity Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Private, captain, Seventh Company, Eighth Battalion, Cumberland County Associators, Revolutionary War, 1776-1778.


History of the Insurrection in the Four Western Counties of Pennsylvania in the Year M.DCC.XCIV (1794): With a Recital of the Circumstances Specially Connected Therewith, and an Historical Review of the Previous Situation of the Country. Philadelphia: Samuel Smith, 1796.

Observations on the Two Sons of Oil. Pittsburgh: Engles, 1812.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Member, Council of Censors, 1783; purpose of the Council, was to decide whether the radical Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 needed revision. 

Member, Ninth-Twelfth, Pennsylvania General Assemblies, 1784-1787. Pennsylvania convention that ratified the federal Constitution, signer of the Minority Dissent, Philadelphia, December 12, 1787.

Member, State Supreme Executive Council, 1789-1790. Council was the collective directorial executive branch of the Pennsylvanian state government between 1777-1790. As an Anti-Federalist, wrote a new Constitution for Pennsylvania; under the name of "An Officer of the Late Continental Army", 1789.

Elected, State House of Representatives, 1790-1791.

Elected, Democratic-RepublicanPennsylvania State Senate, 12th district, Fayette and Westmoreland Counties, 1799-1801, Democratic-Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 12th district, Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland Counties, 1801-1803; allowed his name to be placed on the local ticket to rally western support for Thomas McKean's campaign for governor.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Biography:

Not currently available. 

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Elected, Anti-Administration, 2nd Congress, at-large district, 1791-1793.

Elected, Anti-Administration, 3rd Congress, 8th District, 1793-1795. 

Elected, Republican, 4th, 5th, Congresses, 11th District, 1795-1799; declined, nomination, Sixth Congress. 

Elected, Republican, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th Congresses, 8th District, 1803-1813; chairman, Committee on Elections (Eighth through Twelfth Congresses). Aaron Burr conspiracy, embargo 1807, War of 1812; strong supporter of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Known as "The Venerable Findley," because he was the senior representative in years of service. First man to be designated, awarded, honorary title, "Father of the House", 1811. 

Elected, Republican, 14th Congress, 11th district, 1813-1817.  


Elected, American Philosophical Society, 1789. 

Tombstone Inscription THE VENERABLE WILLIAM FINDLEY, departed this life April 5, 1821, In the 80th. Year of his age.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members F"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project Wilkes University.

A New Nation Votes (

William Findley (1741-1821) - Find a Grave Memorial

Congressional Biography

After 3 session(s) serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, William Findlay  went on to serve in congress