Member Biography

James Finley 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1793-1794         Federalist

COUNTIES: Washington, Fayette  


02/04/1725 - 01/06/1795

Reverend James Finley (Federalist) Fayette and Washington Counties 1793-1794

Early Life

Reverend James Finley, born February 4, 1725, County Armagh, Northern Ireland; son of Michael and Anne Finley; emigrated, parents, America, arriving, ship "Eagle Wing" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Province, British Colonial America, September 28, 1734; studied under, Samuel Blair, Faggs Manor Academy, (predecessor, Princeton University) Londonderry Township, Chester County, now Neshaminy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania; married, Hannah Evans, 1752, children, John Evans, Margaret, Samuel Robert, Ebenezer, Hannah, Joseph, James, William, Michael; licensed, New Castle Presbytery, installed pastor, , On the Rock, East Nottingham, Cecil County, Maryland, 1752; accepted calls, united congregations, Forks of the Youghiogheny River, pastor, several congregations, settlements; pastor, Rehoboth, Roundhill Churches, [then] Westmoreland County, 1783-1795; elected, Federalist, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1793-1794; died, January 6, 1795, (aged 69), Rostraver, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; interment, Rehoboth Cemetery, Rostraver, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.   

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Federalist, Pennsylvania State Senate, Fayette and Washington Counties, 1793-1794. Nominally a Federalist but usually voted with the Democratic-Republicans on issues of concern to Western Pennsylvania.


Executed many secret missions for Benjamin Franklin, Committee of Safety in the west.

Thomas Jefferson’s original draft, United States Declaration of Independence, was made in his home. 

Brother, Samuel Finley, fifth president, College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University, 1761-1766. 

Cousin, Benjamin Rush, signer, Declaration of Independence. Through his brother, Samuel, likely acquainted with another signer, Declaration of Independence, Richard Stockton; Oliver Ellsworth, third Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court, Ebenezer Hazard, Postmaster General.

Stone Tablet Erected, Margaret Finley Brown 2nd Great Granddaughter, 1974.


Here Lies The Body of The Rev. James Finley

A Sincere Christian Who Departed This Life

On January 6th, 1795, Age 69 Years.

46 Of Which He Spent Faithfully

In The Gospel Ministry. 

His Singular Piety And Usefulness

Were Known To The Age In Which He Lived.

Hark From His Tomb A Loud And Solemn Cry,

Sinners Repent And Turn To God Most High,

'Tis Fix'd More Sure You'll Soon Return To Dust,

And Die Forever, Or Repent You Must.

O Hear This Cry, And Every Sin Forsake,

Apply For Grace And Offer'd Mercy Take.

By Him Whose Body Lies Beneath This Stone,

This Truth Was Taught, You Ever Rightly Know.

Where He Is Gone, Ere Long You'll Also Go,

That Is, To Heaven Where Holy Angels Dwell,

In Richer Bliss Than Human Tongue Can Tell.


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

Cox, Harold. Senate1790-1869 ( Wilkes University Election Statistics Project Wilkes University.

A New Nation Votes (

Rev James Finley (1725-1795) - Find a Grave Memorial