Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM FINNEY, a progressive
and influential citizen of Davenport, Lincoln county, is engaged in the
general merchandise business. He was born in Morgan county, Ohio,
June 12, 1833, the son of James and Rebeckah (Briggs) Finney, natives of
Pennsylvania. They removed to Ohio in 1802, where they passed the
remainder of their lives, the father dying at the age of ninety-three,
the mother at eighty-eight. They were the parents of twelve children,
five of whom are still living, Andrew, Joseph, Nancy, Susan, and William.
The latter, the subject of this sketch, received
his earlier education in the public schools of Morgan county, Ohio, and
later in Washington Academy, Guernsey county, where he stood high in his
classes and was graduated with honors. At the age of twenty-one he
commenced the world for himself, engaged in farming and other employments.
In 1868 he removed to Illinois where he was interested in the sawmill and
lumber business which he followed successfully for fifteen years.
He then began the manufacture of brick and tiling, and for four years was,
also, interested in a general mercantile store. During the greater
portion of the year 1887 he traveled in California, and in 1888 came to
Washington, locating at Davenport. He purchased the "Pioneer Store,"
in which he conducted business until 1898, when he was burned out, his
loss by this disastrous conflagration being thirty thousand dollars.
He rebuilt, erecting a pressed brick front structure twenty-seven by eighty-eight
feet in dimensions, and also a handsome dwelling. He owns ten town
lots in Davenport, and his residence is supplied by a private water system
installed at his own expense.
Mr. Finney was married in 1858 to Melissa
Hayes, a distant relative of President Rutherford B. Hayes, and, daughter
of Joseph and Margaret (Logue) Hayes, natives of Vermont. They located
in Ohio, where they died. Four children have been born to Mr. and
Mrs. Finney: Emmert, in Spokane; Addie, wife of C. M. Waters, of Pullman,
Washington; William H., with his father, and Othie, living with his parents.
In earlier days Mr. Finney's political affiliations were with the Republican
party, but he is at present a liberal. At the time of the incorporation
of the city of Davenport he became the first treasurer, was mayor four
years, and served two or three terms in the city council. He is a
member of the Masonic Lodge, Royal Arch Chapter and Select Council.
He joined the I. O. O. F. when twenty-one years of age. Mrs. Finney
is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.