NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
Jeremiah Finch, born in 1743, in England, settled in Saratoga county, N.Y., where he died in 1798. He married Abigail ____, who died in Oct., 1834.
Joseph, Calvin, Daniel, Silas, Amos, Samuel, Jeremiah (mentioned below), Lydia (married Aminas Philip), Abigail (married Solomon Newcomb).
(II) Jeremiah (2), son of Jeremiah (1) Finch, was born Feb. 6, 1770, and died April 2, 1853, in Kingsbury, Washington county, N.Y. He was engaged extensively in the lumber business in northern New York, owning large tracts of timber lands and manufacturing lumber in saw mills at various points. He also conducted a farm and was extremely successful for his day and his opportunities. He lived for many years at Kingsbury, N.Y.
In politics he was an old-time Whig, and while he never sought office or accepted public honors of any kind he was active and influential in town and county and alive with public spirit.
He married, May 22, 1824, Mrs. Elizabeth (Thompson) Seeley, born Jan. 3, 1784, died Nov. 20, 1866, widow of Captain Seeley.
1. Phoebe Ann, born March 10, 1825; married May 23, 1849, Alfred Freeman Hitchcock, born at Kingsbury, Feb. 16, 1818, died at Monroe, N.Y. Dec. 5, 1872. (See Hitchcock).
2. Jeremiah W., born March 28, 1827; mentioned below.
3. John J., born April 17, 1829; died Feb. 27, 1898.
4. Daniel J., born Jan. 20, 1834; mentioned below.
(III) Jeremiah W., son of Jeremiah (2) Finch, was born in Kingsbury, March 28, 1827, and died at Glens Falls, Dec. 16, 1904. He attended the public schools and worked for his father during his boyhood. When he came of age he left home and entered the employ of Dewey & Cronkhite, as clerk in their general store at Sandy Hill, N.Y. About three years later he began the manufacture of lumber in partnership with Orson Richards, and in 1854 he and his brother, Daniel J. Finch, organized the firm of J. W. & D. J. Finch, and for several years carried on an extensive and successful business in lumbering in the Adirondacks. Samuel Pruyn was admitted to the firm and the name then became Finch, Pruyn & Company. This firm has been highly prosperous. Vast tracts of timber land were bought as well as lime property and this concern has grown in importance year by year. In many respects the firm has been one of the most potent factors in the growth, development and prosperity of Glens Falls.
Politically Mr. Finch was a Democrat of the old school, and a personal friend of President Cleveland, whom he greatly respected and admired. He was an advocate and supporter of the gold standard for the national currency, and was the outspoken enemy at all times of visionary financial theories, under whatever party name exploited. His influence in the councils of his party was always important, but he never sought public office or enoluments.
During his residence in Glens Falls he regularly attended the Church of the Messiah, and for many years was one of the wardens and continued a generous supporter of this parish to the time of his death. His attachment in early youth to the Kinsbury Baptist church and regard for the memory of his father, who was one of the founders, gave him a lifelong interest in that church, as evinced by liberal contributions every year.
He was a director and president of the Glens Falls National Bank, and the following is the minute adopted by his associates at the time of his death:
At a meeting of the directors of the Glens Falls Bank, held Dec. 24, 1904, the following expression of regret for the memory of the Hon. Jeremiah W. Finch, late president of the board, was unanimously adopted.
The Hon. Jeremiah W. Finch, the esteemed president of this board, died at his home in New York City on the morning of Friday, Dec. 16, 1904. Thus, for the second time in the fifty-three years which have passed since this bank was organized, the directors are called to mourn the loss of their chief officer. Mr. Finch's connection with this institution began in 1864. He was elected its vice-president in 1867, and on the death of the lamented Colonel Burbank in 1875 succeeded him in the presidency. On account of the urgent requirements of his business Mr. Finch was for almost twenty years compelled to spare the larger part of his time in New York City, and so seemed unable, except at intervals, to personaly preside at the meetings of this board, and for the last two years, by added reason of ill health, we have been deprived of his presence altogether. Through all this period, however, Mr. Finch's interest in everything concerning the case and welfare of the bank has been unabated and active; and we can but keenly lament that his wife counsel is to be ours no more. Much of the success of this institution under the administration of President Finch has no doubt been due to his quick perception of character, his readly grasp of opportunities, his far-sightedness and his clear and positive judgment. He possessed that broad conservation of mind and habit that is always in accord with liberality and progress. In dignity of person and manner he was well fitted for the office he so long honored. Genial and generous in spirit, he won and held the warm regard of his associates, and we bid him adieu with unfeigned sorrow. To his bereaved family, we extend our deep sympathy and direct that this experssion of our respect for his memory be conveyed to them in a suitable manner.
He married (first) Oct. 26, 1854, Helen Barker, who died Jan. 15, 1882, aged fifty-two years. He married (second) Augusta E. Church McGunnery.
Children of first wife:
1. George R., born Jan. 1, 1856; mentioned below.
2. Jeremiah T., born Jan. 21, 1859; married Sept. 14, 1881, Gertrude Krum.
3. Helen, born Feb. 16, 1864; married Oct. 25, 1894, Thomas H. Foulds of Cincinnati, Ohio. (See Foulds).
4. Herbert Barker, born March 26, 1871; died Oct. 17, 1887.
5. Willard S., born July 21, 1873; died Oct. 27, 1873.
(IV) George R. Finch, son of Jeremiah W. Finch, was born in Sandy Hill, N.Y., Jan. 1, 1856, and died Jan. 12, 1906. When he was eight years old the family removed to Glens Falls, where he has lived ever since. He attended the public schools there and afterwards the military academy at Poughkeepsie. He inherited a distinct liking and capacity for business. He became associated with his father in the firmn of Finch & Pruyn in the sales department, and in this branch of the work has been signally successful. When the present corporation of Finch, Pruyn & Company was formed to take over the business of the partnership, he became president and held the office as long as he lived. At the time of incorporation the large paper mill at Glens Falls was erected. He became interested in other industries from time to time. He was treasurer of the Raquette Falls Lumber Company, which owns extensive timber property in the Adirondacks. He was a large stockholder in the Imperial Wall Paper Company and the leading spirit in its reorganization in 1907, when he became president. He was a director of the Liberty Wall Paper Company of Schuylersville, recently consolidated with the Standard Wall Paper Company of Sandy Hill. He was also a director of the Schroon River Pulp and Paper Company, which operates a mill at Warrensburgh, N.Y. He represented the Finch interests in the Indian River Company, and was vice-president of the Glens Falls National Bank.
Mr. Finch was a very earnest and influential Democrat, devoting much of time and money to the support of Democratic principles and candidates. He served the town for one term in the baord of supervisors of the county. He was the Democratic nominee for state senator in this district, and though his party was in the minority, he carried Warren and Clinton counties, though defeated by the majority given his opponent in Essex county. In 1901 he was appointed by Governor Odell a member of the State Water Storage Commission, which investigated conditions throughout the state as to floods and freshets and reported its findings to the legislature. From this report the present law on the subject resulted. To this important work he gave much time and thought. The northern part of the state he knew by heart, and realizing the great benefits which would come from the building of storage dams he devoted himself assiduously to the work. He was nominated for state treasurer by the Democratic state conventon in 1902, and at the election following ran ahead of all his associates on the ticket and was defeated by only a small margin. In 1904 he was chosen a member of the Deomocratic state committee and was indefatigable in work for the party. In this, as in all his business undertakings, he devoted himself with enthusiasm to the work at hand.
He accumulated wealth rapidly and used it wisely and generously. He maintained and cultivated his personal friendships, and was a most interesting companion and conversationalist. He was always easy to approach, kindly in manner, and universally esteemed in the community in which he lived for his integrity, business ability and public spirit.
He married Harriet E. (Smith) Moore.
(III) Daniel J., son of Jeremiah Finch, was born Jan. 20, 1834. He was educated in the public schools. For many years he was in partnership with his brother, Jeremiah, in the lumber industry, founded by their father. After a long and uniformly successful business career he retired in 1904.
Since 1873 he has resided at Glens Falls. He married (first) Delia M. Lewis, of Sandy Hill, N.Y.
Child of first wife:
Children of second wife:
Charles M., died unmarried.
Daniel J. Jr., died unmarried.
Isabelle, married Daniel Cowles; child, Daniel F. Cowles.
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