Posted By:Sam Waters
Subject:John Finney (1749-1826) and Elizabeth Ward (1753-1838)
Post Date:January 21, 2012 at 14:23:09
Message URL:
Forum:Franklin County, VA Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:

The commonly posted family tree for John Finney/Elizabeth Ward of Virginia is a lineage from New England Finneys. A typical shows John Finney’s parents as Joshua Finney and Elizabeth Pope of Massachusetts. The Joshua Finney/Elizabeth Pope lineage for John Finney assumes that the New England line at some point moved to Virginia. There does not seem to be any evidence that supports this relationship, and it may be based simply on the similarity of names in the line (John/Joshua, etc.). It is certainly curious that the listed parents of John Finney, Joshua Finney and Elizabeth Pope, are presented as being born in Massachusetts, dying in Massachusetts/New York, yet John is born in Virginia, as were all his siblings. It seems unlikely that Joshua and Elizabeth would travel to Virginia to have children, then subsequently return to Massachusetts.
A more likely possibility is that the Finneys of Virginia, from which John descends, arrived and remained in Virginia, migrating later to Kentucky.
If we accept the data for John Finney (1749- 1826) from Amelia Co., Virginia as correct and his descendants, the question arises as to who might have been his parents, if not Joshua Finney and Elizabeth Pope.
The first clue as to the true lineage of John Finney of Amelia County, Kentucky is from: Hill, Judith Parks’ America. A history of Henry County, Virginia: with biographical sketches of its most prominent citizens and genealogical histories of half a hundred of its oldest families. unknown: unknown, 1925, p. 176. This reference indicated that the first Finneys came to Accomack County Virginia. It also states, “In 1719, we come upon Rev. William Finney who was an important member of the Episcopal Convention of that year.” Skipping ahead, the book states “From Amelia county came the first Finneys to this and Franklin county about 1750, and of this family we note specially three brothers and a sister; viz, John, Zack, Peter, and Nancy.”
The importance of this reference is that John Finney and Elizabeth Ward had children named John, Zachariah, Peter and Nancy, as well as others. It was this junior John Finney who would be my GGG Grandfather, marrying Elizabeth Prunty.
Although the book makes no direct tie between the Rev. William Finney and the John Finney from whom the above brothers and sister are possibly descended, and, in fact, some of the references in the book are not clearly in that line, the research deriving the line follows.
Rev. William Finney (1696-1727)
There is well-documented information about Rev. William Finney. From The Virginia Magazine of Biography and History, volume 4, page 216:

5 Mary Cocke 4 daughter of Thomas married the Rev William Finney who died in 1727 His will is in Henrico clerk's office. They left issue William and Mary. There is a deed of gift for 370 acres of land in 1736 from James Powell Cocke and his sister Mary Finney to William Finney. The Rev William Finney MA was a graduate of the University of Glasgow name spelled Finnie.
From another source:
According to the book, Early Virginia Families Along the James River, a deed for 40 acres was recorded on July 11, 1719 in Henrico Co. on the "N. side of James River beg. at John Woodall, on w. side of the main nr. of Jennytoe Cr. adju. to Jos. Woodson's line" to a William Finney.
Further information regarding William Finney’s will:
William Finney
"of University of Glasgow, Master of Arts, and Minister of Henrico Parish"
Henrico Co., VA
Will Dated: 3 Feb 1726
Will Recorded: 5 Jun 1727
Executor: Wife
Witnesses: Tarlton Woodson & Henry Wood
Heirs and Others Mentioned:
Son: William - under age 21, bequeathed plantation called "Worldsend", East half of plantation in St. James Parish & negroes
Daughter: Mary - under age 21, bequeathed other half of plantation in St. James Parish & negroes
Source: Henrico Co. Wills & Deeds, 1725-1737, Page 104
These sources confirm several important facts; Rev. William Finney was married to Mary Cocke, and he died in 1727, leaving two children under age 21, William and Mary.
From the Family Data Collection, Individual Records, we have a marriage date for William Finney and Mary Cocke of 4 April 1715.
William Finney (1716-1759)
The birth dates for the children of the Rev. William Finney, William and Mary Finney, are 1716 and 1717 respectively, consistent with the reported marriage date, and the will which identifies both as under age 21 at the time of Rev. William Finney’s death in 1727.
Continuing to follow the lineage, the following appears in “Burton chronicles of colonial Virginia, being excerpts from the existing records, particularly relating to the Burtons of the valley of the James and Appomattox, with especial reference to the ancestry of Jesse Burton of Lynchburg (1750?-1795):
On August 1, 1743, Thomas Jordan, then about 30 years old, and Sarah his wife, John Redford Junior and Mary his wife, Abraham Bailey and Temperance his wife acknowledged a deed to William Finney, who, through his mother Mary, was a grandson of Thomas Cocke. The deed recites that: “The said Mary, Temperance and Sarah relinquishing their right of inheritance to the land in sd. Deed conveyed.” From this it might appear that John Burton, who in right of his deceased mother Catherine would have been mentioned as one of these heirs, was dead by 1743; or that, if then living, his interest had been transferred from one of his aunts – though of this there is no evidence since Henrico deed books are missing for several years prior to this time. The land referred to was known as “Worlds End” and consisted of 400 acres; it was adjacent to Longfield. It was finally sold in 1747 by William Finney to William Randolph, and Francis Redford and Judith his wife “the relict of William Cocke” sold her dower rights in this estate to Randolph for five shillings.
This reference places the junior William in Henrico County in 1747 (the deed is recorded in Henrico County and the location is now known as Wilton). It also suggests that he sold his property in 1747, possibly moving. A William Finney is listed as early as 1749 in the Amelia County, Virginia 1736-1771 Tithables, Binns Genealogy.
The following will is recorded in Amelia County, Virginia:
Captain William Finney, gentleman
Amelia Co., VA
Will Dated: undated
Will Recorded: 26 Apr 1759
Executor: Mary Finney
Witnesses: Handwritten will "presented to court by Mary Finney, relict of Wm. Finney". Sworn to be Wm. Finney's by Samuel Tarry & Robert Goode. John Gibbs heard him acknowledge the will before he died.
Heirs and Others Mentioned:
Son: William
Wife: Mary
Son: John
Relationship not Stated: Mary Page Finney
Relationship not Stated: Lucy Finney
Relationship not Stated: Martha Finney
Relationship not Stated: Sarah Finney
Relationship not Stated: Judith Finney
Relationship not Stated: Branch Wilson & wife Elizabeth
Relationship not Stated: Ann Finney
Relationship not Stated: Frances Finney
Inventory dated: 24 May 1759
Estate Settlement By: Samuel Tarry & Richard Booker
Estate Settlement Dated: 176[_]
Source: Amelia Co. Will Book 1, 1735-1761, by Gibson Jefferson McConnaughey; Will Page 145, Inventory Page 147. Estate Settlement - Will Book 2X, Page 67.

The information in the will of this William Finney indicate his wife’s name was Mary and places the family in Amelia Co., Virginia. Some other important clues lead to the identity of the wife, Mary Finney.
Although the relationships are not stated, it is reasonable to assume that Mary Page Finney, Lucy Finney, Martha Finney, etc., are the daughters, and that Elizabeth (Finney) is the wife of Branch Tanner. The name of the first daughter is Mary Page, and this is significant, indicating Page as a possible family name. Son William Finney (1743-1787) married Hannah L Watkins, 1770 (see Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia. [With] Digested Index and Genealogical Guide, Vol. I, pg. 451: “The eldest daughter (Hannah) of Benjamin Watkins married a Mr. William Finnie of Amelia, from whom have descended numerous families of Finnies, Royalls, Worshams, Snydors, and others in Virginia, South Carolina, and the West.”)
William and Hannah Finney had a son named Page Punch Finney (1778-1850).
Together, these suggest that the Mary Finney designated in William Finney’s will of 1759 was Mary Page Punch (1722-1794,married 1739), daughter of Page Punch and Elizabeth Branch.
Another possible linkage is from: Henrico Co., Virginia Colonial Wills, Microfiche # 6051008 On File With Family History Library, 85 North West Temple St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84105.

Will of Page Punch: To daughter Mary Punch, negroes, items, and money now in Col. Randolph's hands. If she die before 21 or marriage the all to loving wife. To son in law Robert Good, items. All the rest to wife and she to be executor....Dated 31 Aug. 1726.....No witnesses.. Recorded 6 Nov 1727.

The reference to money in Col. Randolph’s hands, from Henrico Co., might suggest a familiarity with the same William Randolph that the Rev. William Finney sold land to, referenced above.
William Finney’s (1716-1759) other son, referenced in his will of 1759, was named John (1749-1826). He would have been about 10 years old at the time of his father’s death.
John Finney (1749-1826)
The search for John Finney begins with a review of Amelia County, Virginia 1736-1771 Tithables, Binns Genealogy. A search of the lists, which show the heads of households in Amelia Co., Virginia along with the list of tithables (slaves and white males of age), shows a William Finney in 1756, with, among others, a John Candlemire, Isaac Garrett, Sharper, Sam, Primus, Fanny and Bristol. [William is listed in 1749 with Bristol and Primus among the names, also suggesting he may have moved to Amelia county around the reported date of the sale of his property in 1747, reported above.] These latter names are important to identify the later listings, providing continuity.
The 1762 list of tithes show’s a Mary Finney’s list, and this is consistent with Mary Finney as head of household after William’s death in 1759. The tithables include John Candlemire, Isaac Garrett, Sam, Sharper, Bristol, Primus, Tom, Sesar, Lucy and Fanny. This confirms this Mary Finney as the widow of William. However, no Finney male children are yet listed, so none have reached the age of majority. The lists for 1763 and 1764 are similar.
The 1767 tithables presents Mary Finney as head of household, but a William Finney is now listed, along with the names mentioned above. If William’s reported birthdate of 1743 is correct, he would be 24 years old. If age 21 is the age at which reporting begins, the first list in which William should have appeared would be 1765, but no record was found. The household with William Finney (Finnie) is also listed for 1768 and 1769. William’s wedding date to Hannah Watkins is listed as 1770, at which time he would be listed as head of household.
The 1770 tithables list shows John Finney and Mary Finney as heads of household. John’s list includes John Candlemire, Bristol and Primus among the others. Mary’s list includes Caesar and Lucy among others. John Finney is now head of a household with slaves/servants. This is consistent with his age (birthdate 1749) and/or his wedding, reported to be 1770 to Elizabeth Ward.
Although there are numerous family trees showing John Finney and Elizabeth Ward, there remains a question as to whether or not the John Finney of Amelia County, son of William Finney, is the same John Finney reportedly married to Elizabeth Ward.
The Amelia County 1770 tithables list above does suggest that the date of the wedding may match. In addition to this date, according to Franklin County Settler's Map Companion, Alphabetical and Chronological Index to A Settlement Map of Franklin County Made for the Franklin County Historical Society: Names and Locations of Many of the Early Settlers in the area from 1786 to 1886, John Finney arrived in Franklin County (Bedford County until 1785) in 1788. Property tax roles confirm John Finney in Franklin County in 1788, in Bedford County prior to that date. [Note: There is also a mysterious Peter Finney listed in Franklin Co. in 1788, and a Bedford Co. marriage of Sally Finney to Elijah Lyon in 1798, with Peter Finney giving permission and John Finney providing surety. This Peter Finney may have been a relative and the source of the name of Peter, son of John Finney and Elizabeth Ward.]
The arrival of John Finney in Franklin County in 1788 is consistent with the children of John and Elizabeth being born in Amelia County (through 1783) and John being listed in the 1810 census in Franklin County. It is also consistent with their eldest son John being married in Franklin County, and being listed in the 1820 census in Franklin County, for example. However, John was supposedly married to Elizabeth Ward in Bedford County, Virginia. Is there any evidence of a tie between John Finney and the Ward family of Bedford County?
John Ward, father of Elizabeth Ward, was reported to have arrived in Franklin County (then Bedford County) in 1753 (to A Settlement Map of Franklin County Made for the Franklin County Historical Society: Names and Locations of Many of the Early Settlers in the area from 1786 to 1886). It is important to note that this John Ward, father of Elizabeth) is not the same Major John Ward from Bedford County. Major John Ward died in 1816. This John Ward died in 1782. John Ward’s will (need copy) of 1782 reportedly left 200 acres to John Finney and Elizabeth, and named Zachariah Ward and Mary Ward as heirs. (The name Zachariah may explain the source of Zachariah Finney’s name, son of John Finney and Elizabeth Ward).
The 1782 personal property tax list for Bedford Co., Virginia lists John Ward and John Finnie. The 1783 personal property tax list for Bedford County, Virginia identifies John Finnie, but John Ward is no longer listed. On the 1782 Land Tax Lists of Bedford Co., Va., there are two John WARDs listed. One shows 150 acres with R. WALKER. The second one is listed as Major John WARD and is shown with 130 acres. This land tax record was dated 19 Jul 1782. On the 1784 list, only the John WARD appears with the 130 acres. This is consistent with his reported death date of John Ward (not Col. John Ward) and will dated 1782. The personal property tax lists confirm that at least for the period of 1782- 1787 John Finney lived in Bedford County. John Finney does not appear to be on the Bedford County tax list for 1788, supporting his move to Franklin County.
According to John Finney’s 1826 will, he left the following to Elizabeth: $1,610 and 7 slaves (these are named in the will) to Joshua Finney, 2 slaves, $544.82 to John Finney, 3 slaves, $634.82 to Lewis Finney’s heirs, 2 slaves, $594.82 to Nancy F. Prunty, 1 negro woman, Dolly, and her child, Archer, $360.00, 1 negro boy, Andrew $200.00, 1/6 of bed furniture and clothes $14.82, total of $574.82; to Zachariah, 3 slaves, $599.82; to Peter, 2 slaves , $554.82. John Finney’s will is recorded in the Franklin County Court House, Franklin Co., VA.
The will is informative, identifying his wife Elizabeth and children. It also confirms that Lewis is no longer living (died 1824), and suggests Nancy Finney’s married name is Prunty (she married Jesse Prunty).