Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Allen line: Nathaniel Finch

It's about time we learned more about Nathaniel Finch.  There isn't much known about him, but he lived in interesting historic times and he has a story to tell.  He was born in Stamford, Connecticut, on April 29, 1722, the son of John Finch and Sarah maiden name unknown.  She may have been a Sarah Lockwood, but if so, extensive research has failed to identify her family. 

Nathaniel was one of 10 children, so was likely set up in some sort of apprentice or indenture program in order to learn a trade. I have seen no reference to what that trade may have been, but since Nathaniel moved inland as an adult it probably did not have to do with the sea trade.   

Nathaniel married Hannah Scofield, daughter of Daniel Scofield and Hannah Hoyt, in Ridgefield, Ct on December 15, 1743.  He was not quite 22 years of age, and she was just over 17.  It appears that there were four children born to this marriage. Nathaniel was born December 9, 1743, Jesse was born in 1744, Stephen was born in 1745 and Hannah was born in 1749.  (I don't know whether perhaps one of the December dates was perhaps old style and one new style, but it appears that Nathaniel may have arrived before the marriage ceremony could take place.)  There children were all born in New Canaan, Fairfield County, Connecticut.)

There is a gap of a few years until the next children were born, and some researchers think the rest of the family was by a second wife.  These children were Martha, John, Benoni, and Abigail.  These children were born in Salem, Westchester County, New York, which was just over the county line from Connecticut, so the family would have been familiar with the area.  The Finch-Scofield marriage took place in Ridgefield, which was very near the New York-Connecticut border.

That is basically the end of what we know about Nathaniel.  There is a military record of Nathaniel, who is probably Nathaniel the son, who was a member of the militia in 1759 and still in 1761. The 1761 list gives his height as 5' 3.5", which may indicate the family was smaller in stature than the average.    I've not found a record of Nathaniel Senior being in the militia, although he would have been the correct age to serve in the French and Indian war of 1756-1763.  Sadly, the last we know was that he shared in the distribution of the estate of Sarah Keeler, his mother, June 15, 1768.

He was a Congregationalist, admitted to full communion at New Canaan Parish Church on May 30, 1742, and apparently went to Christ Church, Salem, NY at some point.  There is a record that Nathaniel Finch and wife were recommended to communion there by Rec. Silliman, rector of Christ Church at Fairfield, Ct. 

We don't know his occupation, we don't know whether he served in the militia or other military service, and we don't know if he had more than one wife.  I have not located a copy of his will, or of his death date or location.  There are two men by the name of Nathaniel Finch listed in the 1790 census, but they are both in Connecticut. Did the family return there?  Nathaniel seems to have been a common name in the Finch family, so it's difficult to say.  In 1800, Nathaniel Finch and wife, both over 45, are living in Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York, but again, we don't know that this is our Nathaniel. 

So many questions, so few answers, at this point.  I'd love to "meet" cousins who are working on this family, and maybe we can find some answers, together.

Our line of descent:

Nathaniel Finch-Hannah Scofield
Jesse Finch-unknown (widow was Hannah)
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas Jefferson Knott
John Wilson Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Vernon/Edith/Tessora/Corinne/Richard Allen
Their children, grand children, and great grandchildren