Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Allen line: Jesse Finch 1746-1829

There's quite a bit of stuff about Jesse Finch out on the internet.  Unfortunately, there seems to have been several men named Jesse Finch living in approximately the same time period, and it's hard to figure out which Jesse Finch might be ours.  We're fairly certain of the birth information and the will, and of a couple of tax records, but some of the information out there is just plain confusing, and much is undocumented.

We know that he was christened November 16, 1746 in Christ Church at New Canaan, Connecticut. This may be the church currently known as the Congregational Church there, because their history stretches back 275 years.  His parents were Nathaniel Finch and Hannah Scofield, and he was one of at least 8 children.  The family moved to Westchester County, NY in 1763.

There is mention in the Cententennial Biographical history of Richland County, Ohio in a biography of Jesse Maring (Jesse's grandson, but I'm jumping ahead of the story) that he was one of the heroes of the Revolutionary War, but I haven't located any kind of service records for him so this may be an exaggeration.  The DAR doesn't list Jesse, Fold 3 doesn't have him, the state records I've consulted for Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey don't have him, and New York records aren't on line.   Also, the phrase "hero of the Revolutionary War" can be used for anyone from George Washington down to a civilian who misdirected British troops, so it's hard to know what that means.  I've also found mention that he was a soldier in the French and Indian War of 1756-1763  Based on Jesse's age, he could just possibly have served in the last couple of years, but again, I haven't yet found documentation of that. 

Apparently he was in New Jersey by 1781.  There is a Jesse Finch found on a tax list there in Hardyston Township, Sussex County, on the August tax list.  Anna Finch, one of Jesse's children, was born in New Jersey in 1787 so this may be our Jesse.  Jesse is believed to be a farmer and a weaver, but we don't know why he went from New York to New Jersey, or how long he was in either location. 

We don't know who Jesse's wife was but it is believed she was named Hannah.  Perhaps she was from New Jersey or perhaps Jesse had married her in New York. Records have not yet been found. The couple presumably would have married in the late 1770's since their son, Jesse, has a birthdate of about 1779. Their other children were Hannah, Ann, and Nathaniel. 

That's all we know until 1806, when Jesse's name shows up on a tax list in Belmont County, Ohio.  He can be considered as an "early settler" because he was in Ohio before the war of 1812. The 1810 tax list shows him as being in Colerain Township, and by 1811 we find that the location of his land was 172 acres in Range 2, Township 6, Section 18.  He is on several more tax records, is listed as having been paid $4.05 as supervisor of the public highway in Colerain Township, and is on the 1820 census record there, where he and his (assumed) wife are living alone, with one person being engaged in agriculture. 

His will was signed on February 9, 1824 and proved August 26, 1829.  It is believed he died in 1829 but it's possible that the date of death was earlier.  He left 172 acres to his three surviving children (1/4 each) and his six grandchildren (the other 1/4). No mention is made of his wife so she apparently died earlier.  The burial site is not known.

There are so many unknowns here..Who was Jesse's wife, and where did they marry? Why did he go from New York to New Jersey?  Is there a record somewhere of his purported Revolutionary War Service?  Were the Finches members of a church?  Why did they move to Ohio, when Jesse would have been perhaps 60 years old?  What was that trip like?  Was Jesse literate?  If anyone has the answer to any of these questions, I'd love to hear from you.

The line of descent:

Jesse Finch-Hannah
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas J Knott
John Wilson Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward F. Allen
Vernon/Tessora/Corinne/Edith/Richard Allen
Their children, grand children, and great grandchildren