Jasper N. Finney, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Jasper N. Finney


Jasper Newton Finney, was born November 24, 1842, in a log cabin on the farm one and one-half miles east of Valparaiso, and is the farm which his father bought from the government in 1836 for three dollars per acre. In his boyhood days there was much to do toward further clearing of the land and carrying on the farming. He helped his father with such work during the spring and summer months and in the winter he attended school in a log school house, then later attended the common school in Valparaiso, then still later in the winters of 1860-61-62 he attended the old Valparaiso University. On August 7, 1862, he enlisted with Company E, 4th Indiana Cavalry, for service with the Union Army during the Civil War. He served two years and about eleven months and was honorably discharged June 25, 1865. During his service as a soldier he, with his company, participated in many of the big battles of the war, among them the battle of Chickamaugua, the battle of Reseca, the Atlanta campaign and Wilson's famous raid in the spring of 1865. In all he was under fire, in battles, thirty-two times. In July, 1864, during the McCook raid, he was captured and held prisoner by General Wheeler's men, and was sent to Andersonville prison, and held there until in September. While being transferred to another prison, with several hundred other prisoners, he escaped from the guards, and after many difficulties of traveling by night, and in a weakened condition, and by keeping hid in the daytime, he finally reached the Union lines. He was directed to his own company and immediately joined them for further service. It was during the time of his confinement in Andersonville prison that the famous spring of fresh, clear, cool water broke out in the prison, which saved the lives of hundreds of Union soldiers held there. This spring is, and always has been, regarded as an act of Providence. After the war he returned to his old home at Valparaiso and resumed the occupation of farming, on the farm on which he was born. He carried on that occupation until he retired and became a citizen of Valparaiso. As a pioneer of Porter county, he knows the privations and the joys, the quaint customs and the honest ways that go with pioneer days. He saw, with his own eyes, the trend of development of Porter county and Valparaiso, and contributed to that development in no small way by his own activities. During his career as a resident of Porter county he witnessed the passing of the tallow candle to the electric light, the ox team to the automobile, the mud-slashed road to the beautiful macadam. Telephones, traction lines, rural routes, all kinds of electrical devices, all came about while he was living in Porter county. Soon after the war he joined the G.A.R., Chaplain Brown Post No. 106, and served in every office from Commander down. He was one of the charter members of the Farmer's Mutual Insurance Co. The first policy ever issued by that company was issued to him on his property. He was treasurer of that organization for nineteen years. Many years ago he became a member of the First Baptist church and was a deacon in that church many years. On September 5, 1872, he married Matilda Ann Jones.

Matilda Ann (Jones) Finney was born in a log cabin in Jackson township, Porter county, March 27, 1846. She was one of twelve children. When she was four years old her mother died. She lived with her father and older sisters until she was old enough to work among neighboring families. For a number of years she worked for and lived in the home of Tilman Hogan, an old resident of Valparaiso. When she was nine years old, her father, who had amassed what was considered a small fortune for those times, started overland westward, to prospect in land and be a part of great development of the then Far West. He took with him all the money he had accumulated, to invest in land. As mail traveled very slowly in those days, little was heard of his progress toward the West until a year or two after his departure, when information came to the family that he had been engaged to lead a party of prospectors farther West from Kansas City, and after the party had been gone a few days they encountered a band of Indians and the entire party was wiped out. Details as to what actually happened are very meager, but evidences were found which indicated that the entire party had been murdered. His family never saw him after leaving Jackson township. Little is known of her mother's parents, except that they immigrated from Germany and settled in Ohio, later coming to Porter county. On account of the poor school facilities of that early day, and in that rural district, her education was limited to a few years' schooling in a log school house in Jackson township. She is a lady of more than ordinary ability. She has ably filled her position as wife and mother in the establishment of a home and the rearing of a family. At all times she was ready to counsel and advise with her husband in their life-work. She endeavored to live a Christian life, consistent with the dictates of a pure heart. She was a member of and a regular attendant at the First Baptist Church. On September 5, 1872, she married Jasper Newton Finney.

On September 5, 1872, Jasper Newton Finney laid the foundation of a congenial life companionship by his union with Matilda Ann Jones. They had six (6) children who were the eighth generation of the Finney family:

(1.) Stella Maria, born August 2, 1873, married George Wade, both deceased.
(2.) Edith Teresa, born January 23, 1875, deceased.
(3.) Leslie Wayne, born July 21, 1876, was killed in a railroad wreck on February 11, 1901.
(4.) Arthur Alanson, born May 5, 1878, married Flora Lewis, both are deceased, had two daughters, Harriet Osburn & Charlotte Casbon, deceased.
(5.) Earl Tecuseh, born November 10, 1879, married Evelyn O'Connor, both deceased.
(6.) Grace Matilda, born June 19, 1885, married Ernest J. Cotterman, one son, Allen E.-- married Grace C. Nicholson.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 104-105

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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