Finley, Samuel, 1715-1766

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Samuel Finley, fifth president of The College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), was a Scotch-Irishman who came to this country when he was nineteen. One of the original trustees of the college, Finley succeeded Samuel Davies as president on May 31, 1761. His presidency was marked by a steady growth in enrollment, and he was respected and beloved by the students.

From the description of Samuel Finley collection, 1756-1766. (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 63052124

From the description of Samuel Finley collection, 1756-1956 (bulk 1756-1766). (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 177680717

Samuel Finley was a British army surveyor in America who surveyed much of Pennsylvania. He accompanied Henry Bouquet on his 1764 expedition against the Indians of central Ohio. Though little is known about Finley's early life, he and many members of his family likely emigrated from Armagh County in Northern Ireland, and settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in 1734. In 1761, Finley became an assistant to Colonel (later General) John Armstrong, was next commissioned lieutenant in Captain William Piper's company, and by 1763 was a part of Lieutenant Colonel Asher Clayton's Second Battalion.

In September 1764, Bouquet appointed Captain Samuel Finley of the 2nd Pennsylvania Battalion and Ensign Thomas Hutchins of the 60th Royal American Regiment to be assistants to the chief engineer during his campaign. They accompanied Bouquet and his regiments of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland volunteers, under orders from Commander-in-Chief Major General Thomas Gage, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, along the Tuscarawas and Muskingum rivers, into central Ohio. There they negotiated the return of over 300 white captives from the Indians and signed a peace treaty between English settlers and a number of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio tribes. Along the way, Hutchinson created numerous maps of the area and Finley kept detailed field notes of the journey.

After the expedition, Finley continued to practice surveying throughout Pennsylvania. He laid out many town plots and invested in several land ventures himself. During the Revolutionary War, Finley served as quartermaster in Colonel Samuel Culbertson's battalion of Pennsylvania militia, and fought in Philadelphia, Trenton, and Princeton (1776-1777).

From the guide to the Samuel Finley Field Notes for Bouquet's Expedition, Finley, Samuel, Field Notes for Bouquet's Expedition, 1764, 1846-1849, 1764, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bellamy, Joseph, 1719-1790. person
associatedWith Bouquet, Henry, 1719-1765 person
associatedWith Bouquet's Expedition, 1764. person
correspondedWith Draper, Daniel J. (Daniel James), 1810-1866. person
associatedWith Forbes, John, 1710-1759 person
associatedWith Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790 person
associatedWith Gage, Thomas, 1721-1787 person
associatedWith Great Britain. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, William, Sir, 1715-1774 person
associatedWith Princeton University. Office of the President. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ruston, Thomas, ca. 1739-1804. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Yellow Creek (Ohio)
Monongahela River Valley (W. Va. and Pa.)
Tuscarawas River (Ohio)
Muskingum River (Ohio)
Tuscarawas River Valley (Ohio)
Allegheny River (Pa. and N.Y.)
New Jersey--Princeton
United States
Ohio River Valley
Beaver River (Pa.)
Monongahela River (W. Va. and Pa.)
Neville Island (Pa.)
Northwest, Old.
Walhonding River (Ohio)
College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)--Trustees--18th century
Wyandot Indians
Shawnee Indians
College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)--Presidents
Mingo Indians
Indian captivities
College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)--Trustees
Religious disputations--18th century
College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)--History--18th century--Sources
Indians of North America--Government relations


Birth 1715-07-02

Death 1766-07-17



Ark ID: w6db9g5f

SNAC ID: 46478656