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FINLEY, GEORGE W. Manuscript Diary of George W. Finley, Romney, WV, covering years 1884-1885. 6 x 15.5cm.
George Williamson Finley (1838-1909) First Lieutenant, 56th Virginia Infantry, one of the few men who crossed the stone wall beside Gen Lewis Armistead at Gettysburg during Pickett's charge. Finley was beside Armistead as the general lost consciousness on the battlefield. He was taken prisoner, spending the next two years in Unions prisons including at Hilton Head were he became one of the Confederate "Immortal 600." Finley was born Dec. 1, 1838 in Yanceyville, NC. but was raised in Clarksville, VA. He entered Hampden-Sydney College but graduated from Washington College (now Washington & Lee) in 1856. Finley enrolled as a captain in the Confederate Army on May 12, 1861. While he was a prisoner, he decided to become a minister and entered Union Theological Seminary in 1866. He served as pastor in Romney, WV from 1870-1892; then was appointed evangelist for the Abingdon, Virginia Presbytery; and then pastor of the Tinkling Springs Presbyterian Church, Fishersville, VA 1903-1909.
The journal consists of lined pages with one page for every day of the year. Finley used the same journal for both 1884 and 1885. The same date as 1884 has the correct day of the week penned in along with "85" at the head of the entry. Pagination of the journal: (32) printed pages including color title & typical almanac material, (366) lined pages for each day, (3) lined memoranda pages, (39) ledger accounting pages. The contents are brief summary of what he did most days, from riding to a parishoner's house to baptize their infant or perform a marriage to "Bred our cow to Bob Fisher's ½ Jersey" or "went fishing quite successful," and "At home--in garden Planted potatoes." It references a revival/special meetings in his church in Jan/Feb. of 1884: "All agree that this meeting must go on prayer meeting to preaching. For several nights I have invited after preaching, all who desired God's blessing in themselves or others to come into the Lecture room. Almost the whole congregation comes--a Solemn Service." Feb. 3 "Closed meeting a very solemn service. Praise to God for His wonderful mercy--Oh to be more faithful. In one way or another about 30 persons express some interest in Salvation, 10 or 12 indulge hope. On May 4, 1884 he mentions his 25th wedding anniversary: "Cumberland, Md.... This is the 25th Anniversary of My Marriage. How great the Lord has been to spare my dear wife to me so long." He and his wife had 14 children of which 9 survived his death. He mentions them Sept 4, 1885 "John & Willie started to Mossy Creek, Jno. to teach & Willie to go to school. God bless the dear boys..." Ledger pages at the end are filled in with financial records for his church.
Entries also include references to his past in the Confederate army: May 29, 1885 "Moorefield before 3pm Address to Ladies Memorial Association to aid them in purchasing Headstone for the Confederate Dead buried in the Cemetery at M." or Aug. 13 1884 "Reunion of Ex. Confederates at Pancakes Sulpher Spring. Large attendance--pleasant day..." June 6, 1885 "Came home to attend the Exercises of Memorial Day. The largest crowd I ever saw in Romney... 12 or 1500 people..."
He traveled a good bit on the newly built railroads in his area: Aug. 20, 1884 "Started with Willie for Thomas on W.Va. Central & Pittsburgh R.R...." Aug. 22, 1884 "Walked with Willie over to the mouth of Beaver Creek on Blackwater--the proposed site of Davis the present terminus W.Va.C. & P. R.R. Boarded at Robt. Eastham's the only home except a few laborer's huts. Aug 24, 1884 "At Easthams to preach forbidden by the Dr. because my throat. How I long to quicken those RailRoad hands & preach to them. No Sabbath for these poor people in the wilderness." Then on Sept 1, 1884 "Cora, Jno. & Lul Eggleston left 1st train over So. Branch Railway..." On that date the South Branch Railroad Company complete its first section from its connection with the B&O RR at Green Spring, WV to Romney WV. Finley also made many trips to Richmond Va. where he was on the Board of Trustees of Hampden-Sidney College "H.S. College."
Sold with the journal: Finley's 1889 pass for travel on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, boldy signed by him on the verso, "Order for Clerical Ticket. This Order is good only when Officially Stamped for the purchase of tickets to and from Stations on Main Line and Branches East of the Ohio River." Good+ condition.
The journal is bound in black morocco leather with a fold-around flap to protect pages when carried in a pocket. Small gilt oval on flap that reads "Standard Diary No. 159. Small metal piece on back cover that reads "Patented June 29, 73." Leather at bottom of spine and bottom of edges is starting to fray or tatter, leather split along bottom 5cm of rear hinge, rubbed at all edges, pencil notes on endpapers, pages are lightly tanned but in good condition.
Title: Manuscript Diary of George W. Finley, Romney, WV, covering years 1884-1885.
Illustrator: Romney, WV
Publisher: Diary 1884-85, of George W. Finley--Went over the Wall beside Armistead at Gettysburg, then as POW, one of the 'Immortal 600;" Presbyterian minister in Romney, WV: 1884-85
Book Condition: The journal is bound in black morocco leather with a fold-around flap to protect pages when carried in a pocket. Small gilt oval on flap that reads "Standard Diary No. 159. Small metal piece on back cover that reads "Patented June 29, 73." Leather at bottom of spine and bottom of edges is starting to fray or tatter, leather split along bottom 5cm of rear hinge, rubbed at all edges, pencil notes on endpapers, pages are lightly tanned but in good condition.
Size: 6 x 15.5cm.
Weight: 2.00 Item
Book Number: 17805
Keywords: Romney WV, Early West Virginia Railroads, Railroad Passes, Virginia, West Virginia, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, South Branch Railroad, West Virginia Central Railroad