Biography - JOSEPH H. FINNEY

Joseph H. Finney, late of Newman, was born in Parke county. Indiana, January 10, 1849, and died September 9, 1897. In 1873 he was married to Miss Kate Porter and after her death married .Miss Agnes Valodin. For twenty-three years Mr. Finney was in business at Newman at which he successfully continued up to the time of his death. He left a wife and two sons: Porter and Everett; also two sisters, Mrs. W. P. Miller and Mrs. W. D. Goldman, and four brothers; E. C., Daniel, David W., and Robert. For several years Mr. Finney was an active and influential member of the .M. E. church at Newman, and at his funeral in speaking of the deceased, the pastor spoke in substance as follows: "Joseph Finney did not lack in noble habits. He was a true friend. Friendship to him was not an ideal something, but a living reality. He had no enemies, for he let his life cast true friendship on every other life. No envy or malice could .grow in his nature. He was benevolent to a fault, if it is ever a fault to be benevolent. Some man who knew him well, said, 'If Joseph Finney only had twenty dollars in the world and someone in need were to ask him for aid, he would give nineteen of the twenty to the destitute.' Such was his nature.

"Gentleness was a marked characteristic of his nature. No unkind words would Mr. Finney say of those who may deserve them.

"He understood human nature well and because he knew the need of sympathy he understood now to look with charity on the failings of others.

"No man was ever discouraged or weakened by associating with Joseph Finney. On the other hand, all who knew him felt the influence of an honest, gentle, manly spirit. Probably none have felt natural weakness more, but none have shown more truly than the deceased a strong heart and an irreproachable character. If ever a man was worthy of charity, that man was Mr. Finney.

"In his home, in social life, and in business relations he was ever the same. No harshness, no sharp criticism, no fault finding marred his intercourse with others.

"He was ever a man of noble aspirations. He was never satisfied with present experience or achievements. His testimonies in class meeting and prayer meeting always spoke humility and resolution and noble desire.

"He knew how to struggle. And though like every other man he may sometimes have erred, yet, like David, he knew how to rise above difficulty and even defeat. His frankness was striking. He was never afraid to do the manly thing.

'"To his pastor he spoke with Christian confidence during his illness of his trust in God, and conscious peace at heart. He was the kind of man that God loves, — humble, sincere, trustful, penitent.

"The words of Shakespeare may be truly said of him: 'His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him, that nature might stand up and say to all the world. This was a man.' "

He was buried at Tuscola, the funeral ceremonies being conducted by Rev. J. M. Oakwood, assisted by Revs. Calhoun and Piper. Mr. Finney was a Mason and was a member of Melita Commandery at Tuscola, the members of which had charge of his remains; he was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen. His widow, Mrs. Finney, resides at Newman and before her marriage was a Miss Valodin, of Oakland. She was a daughter of M. B. and Sarah Ann (Redden) Valodin. Her father was born in Ohio and her mother in Illinois. Mrs. Finney is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Newman and highly interests herself in church work, being one of the class leaders.

Extracted 08 Sep 2018 by Norma Hass from the Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois, published in 1900, pages 175-176.

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