I am looking for more information (and hopefully confirmation) regarding the Finney family that came to Nova Scotia (present day Sackville, New Brunswick) about 1761 from Rhode Island. I am descended from Ann Finney who had married Benjamin Tower on 1 May 1766. Benjamin, the son of Joseph Tower and Judith Briggs, arrived with his widowed mother and siblings at the same time as Nathaniel Finney's family. Although my main focus is just on my ancestors down to their grandchildren, information beyond that is also useful as branches sometimes tend to loop back into my tree. I have a number of blanks on the Finney branch and have noted some inconsistencies with the information that I've found. For the later, I've come up with alternative interpretations to fit the "facts" and would appreciate any comments on these as well as any information that can help fill in the blanks.
The first question concerns confirmation of Nathaniel's parents, his first wife Hannah Wood and their children. He has been listed as the son of John Finney and Ann Toogood and that he was born on 8 Jan 1720/21 at Swansea, Mass. The marriage to Hannah Wood is listed as on 3 Sep 1740 at Swansea and that she died on 26 Dec 1756 at Providence, Rhode Island, at the age of 37. There is a LDS Ancestral file which lists the following children (all born in Warren, R.I.): Hannah (b. 26 Apr 1743), Caleb (b. 1745), John (b.c. 1745), Ann (b. 26 Aug 1747), Nathaniel (b.c. 1749), Lydia (b. 4 Oct 1751), and Richard (b.c. 1753). I'm not sure how reliable this LDS information is and if the birth place/dates are accurate (i.e. Caleb's birth has also been listed as 1742 and Lydia as 1749). Are there any primary source records that support the above information? Is there any information known about the other children that did not come to Sackville?
The following Sackville records provide no information regarding parents (hence my question above regarding the children of Nathaniel and Hannah). It appears that Nathaniel arrived in Nova Scotia with only three of his children (Caleb, Ann and Lydia).
From the Sackville Township Book (arranged in order of marriage date):
- Ann Finney m. Benjamin Tower, 1 May 1766 - 4 children were listed.
- Caleb Finney m. Bathsheba Salisbury, 6 Jul 1766 - son Joseph b. 13 Feb 1767.
- Lydia Finney m. Josiah Hicks, 5 Jan 1769 - 12 children were listed. Josiah d. 15 May 1799.
- Molly Finney (b. 7 Apr 1763, d. 5 Oct 1809) m. Daniel Fletcher, 7 May 1782 - 12 children were listed.
- Jemima Finney m. William Reed, 4 Apr 1793 - 2 children were listed.
From the 1770 census for Sackville, Nova Scotia (present day New Brunswick):
- Finney, Nathaniel - 1 man, 1 woman, 2 girls - Total 4
- Finney, Calyb - 1 man, 1 boy, 1 woman, 1 girl - Total 4
From the Jan 1803 listing of the inhabitants of Sackville, New Brunswick (in order as they were listed):
- Nath'l Finney - 1 man, 1 child over 10 and 1 child under 10
- Caleb Finney - 1 man, 1 woman and 2 children over 10
- Caleb Finney Jun. - 1 man, 1 woman and 2 children under 10
From the 1820 census for Sackville:
- Richard Finney, wife, 5 children
- Caleb Finney, wife, 8 children
From headstone transcriptions:
- Jemima Finney died on 27 Oct 1861 at the age of 93 which would place her year of birth as about 1768
- Richard Finney died in Oct 1861 at the age of 74 which would place his year of birth as about 1787.
Based on the above source records, it's certain that Caleb and Bathsheba had sons Joseph and Caleb Jr. as well as it is certain that Molly was not their daughter because she was born well before their marriage. I am looking for information on (and confirmation of) any other children that they may have had. Jemima and Richard have been listed as their children, but these two could have belonged to the Nathaniel Finney listed in the 1770 census.
This brings up the first inconsistency that I've found. Nathaniel Finney, son of John Finney and Ann Toogood, is listed by some researchers as marrying (2) Thankful Tupper, daughter of Samuel Tupper and Hannah Fish, on 13 Jan 1763 at Sandwich, Mass. The Vital Records of Sandwich, Mass., record the Finney/Tupper marriage as well as the births of two sons - Nathaniel on 11 Jul 1765 and Josiah on 1 Sep 1767 (both of these sons would later marry). The Finney/Tupper family is listed as later moving to Machias, Maine (then a part of Massachusetts), by about 1769. The Nathaniel Finney listed in the 1770 Sackville census is obviously not the same Nathaniel that married Thankful Tupper. Further, Molly Finney's birth is not included in the Sandwich vitals despite being born in that date range so it is fairly certain that she was one of the girls in the 1770 Nathaniel Finney household. So either (1) this is a "new" Nathaniel Finney; (2) the second marriage to Thankful Tupper belonged to another Nathaniel Finney; or (3) the Finney settlers of Sackville are not descended from the Finney/Toogood branch (hence my first question looking for confirmation). Are there any records that establish a relationship between Molly and the other Finney children (i.e. Caleb, Ann or Lydia)?
I suspect that the Nathaniel Finney that married Thankful Tupper was actually the son of Joshua Finney and Hannah Curtis. This Nathaniel was born about 1732 which is more in line with Thankful's listed birthdate of 23 Jan 1740 at Sandwich, Mass. The Finney/Curtis family had moved to Sandwich and there's no information on what became of this Nathaniel. Hannah Curtis married (2) Jirah Fish of Sandwich, Mass., and he was the uncle of Thankful Tupper. One of the sons of the Finney/Tupper marriage was also named Jirah and son Josiah may have been named after this Nathaniel's brother or grandfather. The only link that I am aware of between the Nathaniel, son of the Finney/Toogood marriage, and Nathaniel, husband of the Finney/Tupper marriage, is the death of a Nathaniel Finney on 24 Sep 1809 at Machias at the age of 88. I am curious about the death record for this Nathaniel and whether it actually specified his age and/or relationship to the Finney/Tupper family. Otherwise, this could simply be a coincidence because the Sackville Finneys were known to move back and forth between Maine and New Brunswick.
Going back to the Nathaniel Finney in the 1770 Sackville census, the most likely candidate for the woman listed in this household would be Judith Briggs (the widow of Joseph Tower) and that she was his wife. This assumption is made because it is consistent with the following concerning Lt. Nathaniel Briggs (husband of Judith Guild):
"The will of Nathaniel Briggs was drawn in Taunton 9 Ju 1773 and probated 30 Aug 1773/ His son Nathaniel was named executor. It was witnessed by Abijah Lincoln, Job Stacy and Philip Mason. The beneficiaries were his wife "Judah", his sons, Nathaniel, William, and John; his daughters, Mercy Briggs, Mehitable Wetherell, Jemima Harvey, Margaret Willis, and "Judah" Finney (Bristol County Probates, 22:483)."
I cannot find any other Finney that would have married his daughter Judith (but would appreciate any other suggestions) and she appears to be the only Judith Briggs that could have been the wife (and widow) of Joseph Tower. Joseph's wife was also from Taunton, was born about 1723 and was definitely associated with the Finney family of Sackville. Also, Judith and one of her daughters (as both of the Tower daughters later married) cannot be accounted for in the 1770 census unless Nathaniel Finney's household is taken into consideration. Molly would then be her daughter and the other girl listed in this 1770 household. Although hardly proof of anything, two of the children from Molly's later marriage to Daniel Fletcher were named Nathaniel and Judith which would be consistent with them being named after their grandparents.
With regards to the Jan 1803 listing of Sackville households, the order in which the households are listed may be significant. It lists the surnames alphabetically, but appears to list the households for each surname by generation. Any help from other Sackville family researchers regarding this order would be appreciated. Is it possible that the Nath'l Finney listed is the same one from the 1770 census? If so, then it appears that he may have been widowed by this time. The only other Nathaniel Finney that I am aware of was possibly the son of Caleb and that he was born between 1780 and 1787. Caleb's Nathaniel would soon marry Mary Wheaton on 7 Jun 1803 so it's seems odd, considering his age, that he would be listed in a separate household with children (but whose children?). Otherwise, he could have been one of the children listed under Caleb's household and, as a minor (i.e. under the age of 21), would have still been considered as a child.
Again, I would like to emphasis that this is just my personal interpretation of the information that I've found and I could be wrong. I hoping for some feedback that may not only help with my research, but also clear up questions that other researchers may have.