John Finley & Jane Giles Griffin
"JOHN FINLEY & JANE GILES GRIFFIN; Pages 1-17. Headstone Committee:
Alice Hunter Anderson (MO), Thomas Fout (TX), Donna Thielen Goves (AZ)
Minnie Mae Griffin Holman (IL), Beatrice Griffin Justice (KS), Bonnie Ferry Kipp (IL)
Eunice Griffin Reehl (IL), B. Edna Park Waller (SC)
Dedicated, this 18th day of July, 1992, a replacement headstone to mark the final resting places of JOHN FINLEY GRIFFIN and his wife JANE GILES, given with love and gratitude by their numerous descendants. Remarks by Rev. Glen W. Bocox of First United Methodist Church of Moline, Headstone by Moline Monument company. Excerpts from the narratives: Page 1: "Six days from now, July 24th, will mark the one hundred sixty fourth anniversary of the date young Jane Giles married John Finley Griffin in Pekin, Washington County, Indiana. No one knows now whether or not they were admonished by the preacher to "go forth and multiply", but forth they went and multiply they most certainly did. We have only pieces of their story. They didn't write in diarys (diaries) or keep journals for future generations. They simply lived their lives as best they could and left it up to the doggedness and ingenuity of those who came after to search and conjecture. The following pages contain thumbnail sketches of them and the people they came from. These stories are not complete nor will they ever be (perhaps), but the joy for those who search lies in the discovery of small bits and pieces of information to add to the whole. Page 3: THE GRIFFIN LINE - JOHN FINLEY GRIFFIN, was born in NC in 1805 (according to census records), but we have no definite proof as to the exact area of his birth nor the names of his parents. If they followed the old country habit of naming children ( etc...), his parents may have been William and Margaret (much conjecture is stated here)...etc. The Griffins may have lived near the Giles family in Randolph County, NC, because Finley (as he was called), along with brothers Robert and George, appeared in Washington County, IN, about the time the Giles' moved there. He married Jane Giles in Pekin in that county in 1828 when he was 23 and she was 18. they settled in or near Pekin where her grandfather William Bowman was a major landholder. Their first three children, Marth, William and Margaret, were born there.
In 1833, the young family, along with Finley's brother George and Jane's sister and brother-in-law, Polly and William Porter, moved to the Moline area which had been opened up for settlement by the government after the defeat of Black Hawk and his followers. Finley's first land purchase was from the government in 18334, a 400 acre tract, paying about one dollar an acre. He sold it the following year for ten dollars an acre. this tract was located where sixteenth street runs today, south from 23rd (Avenue of the Cities) Avenue and a width of several blocks on either side. This area was later known as Stewartville and was and is home to some of our Park relatives.
Finley discovered coal on the south face of the Moline bluffs, overlooking the Rock River, and opened what was then the second coal mine in the area. This along with farming, became the business and mainstay of his and James's growing family. The home site in Coal town was located just south and a little west of the present John Deere Administration Center, according to the Hunter genealogy, written by Allyn Hunter.
By the time the Rock Island County census was taken in 1855, Finley at age 50 was a man of property and substance. His and Jane's children numbered ten and were beginning to be married, five of them to Hunters. Life for that time must have been good. However, on 6 January 1860, at the age of 55, John Finley Griffin died. He left a wife who, unable to read or write, still had to raise the younger children and try to keep things going.
He didn't live to see five of his sons go off to serve in the Civil War, nor to bear the grief of knowing one of them would never return. Jane did, and struggled through as women alone have always done. We have no record of her last years, but from the way her children turned out, she must have been a strong woman and role model. She died in 1871, aged 61."
[Transcribed 09 April 2007, SLJuhl, compiler]