An early settlers of the county was Matthew Findley, who settled near the Yellow Banks. He was of Irish parentage and born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, January 11, 1793, where he resided with his parents until he was seventeen years old, when his family removed to Muskingum county, Ohio. In the latter place on reaching manhood he married Miss Elizabeth Blackburn, and settled down to farming.
In October, 1835, he removed to Warren county, and spent the following winter on a farm near the present site of Kirkwood. In the spring of 1836 he removed to and settled in Sec. 36, T. 11 R. 5 W., in then Warren county, where three of his sons and one unmarried daughter still reside. He raised a family of six children, four sons and two daughters, all of whom survive him: David M., Alexander, Matthew M., John Q., Sarah, and Eliza Jane. David, one of the brothers, resided near the old homestead, a prosperous and respected citizen, until 1875, when, on account of his health, he removed to San Luis Obispo county, California, where he now resides, engaged extensively in farming. The other three brothers still reside on or near the place upon which their father first settled, engaged in extensive and successful farming. The father died at his home, surrounded by his family and friends, April 1, 1863. He had been chosen by the votes of his fellow citizens to county offices, the duties of which he discharged with signal fidelity. He was justly entitled to the reputation he enjoyed among his fellow citizens of an honest man. His wife did not long survive him, and in her death a tragic event occurred.

It was on September 25. 1863, that Mrs. Findley, who resided with her son and daughter on the old home place, told, her daughter that she was going out to pick some wild grapes that grew near the edge of a corn field not far from the house, in a skirt of timber, as she was very fond of them. Her daughter sought to dissuade her from going, as she was old and feeble, although in good health, but the old lady replied that she could go alone, as the distance was short, and she would not be absent long. She took her little tin bucket and started out at about three o'clock in the afternoon.

Her daughter being engaged in work did not fear any danger, although her mother was absent for a considerable length of time.    At last, her mother not returning, the daughter grew anxious, looked out for her.    She became alarmed and sought her brother and told him of the mothers absence. They, together with other members of the family, went in haste to make search for their mother. Night set in and they found her not.

They searched every path and place where she might have wandered, the friends assisting, and with lanterns and torches they still continued their efforts until at last some time after darkness had set in they came upon the lifeless remains of their mother. She. lay near a small tree, upon the ground where she had been picking grapes, her bucket by her side. At first it was supposed that she had fallen, perhaps with some sudden attack incident to old age, and had thus died.   They took her up and mournfully proceeded to carry her to their home. She was buried in the family cemetery.

The friends felt that a mystery was connected with her death.  On the day following her burial it was learned that two boys from Oquawka had been in the vicinity where the body was found, on the afternoon of her death, hunting, and that they had told that one of them had fired at something in a grapevine or tree in the thicket, that he thought was a turkey, and that he saw something like a person fall. The boys were frightened and fled without looking to see what they had  shot. The body was exhumed, and R. W. Riehey, county judge, acting as coroner, held an inquest on the body. Upon surgical examination being made, it was found that a leaden shot had penetrated through the upper lid of the eye and entered the brain, causing death in a short time.   

The boys, Frank Dallam and Greely Mathews, aged respectively fourteen and and ten years, admitted being in the vicinity and shooting as above described, but claimed that they had no knowledge or intention of doing anything wrong.    The friends of Mrs. Findley never charged or believed that the act was an intentional one, but felt that it was the result of that reckless habit of neglect on the part of parents in permiting such mere boys to have the control of fire arms to use at their pleasure.    Many casualities, for we cannot call them accidents, have occurred in this county by allowing such reckless, not to say criminal, use of fire arms by inexperienced boys.     This should have been a sufficient lesson, teaching those who have charge and care of such boys, to lay a more careful restraint upon them in this direction.    The coroner's jury, in this case, found a verdict in accordance with the facts herein stated.


History of Mercer and Henderson Counties.


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