Friday, June 24, 2016

Woodland Page Finley (1851-1923)

From the Portrait and Biographical Record of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

   A two-term member of the Maryland State Senate, Woodland Page Finley is the first Maryland political figure to be profiled here since Truly Hatchett's write up in February of last year. Born in Queen Anne's County, Maryland on March 15, 1851, Woodland P. Finley was one of sixteen children born to Washington Finley and the former Sarah A. Harrison. A prominent figure in his own right, Washington Finley was a physician and three-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates, as well as a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention of 1867.
   Bestowed the odd name "Woodland" upon his birth, Woodland P. Finley's early years were spent on the family farm in Queen Anne's County and he would attend school at the West Nottingham Academy. He took charge of the family homestead in 1875 and married in that same year to Catherine O. Coppedge, with whom he had four children. A farmer by occupation, Finley owned a "landed estate" that comprised 450 acres devoted to farming and stock raising. In addition to the above Finley dabbled in banking for time, serving as a director for the Queen Anne's National Bank of Centerville
   In 1893 Woodland Finley was thrust into the political life of his native state when he was elected to a vacancy in the Maryland State Senate, this vacancy coming about due to the resignation of John Brewer Brown (1836-1898), who had been elected to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland's 1st Congressional district. Finley's ascension to the state senate was highlighted in the Baltimore Herald, which acknowledged him as "a modest, but able man."

From the Baltimore Sunday Herald.

    In 1894 Woodland Finley was elected to a term of his own in the state senate, beginning a four-year term that extended from 1895-99. During this term he served as chairman of the committees on Agriculture and Labor, and also held seats on the committees on Pensions, Public Institutions, Public Buildings at Annapolis and Roads and Bridges. 
   Little is known of Finley's life following the conclusion of his senate term. He died at his home at "Locust Hill" on February 4, 1923 at age 71. He was survived by his wife Catherine and was interred at the Church Hill Cemetery in Church Hill, Maryland.

                                                         Portrait courtesy of the State Archives of Maryland.

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