One of the men who has stamped the impress of his strong individuality
upon the minds of the people of Clay county in a manner as to render him one
of the conspicuous characters of this locality, is the subject of this
sketch, one of the prominent attorneys of the southern part of the
commonwealth of Illinois. Faithfulness to duty and a strict adherence to a
fixed purpose, which always do more to advance a man's interests than wealth
or advantageous circumstances, have been dominating factors in his life,
which has been replete with honor and success worthily attained.
Solomon T. Finch was born in Flora, Clay county, February 23, 1857, the son of Solomon T. Finch, who was born in Indiana and who came to Illinois in 1849, settling in Clay county. He was the first merchant in Flora, and was influential in the affairs of the pioneer days of this community. He was in business here until his death in 1857. The subject's paternal grandfather was also named Solomon. He was a native of New York, having removed from the Empire state to Southern Indiana, and was superintendent of the log cabin display in General Harrison's campaign in 1832. He came to Illinois with his father in 1849. His death occurred in 1851. The subject's mother was Bathsheba Long, who was a native of Virginia. She passed to her rest in 1872. She was a representative of a fine old southern family. Three children were born to the subject's parents, namely: Rebecca was born in 1852, and died when fifteen years old; Mary is the wife of J. M. Cunningham, of Flora, she having been the first child born in Flora, the date of her birth being 1854; Solomon T., the subject of this sketch, is the youngest child. The father of the subject moved to Flora in 1853, and engaged in the dry goods business.
Mr. Finch received his preliminary schooling in the common schools of Flora. He attended Loxa College in Coles county, this state. Desiring a higher education, he entered the University of Michigan in 1876, from which he graduated in 1879, from the law department, having made a brilliant record in the same. He was admitted to the bar in 1880, and has been engaged in practice ever since. He removed to Springfield in 1900, where he practiced for five years with his usual success, but he moved back to Flora in 1905, much to the satisfaction of his many clients and friends in Clay county.
Mr. Finch was united in marriage May 28, 1884, to Lillie E. Pearce, daughter of Frederick Pearce, who was born in England, having emigrated to the United States in 1858, when he was twenty years old. Lillie E. Pearce was born in Flora within one block of where Mr. Finch was born. Two sons have been born to the subject and wife, Earl D., who is associated with his father, is a graduate of the Springfield high school and also a graduate of the law department of the State University; Rollae D. also graduated from the Springfield high school, and is in 1908 a student in the medical department of Washington University, St. Louis. They are both bright young men, who give promise of brilliant careers.
Mr. Finch was nominated by the Democratic party for County Judge in 1898, but was defeated, however, by only one vote, although the county was largely Republican. He was also his party's nominee for State's Attorney in 1908, but went down in defeat with the rest of the ticket. He is engaged in the law and abstract business and his office is always a busy place.
In his fraternal relations he belongs to the Blue Lodge, Royal Arch and Knights Templar Masons. He organized and was the first chancellor commander of the Knights of Pythias in Flora. He also belongs to the Woodmen. He is a loyal Democrat. He belongs to the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Finch and their youngest son are members of the Methodist church.
Mr. Finch has seen many changes in Clay county during his lifetime. Progress has been made, doing away with the old landmarks and substituting in their places all the evidences of advanced civilization, and in all matters pertaining to the general good and improvement he has been deeply interested, nor has he withheld his aid when it has been solicited for the advancement of any public measure of worth, but on the contrary he has often been the instigator of movements that have resulted in permanent good to the community honored by his residence. He is a highly respected citizen, held in uniform regard by those who have known him through long years.
Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 226-228.