WHERE FINNEY LIVED IN ADAMS
Finney lived in Adams from August 1818 until he left for Evans Mills in April 1824. During these six years he boarded with four different families. Finney kept an account book, which is now in the Oberlin Archives, in which he lists the places he stayed. First, during the few months he lived in Adams, he boarded with his employer Benjamin Wright and then with his brother John Wright a couple of years later:
In one entry he wrote, “Began boarding with John Wright, June 22 1818”. This was followed by, “Commenced boarding with Esq. Wright 9th November 1818”. After boarding there and other places, he wrote, “Commenced boarding at J. Wright’s 4th Sept 1820."
The 1864 map of Adams shows the B. Wright’s estate on the West side of Park Row, near Phelps Street. This is now just an overgrown lot now. An earlier record exists, which states that Judge Wright also lived on Church Street, near the Presbyterian Church.
He also lived with George Andrus, according to his account book, which says, “commenced boarding with George Andrus April 22nd, 1819.”
In his memoirs, Finney describes at length how he tried to lead Andrus to Christ. "Soon after I was converted, the man with whom I had been boarding for some time, who was a Magistrate and one of the principal men in the place, was deeply convicted of sin. He had been elected a member of the legislator of the state.”
Rev. George Gale, Finney’s first pastor, wrote about Andrus in his own autobiography, describing him as “a gentleman of fine appearance, and portly bearing in my congregation, and a regular attendant at church". Gale went on to write that in time Andrus become an alcoholic and died in poverty.
Finney mentioned in his memoirs that he had boarded for a time with Pastor George Gale and his family soon after he had become a Christian. 1.
In the fall of 1821, Gale had begun renting a house that had been the Bank of Jefferson County. The Bank had failed and moved to Watertown in the fall of 1819. William Hart bought the building and rented it to Pastor Gale. In Gales autobiography, he described it as "a double, large two-story brick house, much larger than we wanted, but as houses of that kind were not often wanted, and we could rent it comparatively low, and there was some good room in it that we could occupy, we moved in. It was near the church also, and in a pleasant part of town." 2.
In fact, it is located on the lot almost beside the church. After Gale moved away, it changed hands many times, and was even used as a private school. Today, it is used as an apartment building. The present address is 37 East Church Street. This was the last place Finney lived in Adams and the only place that I have been able to document with certainty.
1. Taken from Finney’s Memoirs, Chapter 4. His Doctrinal Education and Other Experiences at Adams
2. George W. Gale’s Memoirs were typed out by his daughter Margaret Gale Hitchcock, but were never published. They are available through the library system.
3. George W. Gale’s Memoirs, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Knox County, Munsell Publishing Company,1899.
4. 1864 Map of Adams, NY
5. Photo of house by Penn Clark