Ahnentafel Chart for Nicholas "Nicolai" Finley
David Charles “Chalk” Courchane March 18, 2009
Nicholas "Nicolai" Finley was born about 1816 in , ,
Nicholas married Suzette
(Josephte), daughter of Cayuse and Palouse, on 4 Mar 1848 in St.Francis
Jacques Raphael "Jocko" Finlay was born in 1768 in Finlay Fort,
Appendix A - Notes
1. Nicholas "Nicolai" Finley
REL: Letter to
!REL: Letter to
!CENSUS: 1860; US; W.T.; Spokane
!CENSUS: Flathead Reservation.
!MAR/REL: Marriage record of
Antoine & Rosalie Plouffe; St.Paul Mission;
!BAPT/REL: Baptism of Francois,
Nicholas & Suzette Finley; St.Paul Mission;
!BAPT/REL: St.Paul Mission Church Records; p.9; #16; Josette Marie Finley.
!BAPT/REL: St.Paul Mission Church Records; baptism of Francois Finley.
!DEA: St.Francis Regis Mission; W.T.; Burial Book.
!REL: Gonzaga Notes; from Mrs. Leda
Finley; 27 Jan 1988;
1. Occupation: trapper and hunter.
2. According to Basil Finley's allotment record #1307. He and Rose Finley were 1/2 brother and sister to Koostah,
Miquam, Penache, & Margaret Finley.
1849 St.Francois Regis, p1:
Nicolas - 4 Martii Nicolas Finley 33 annorum nater ex Jacobo Finley ex uxor Spocanne (above uxor is written
sometime that is too small to read).
Patrinus Alexander Guerret (vulgo, Dumon)
Josette Finley (PS Nic.) sm/ 4 Mar 1849
4 Mar 1849
From St. Francis Regis Mission,
Listed alphabetically according to christian (or first) name.
(In this group of records is inserted a book that seems to list names in some kind of census or status record thus:
No date has been determined for this book.
name tribe? baptism census? marriage? Page
Nicolas Finley sm 1 Mar 1849 1854 1 Mar. 1849
He and "Clementia" Finley are witnesses to the wedding of Laurence Silimoultshe & Therese Wpial on 23 May 1852 at
There is a discrepancy with his baptism date. It should be 4 Mar. 1849
5. Rosa Finley: son Louis; bapt. & born June 1862
Narcisse Finley born 24 Dec 1874; bt 9 May 1875
Father: Francis Finley; Mother: Julia Finley
NICOLAS FINLEY: aka Nicoli, Nicola, Niquala, & "Schwn-mui-miah"
Nicolas was the son of Jacques Raphael Finlay and a Spokane Indian woman, possibly Teskwentichina, who was the
mother of his sister, Margaret Finley Ashley. Census records indicate his birth date is about 1816. He grew up in the
Spokane House area. He probably traveled with his father and siblings on trapping hunts through out the Old Oregon
Territory. When his father Jocko died, Nicolas was about twelve years old. Nicolas was a engaged in trapping and
hunting at an early age as a "free
trapper" for the Pacific,
young to have been on John Work's Snake Brigades or preceding brigades, but he may have been on those of Francis
Ermatinger and Tom McKay.
From Bruce M. Watson:
Thomas McKay's trapping party (1834-35) apprentice
Snake Party (1835-36) apprentice (1836-37) middleman (1837-39) apprentice?
Flatheads (1841-43) trapper
Columbia Department (1843-44) trapper
Nancy Anderson [na
Fri 06/13/2008 1:18 PM
Nicholas Finlay was one of the servants in the Snake District establishment, Oct. 1839  Retired from the coast: Fort
Langley, John Finlay.
They were everywhere!
How're you doing? Hasn't this been the worse spring possible? We are actually getting our first spring like day today --
"...began work with the
In outfit 1844-45 money was owed to him from the previous outfit but he did not appear to work in 1844-46. He later
settled in the
45,and York Factory District Statements 1833-34; 1835-36; 1836-37; &
1840-41, and Fort Vancouver [Columbia] Abstracts of Servants' Accounts 1836-37 17 years old, native, 3 years of
service; 1837-38; 1838-39; 1841-42; 1842-43; 1843-44 and 1845-46.
We again notice him in 1842-44 at
Nicolas, son of Finlay, infidel" at
the Finley Camp. He himself was baptized
on March 4, 1849 at St.Paul's
He was known to have had at least two wives: Marie Iroquois and Suzette (Suzitt or Josette) a Palouse Indian who
was often referred to as a Cayuse. Her father may have been a Cayuse, but her mother was a Palouse. This is the tribe
she probably lived with. Not much is known about Marie Iroquois. She is mentioned in an 1851 baptism as the mother
of Nicolas' son, Francois. How long she was with Nicolas or if Nicolas had two wives at the same time, Marie and
Suzette is not clear. Suzette was born about 1818-1823 in the
time, moving to
Of his children it isn't very clear who was the actual mother, Marie or Suzette. Suzette is usually given as the mother
on the later Flathead Tribal allotment records. Seven children are known.
Nicolas lived in the
Alexander Dumont. In 1846 he lived near Tshimakain Mission. The missionaries Walker and Eells mentioned him in
Sometime prior to 1847, he moved south to
work for Marcus Whitman at the Waiilatpu Mission near
Walla. Here he became associated with the renegades Tom Hill and Joe Lewis. Early missionaries included him as
partners in this group of killers.
The following are excerpts dealing with his involvement in the Whitman Massacre:
WAIILATPU: THE SAGERS WEST; both by Erwin N. Thompson. From the former; p.65:
"With the wagons of 1847, a half-breed named Joe Lewis had arrived at Waiilatpu. Whitman soon learned that Lewis
was a troublemaker, but had no success in getting rid of him. When the epidemic struck, Lewis told the Cayuse that
Whitman was spreading poison in the air to kill off the tribe." (A measles epidemic which killed hundreds of Indians
was raging in the northwest.) "The more desperate of the Indians believed Lewis and decided to rid themselves of the
doctor who now seemed a man of evil design. In this belief, they were encouraged by Nicholas Finley, another half-
breed living near the
From the latter, Pages 87-88:
"Mention must be made too of a shady figure who also has been named as being one of the plotters. This was
Nicholas Finley, a half-breed living in a lodge within sight of the mission and married to a Cayuse woman." (Some
accounts say she was a Chinook.) "Finley's exact role is not described by any of the survivors of that fall, except that his
lodge was said to have served as a headquarters for the ringleaders and their followers. This may well have
been true and it may be that Finley was at least sympathetic with the Cayuses; but the lack of evidence strongly suggests
he was not a leader of the discontented and he was probably not an active participant in the events to
follow. Mary Saunders, the wife of Judge L.W. Saunders, and one of the few surviving adults to write about the
massacre said that Finley was sympathetic to the Cayuse. But from her account it would seen that Finley's own survival
was based partly on his being an
ex-employee of the
enough to stay alive. His concern for Whitman was outweighed by his concern for himself."
From MARCUS AND NARCISSA WHITMAN AND THE
OPENING OF OLD
p.201; Clifford M. Drury; The
Arthur H. Clark Co.;
"Joe Lewis moved into the lodge of Nicholas Finley..."
"McBean, in his letter of November 30,
1847, to the officials at
the half-breed, Nicholas Finley,
who was the first to carry news of the massacre to
Finley, the Indians killed the Whitman’s in retaliation, believing that Dr. Whitman was poisoning them in order to get
their property. Furthermore, Finley claims that Andrew Rodgers had told the Indians that he had overheard Whitman and
Spalding plotting to poison them. Finley claimed that Rodgers had been induced to tell what he had heard by being
promised immunity by the Cayuses. Of this McBean wrote: It was reported that it was not their intention to kill Mr.
Rodgers, in consequence of an avowal to the following effect, which he is
said to have made and which nothing but a desire to save his life could have prompted him to do. He said, `I was one
evening lying down and I overhead the Doctor telling Mr. Spalding that it was best you all should be poisoned at once,
but that the latter told him it was best to continue slowly and cautiously and between this and spring not a soul would
remain, when they would take possession of your lands, cattle, and horses.' Since Rodgers had been
killed in spite of the supposed immunity promised him, some explanation of this had to be made, so, according to
Finley's report to McBean, it was claimed that `One of the murders, not having been acquainted with the above
understanding, shot Mr. Rodgers.'
"McBean refused to believe such an
incredible story. In his report to
Indian reports, and no person can believe the Doctor capable of such an action without being as ignorant and
brutal as the Indians themselves.'
"It is time to say that because McBean considered the Indians "ignorant" and "brutal" and so was already biased to
anything Nicholas Finley would have said. He and later authors, such as Clifford Drury, were certainly prejudiced for
the Whitmans, who probably did not conspire to poison the Indians, but certainly wanted their land. Why would
Nicholas Finley say that Rodgers bargained with the Indians in the first place, if he was not involved with them some
how. Certainly some motive is missing. Like Whitman, Rodgers was only human, facing certain death sometimes makes
people act differently that they normally would under pleasant circumstances. Besides Nicholas Finley has a "clean
record" before and after the Whitman incident, a man who was at the wrong place at the right time, and who took the side
of the losers.
"Whitman decided to ask Nicholas Finley what he knew about any supposed plot. Finlay was sent for and when he
arrived, Whitman asked him: `I understand the Indians are to kill me and Mr. Spaulding. Do you know anything about it?
' Although Finlay was fully aware of what was to happen, since the conspirators had met in his lodge when they agreed
on their course of action, he brazenly professed ignorance by replying: `I should know doctor; you have nothing to fear;
there is no danger.'
p. 223: "This is when he should have left the country, but maybe he did think that things would be okay.
"On the day of the Whitman Massacre three half-breed boys escaped to Nicholas Finley's tepee, where he cared for
them. On November 30, 1847 when he got the chance
Nicholas slipped them into
been said that Nicholas and the other employee, Joseph Stanfield, went about the chore of milking the cows almost
casually in the midst of the carnage that day."
Footnote on p.229 of MARCUS AND NARCISSA WHITMAN: "The two Manson boys, John and Stephen, were
present during the first day of the
massacre and were then taken to
From pp. 234-235: "In the meantime, Mrs. Saunders, not knowing what had happened to her husband or the
Whitmans, and fearing for the safety of all the white women and children, decided to make a desperate appeal for mercy
to Chief Tiloukaikt through Nicholas Finley. She bravely ventured to leave the comparative safety of her room in the
emigrant house in order to call on Finley in his lodge. John Manson was at the lodge when Mrs. Saunders arrived and
has given us the following account of what happened. Since he was able to understand what the Indians were saying, his
recollections have special significance.
"`Soon Mrs. Saunders came up to the lodge where Mrs. Finley (an Indian woman), her sister and several other Indian
women were standing. Besides the Cayuse Indian women, there were some Walla Walla Indian men. The women
seemed friendly to Mrs. Saunders.
About four hundred feet away from the lodge was a hill that had three Indians on it looking over the plains. (Possibly
looking to see if anyone was approaching.) One of the Indians rode down to kill Mrs. Saunders, but Mrs. Finley
expostulated with him and he rode off. Then Chief Tiloukaikt rode down, shaking his hatchet over his head. He
threatened Mrs. Saunders with it, but again Mrs. Finley urged him to desist and he rode off. Then Edward Tiloukaikt,
the oldest son of the Chief, rode down very rapidly, shaking his tomahawk over his head and that of Mrs. Saunders with
fury. She had sunk down on a pile of matting in front of the lodge. But the Indian women shamed him and talked to him.
Then he rode off.
Mrs. Saunders then came to see me (John Mason) and kneeled down. She begged me to interpret for her to the Chiefs,
as she did not understand the language of the natives. She said: "Tell the Chiefs that if the Doctor and the
men were bad, I did not know it. My heart is good and I want to live. If they will spare my life, I will make caps, coats,
and pantaloons for them."
John interpreted for her as she pled with Tiloukaikt for the life of her husband and for the women and children. In all
probability her husband by that time had been killed, but of this she was unaware.
"What do they say, John?"
"They are talking about it."
After some consolation, Tiloukaikt and the other chiefs agreed that none of the women and children would be killed.
Mrs. Saunders then begged to let all who were in the main mission house to go to the emigrant house. Tiloukaikt gave
Mrs. Saunders then turned to John, while still on her knees, and begged: "John won't you go home with me?" John
replied: "I do not dare to go, but I will ask." Tiloukaikt then told Stanfield to take Mrs. Saunders back to her
quarters and to get her some meat. John's account continues: "Then Mrs. Saunders rose from her knees and went with Joe
Stanfield. The Chiefs and all the natives then left the lodge. They went to Dr. Whitman's house. Very soon, several
shots were fired there. Mr. Finley came and told us that three more had been killed. They were Mrs. Whitman, Mr.
Rodgers, and Francis Sager."'"
From page 243: "McBean was alarmed at the news that Hall had brought to him. Eager to get more information as to
what had actually taken place at Waiilatpu, he sent his interpreter, a man by the name of Bushman, on Tuesday morning
o make inquiry. In the meantime, Nicholas Finley left the mission with the three half-breed boys that same morning for
McBean for Finley to carry in which she listed the names of eleven people she thought had been killed. She included the
names of Osburn and Canfield, as she was unaware that both had escaped. Catherine, in her account of what happened
on Tuesday, said that when Bushman arrived at
Waiilatpu, he was so frightened by what he saw and heard that he `came only to the door and as soon as they assured him
that it was so, he left.'"
From page 267: "In the meantime, Finley with three half-breed boys had arrived at the fort. Finley delivered to
McBean the letter that Mrs. Saunders had written which listed the names of those she believed had been killed. On the
basis of this information, McBean
wrote that Tuesday evening to the `Board of Management' at
reported what he had heard. He also repeated a rumor that Finley had brought to the effect that the Cayuses were
planning to attack
"Even after the massacre he is said to have slandered the Whitmans, for some reason he did not like them. Although
the superior air of Narcissa would be reason enough for resentment and her discourtesy and rudeness to Indians and half-
breeds would make them dislike her.
"He next journeyed north to his homeland,
were fearful when they heard he was on his way north to see his brothers and the Spokanes."
From NINE YEARS AMONG THE SPOKANES: The Diary of Elkanah Walker -
1838-1848; Clifford M. Drury; 1976;
The Arthur H. Clark Co.;
"Several weeks of agonizing suspense followed the arrival of Old Solomon on December 9, 1847, with the first news
of the Whitman massacre. A number of questions cried out for an answer. What had happened to Spalding and his
family? What was the fate of Perrin Whitman and
Alanson Hinman at
held captive at Waiilatpu? But the most disturbing question of all was - what was to happen to them at Tshimakain? A
frightening possibility haunted their minds - would the hostile Cayuses attack their station and seek to kill them? This
was the situation at Tshimakain - they did not know what was going to happen -- events to follow in succession after the
ordeal at Waiilatpu were -- the Cayuse War, the rescue of Perrin Whitman and Hinman, the captives at Waiilatpu were
released mostly to Peter Skene Ogden's efforts, and the Spauldings were safely protected by the Nez Perce. But the
Tshimakain people were still jittery - Walker and Eells hoped
the Cayuse would stay in the south.
"It was .... early in February when the missionaries heard of an attempt being made by the Cayuses to induce Half-Sun,
or Sakatal-kukum, to join them in their expected conflict with the American soldiers. Half-Sun was a child of the "
Kowalchins" or "
that the Cayuse offered him "60
horses & 40 cows, the property of the (Whitman)
Fortunately for the missionaries, Half-Sun refused to become involved.
The possibility of the Cayuses
moving into the Palouse country alarmed Chief Factor Lewes at
urged the two missionary families at Tshimakain to take refure in his fort.
"A still more serious threat to the safety of the two families at Tshimakain came early in February when Nicholas
Finley arrived at the Finley- Dumont settlement for the purpose of persuading them and the Spokanes to join the Cayuses
in their war against the Americans. If Walker and Eells had only known the extent of Nicholas' involvement in the
Whitman massacre, they would have added reason for being alarmed.
Finleys (Nicholas) who has been sometime with the Cayuses. The report is that the Indians are collecting from all
quarters & that the whites are determined to make a grand sweep of the native in the whole land & that the Americans
were going to fight the (H.B.) Company as well as the Indians & that he had come up to get his friends to go down &
join the Cayuses & also that the Cayuses had said that we should not be molested.'
"Wednesday, Feb. 9, 1848: `I had a quiet night's rest but awoke in rather low spirits this morning. I have been most
anxious about the coming of Nicholas. I fear he has some evil design against us. Our Indians are much
moved, more I think than we are. I have tried to compose myself but without effect. I have had much talk with the Chief
ut he does not afford me much consolation. The idea that (Nicholas) has come up after his brothers & the people to join
the Cayuses makes it very evident that he is deeply implicated with them, or else he has to deal for his own safety--which
is difficult to tell. One thing is very certain, that if his brothers & the Spokanes join him, we are placed in a very
precarious situation & it will be impossible for us to remain here with any safety. .... I know not what course they will
pursue. My prayer is that God would lead them in the right course....O Lord, we are here to do thy work. I pray Thee
sustain & defend us & thy truth.
`The people are much alarmed on account of the report that the half breed brought, that all the Indians from this
region in the
report got up to induce the Indians in the upper country to join them. What effect it will (have) none can tell......
"Thursday, Feb. 10, 1848: `I have suffered more from excitement to day than at any previous time this winter. I have
been at the Chief's once or twice. He does not seem well pleased with the movement of things. I have been
expecting the half breeds all day but they have not made their appearance, I prayed, if ever it I did, that God could bring
all his (Nicholas') councils to nought & think that they will be frustrated so that the remainder of the wrath
of man will be restrained.
`The report is to night that all the Spokans are going to join the Cayuses, at least that was one report but it seems that
it was modified & that the chief at Spokan had sent word to our chief to remain here & take care of us......'
"Friday, Feb. 11, 1848: `I went with Mr. Eells after the horses & had a very pleasant ride. I have felt more calm to
day.....We heard to night that the half breed (Nicholas) who came up went back alone, but what his brothers will do, we
cannot tell. They do not appear to say much. I had worship with the people this evening. Some few attended.....'
"Sunday, Feb. 13, 1848: `I received another letter from Mr. Chief Factor Lewes, stating that things at that place had
taken a very serious turn & that they had been under arms ever since three o'clock that morning......'
"Monday, Feb. 14, 1848: `I wrote Mr. Lewes this morning giving him as fair account of things as I could and
requesting him to make some arrangements with the Finleys & Dumont to come here & stop awhile with us, until we
should see how things would go with us. I had a long ride after the horses. I did not like to go far from home & so left a
part of them. In the afternoon I sent an Indian to drive them in.....I went to see the Chief. He does not seem to mend
much. The people are anxious to know what course we are going to pursue & seem well satisfied with the idea of our
taking our families to
"Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1848: `I had last night some very interesting thoughts to me. I had a more hight & exalted view
of the happiness of heaven than common & what would constitute that happiness....I have not felt well to day & have
been low spirited all day. I spent considerable time at the lodges. Some Indians from above came in to day & reported
that none of the Spokans was induced to follow Nicholas. If this is really the case, it is encouraging....'
"Nicholas Finley had sided with the Cayuse Tribe after the Whitman ordeal and had been with them in the skirmishes
with the Americans on the Umatilla on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, 1848. The missionaries could breath easier once Nicholas
left the country, Cushing Eells wrote, `Thursday 30, Near night, reached the half-breed settlement. Here are four
families by the name of
Finley. The other man (
Kayuse woman for his wife. He, together with his family, is at the encampment of the Kayuse murderers. It is reported
that Nicholas is detained against his will, or if he leaves, shall not be allowed to take away his property. The statement is
camp. He says the Kayuse murderers were separated from the Paluses & gone off in an easterly direction; that Nicholas
Finley with his family is coming this way.'
Later Nicholas and two of his brothers, one said to have been Xavier, attempted peace overtures with the government
commissioners. From THE NEZ PERCE IN University of
"The evening after the fight between the forces of Gilliam and the Cayuse Indians, just after the Whitman incident--
February 1848--`Nicholas Finlay and his two brothers, who had been with the Cayuses, came into the American camp.
Nicholas was already suspected of having played a role in arousing the Cayuses against the Whitmans, and Newell wrote
that he "is a friend to the enemy in My opinion." However, Gilliam gave him a letter, which he promised to deliver to
McBean.' But fearing to be hanged he fled."
From MARCUS AND NARCISSA WHITMAN; pages 309-310: "(Joe) Lewis is reported to have settled in the Jocko
Valley in the Flathead country, in
what is now
he was joined by Nicholas Finley, in whose lodge at Waiilatpu the conspirators had
met to plan the killing of the Whitmans. Nicholas had a Flathead mother; this may have been the reason why he returned
to that part of the country. ....Lewis is reported to have been killed in an attempted stagecoach robbery in 1862, nearly
fifteen years after the Whitman Massacre.
"Before he left the
night Pishnot (Patrick Finley who was called Bish-ca-nah) & Nicholas Finley came in. I met & spoke with them. They
rather put themselves in my way or came out of their own to speak with me.'"
There is a sort of census that was made by
the priest at the St.Paul's
sometime in the 1850s which shows:
From FLATHEAD AND KOOTENAI; Olga W. Johnson; The Arthur H. Clark Co.; Glendale; p. 277; Footnote:
"Nicholas or Nicoli Finley, son of Jocko
was sometimes with two of his brothers and their half-breed friend
who had settled near what is now
Koostah (evidently Augustus, also
referred to as Yoosta) are mentioned in various accounts as residing in the
country during this period. A Finley descendant, Mrs. Arnold Trahan, writes that Nicholas was employed in 1846 at
Tshimakain, where he pitched his lodge."
On January 1, 1851 his son Francois was
baptized at St.Paul's
mother and Francois Morigeau as godfather. Francois was born on December 6, 1850 which indicates that his
parents were wintering in the
have been only an affair.
From St.Regis Mission,
In baptism number 47 on May 23, 1852 he is listed as godfather.
Dwelling #136; Family #94
Phinley, Nicolas age 32
trapper & hunter born in
$600.00 value personal property
age 41 born in
Angale age 18 " " " "
Francis age 8 " " " "
Mary age 4 " " " "
1886 Flathead Indian Census shows:
#1054 Finley, Nicholas age 70
#1055 Suzitt age 63 (note great age difference with above census)
#1056 Timothy age 28
#1057 Francois age 22
Carrie Orr's List of Nicholas Finley's children:
From FIRST WHITE WOMEN OVER THE
Arthur H. Clark, Co.;
"Thurs. 6 (Apr. 1848) -- `The Finlays have gone to bring off their brother from the Kayuses.'
"Sat. 8 (Apr. 1848) -- `The Finleys turned back & did not go for their brother.'"
p. 337: "One of the Finleys arrived from the seat of war. There had been one engagement. More than 300 Americans,
200 half breeds, 200 or 300 Kayuses were waring. 100 Nez Perces on their way to join the Americans. I hope matters
may be brought to a speedy close and the land again enjoy rest.."
and p. 288: "Tues. (Dec) 2 (1845) Traded this morning with one of the Finleys. Brought nine prs. of shoes & seven
deer skins for which I paid a kettle, knife, spoon, fire steel, a few pins & needles, a shawl, an old coat
of C's & an old dress of my own & a piece of Baize worth 20 loads. He seemed pleased with his trade & I am sure the
skins & shoes are worth more than I gave for them & probably the things are worth more to him than he paid for them...."
List of Servants - HBC - Film #1M7865 - Section B, Class 3, Sub.-Div.F - Piece 17:
Nicholas Finley -
" 1839 (Piece 19)
HBC Film #1M802; Section B239
page 43 Columbia Servants & Trappers - 1833 - piece 13
page 43 1834 - " 14
page 41 1835 - " 15
page 43 1836 - " 16
page 122 Native Apprentice
page 53 1838 - " 18
page 61 Native Middleman Snake Party 1839 - " 19
page 84 age 21 1840 - " 20
Two people who have shown some interest in Nicholas Finlay are Warren Louis "Tuck" Forythe of Ellensburg,
Washington (email@example.com), who compiled the book "Whitman Mission 29 Nov 1847 Families including some
Cayuse and Nez Perce", 1998; and Jean Roth, who wrote several articles on the Whitman Mission and at least one on
Nicholas Finley for the
work somewhere) and it seems to be a rehash of my article that has circulated for a number of years, with some of her
own conclusions. I understand she has a manuscript prepared, but I don't know it's title.