Samuel Finley

1715-1766. Presbyterian minister and educator. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to America after 1730 and studied under William Tennent, Sr.* at the “Log College” in Neshaminy, Pennsylvania, for the Presbyterian ministry. He was licensed in 1739 by the pro-revivalist Presbytery of New Brunswick and sent on itinerations as the Great Awakening* grew in intensity. A fiery preacher of repentance and divine grace and forgiveness, he defended the “New Side” (revivalist) position in a pamphlet war with John Thomson. Finley was aligned with the positions on excesses held by Jonathan Dickinson* and Jonathan Edwards.* He founded an academy on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border which helped to feed the College of New Jersey with youth aspiring to the New Side ministry. He became one of the early trustees of the new college at Princeton in 1746, was elected its fifth president in 1761, and served in that post until his death five years later.