University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Richard W. Finley Papers, 1883-1915

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Finley, Richard W.
Title: Finley, Richard W. Papers
Dates: 1883-1915
Abstract: The Richard W. Finley Papers include correspondence, speeches, a campaign scrapbook of newspaper clippings, a map, an expense book, and printed material pertaining to Finley's career as Texas State Comptroller and the Knights of Honor of Texas.
Accession No.: 1938; 73-138
Extent: 1 ft., 5 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Richard Watson Finley (1851-1937), son of Reverend Robert S. and Mary H. (Cole) Finley, was born in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. As a child, his family moved to Texas. He was educated at Marshall College and then relocated to Jefferson, where he was employed as a store clerk. He next moved to Queen City, where he served as a justice of the peace and owned a successful cotton warehouse business. In 1883 he settled in Austin, working in the office of the comptroller of public accounts as a clerk and later as chief bookkeeper.

A loyal democrat, Finley supported and befriended James Stephen Hogg, who appointed him financial agent for the Texas penitentiaries. In 1894 he was elected State Comptroller and served in that position for two terms, resigning in 1898 to work in the private business sector in Austin. He became a representative for the United States Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry Company and an insurance agent for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Furthermore, he founded the Southwestern Water Works Association and served as director of the Austin National Bank.

Finley married Texana Blalock in 1873, and they had eight children. He and his brother, Newton Webster Finley, belonged to numerous organizations including the Knights of Honor of Texas, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Freemasons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Methodist Church. Finley died in 1937.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Finley, Richard Watson," (accessed July 8, 2010).

Scope and Contents

The Richard W. Finley Papers, 1883-1915, include correspondence, speeches, a campaign scrapbook of newspaper clippings, a map, an expense book, and printed material. The papers pertain to Finley’s activities as State Comptroller and to his association with the Knights of Honor of Texas.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

Unrestricted use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Finley, Richard Watson, 1851-1937--Archives.
Klein, August
Knaggs, George
Subjects (Organizations)
Knights of Honor
Texas. Comptroller’s Office
Austin (Tex.)
Cotulla (Tex.)
Victoria (Tex.)
New Orleans (La.)--Maps

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Richard W. Finley Papers, 1883-1915, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ralph Elder, August 1978.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2D143 Campaign scrapbook of newspaper clippings
Map of New Orleans
Correspondence, speeches, 1889-1900
Expense book and clippings
Printed materials on Knights of Honor of Texas
4L13 Knights of Honor of Texas:
Abstract of membership, subordinate lodge, William P. Cole, Grand Reporter, 1889-1912
4N8g List of Knights of Honor lodges in Texas and location and number
4N40f Journal of Grand Lodge, 1883-1892
4N40g Journal of Grand Lodge, 1904-1915
4N40h Journal of Grand Reporter, Grand Lodge, accounts, 1891-1904
4N40i Cash book of subordinate, 1889-1904
4N40j Ledger of the Grand Lodge, 1904-1913
4L30 Membership record, 1903
4L31 Cash book of Grand lodge, 1893-1904
4L32 Journal and ledger, 1889