Bicentennial Biographies is a not-for-profit radio project designed to raise awareness and increase interest in local history. It is brought to you as a public service by the Chautauqua County Historical Society throughout 2011 to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday. To learn more, visit www.McClurgMuseum.org or contact your local historical society.
Alexander Findley came to the United States from Northern Ireland with his family in 1790 and eventually settled in Northwestern Pennsylvania. During his youth, he would hunt and fish in an area that is now the town of Mina. He liked the area so much that in 1811, he purchase land next to a small lake.
Four years after buying the property he built a dam and sawmill there, and the following year he established a permanent home, becoming the first resident in that area of the county. Because he was the area’s first settler, the lake was given the name “Findley’s Pond,” later renamed “Findley’s Lake.”
Others soon arrived, but his first dam flooded people’s land giving rise to lawsuits. The dam went out and before a second dam could be built, weeds and grasses grew and later decomposed under the water. This led to sickness for some area residents and more lawsuits. Soon the problem was resolved, and more settlers came into the area.
Findley was named Clymer commissioner of highways during the first town meeting in 1821. When Mina was set off from Clymer in 1824, he was named overseer of the poor and commissioner of schools. Findley had a total of 11 children, ten of which reached adulthood.
– J. Sample