Phinney Family of Maine and New York
The Phinney Family
of Maine and New York


Robert F. Delaney

May 2009

The connection between the Delaney lineage and the Phinney family is through Horace Adams Phinney, the grandson of Thomas F. Phinney of Maine. About 1924, Horace married Loretta F. Delaney, the daughter of John Francis and Margaret (Montgomery) Delaney of Brooklyn, New York. I backed into research about the Phinney family because of the connection to my Delaney ancestors and, as a result, the information presented here is not extensive at this time. Much more research needs to be done about the Phinney family. Individuals researching the Phinneys are invited to contact me.

The earliest member of this Phinney line that I have found is Thomas Files Phinney who was born September 3, 1833. Thomas married Sarah Elizabeth Pitcher on October 31, 1858. By 1870, Thomas F. Phinney and his his family was living in the City of Belfast, Waldo County, Maine. Thomas is listed as a farmer in the 1870 U.S. Census and the family has a personal estate worth $1800. Both Sarah and Thomas are listed as being 38 years of age. When the census was enumerated on July 5, 1870, the couple's third child, Warren Rice Phinney was only eight months of age, having been born in September of 1869. Although the 1870 Census provides some insight into the the makeup of the family, the 1880 Census provides even more detailed data about the Phinneys.

By 1880 we find the Phinney family living in Thomaston, Knox County, Maine.1 According to this census, the couple's first child, Horace Coleman Phinney, had been born in Maine about 1861, which is confirmed by the 1900 U.S. Census where we find his birth recorded as June 1861. Two or three years years later, the couple's second son, Clifford Nathaniel Phinney had been born in Maine. Because his age in the 1880 census is given as sixteen and as five in the 1870 census data, the birth probably took place in 1864. Warren, now ten, is the third child listed in the 1880 enumeration. In 1880, at age 46, Thomas is working as "overseer of the prison," which likely was the state prison located at Thomaston from 1824 until it was moved in 2002 to Warren, Maine.3,8 Sarah,also age 46, was "keeping house," and Horace, at age eighteen, was a "teacher."3 The other two children, ages sixteen and ten, are "at school." While the children's ages in 1880 appear to be consistent with information provided ten years earlier, there is a two-year discrepancy in the ages given for Thomas and Sarah. Now they are each supposedly only 46, whereas only ten years earlier they were each 38 years of age.

About 1895, Horace Coleman Phinney married Sarah Estelle Clark, who was born in England in July of 1871.4 It is worth noting that Howard Finney's book places the marriage at September 12, 1884, but that seems unlikely.5 In September of 1899 their first child, Horace Adams Phinney, was born in Maine.6 Shortly after Horace's birth, the family appears to have relocated to New York City, where they are listed in the 1900 Census as renting quarters at "New 8" West 99th.7 Horace C. Phinney, the father, at age 38 is engaged in real estate work. His wife Sarah is 28 years old and their son Horace is eight months of age.

The couple's daughter, Beryl Isabelle Phinney, was born in New York City on May 4, 1903.9

By 1910, the family has moved northward to 612 West 140th Street, where they are renting an apartment.10 The couple's son, Horace Adams Phinney, is now eleven years old. Horace Coleman Phinney continues to work in real estate and is listed in the 1910 census as a "broker."

The whereabouts of the Horace Coleman Phinney family between 1910 and 1930 has, so far, eluded me. However, in the 1930 U.S. Census, we find Sarah (Clark) Phinney, widow of Horace Coleman Phinney, living at 3506 169th Street in Queens, Flushing, New York, with her daughter Beryl's family.11 Beryl (Phinney) Maass and Albert Maass, who is a jewelry designer, have a two-year and two-month old son named Robert G. Maass.

By 1930, Horace Adams Phinney is already married to Loretta F. Delaney, and from there the story of our connection to the Phinney line continues.

1 1880 U.S. Census, T9, Roll 483, Page 261, ED 113, Sup Dist 2, Thomaston, Knox County, Maine.
2 Warren's age is listed as ten in the 1880 U.S. Census.
3 1880 U.S. Census
4 1900 U.S. Census - T623 Roll 1105 Sheet 26A ED 533 Sup Dist 1 Manhattan
5 Howard Finney, Finney-Phinney Families in America: Descendants of John Finney of Plymouth and Barnstable, Mass., and Bristol, R.I., of Samuel Finney of Philadelphia,, (W. Byrd Press, Richmond, Va., 1957). Although not unheard of, if the marriage had taken place in 1884 and if she was born about 1871, it would mean that she was only 14 years old at the time. Also, the first child was not born until 1899, which would put an interval of fifteen years between the marriage and the first child, which seems unlikely.
6 1900 U.S. Census, op. cit.
7 The meaning of "New" next to the street address is unclear. The census lists another family living at "Old 8" West 99th.
8 Wikipedia (February 2007):
9 1910 U.S. Census - T624 Roll 1027 Sheet 14A ED 705 Sup Dist 1 Ward 12 Manhattan.
10 Ibid.
11 1930 U.S. Census - T626 Roll 1595 Page 4B ED 283 Queens, NY. Note: As of May 2009, the index on indicates "Maasch" whereas the census form itself shows quite clearly that the surname was written as "Maass." There is, however another letter or mark between the surname and first name on the census record.

Image of Main Street in Thomaston, Maine
Main Street - Thomaston, Maine

larger image
Image of Plaque - Main State Prison at Thomaston - Closed February 11, 2002
Maine State Prison

larger image