Appeals to the Privy Council
Report No. 02_1774_00

Finney v Bickerton

Finney v Byrne



Case Name Short

Finney v Bickerton

Finney v Byrne

Case Name Long

David, Robert, Elizabeth and Ann Dorothy Finney v Henry Bickerton et al

David, Robert, Elizabeth and Ann Dorothy Finney v James Byrne et al


Acts of the Privy Council, Colonial Series


APC Citation 

v.5 [306] p.402–403 – 28 October 1774 – entry 1

PC Register Citation 

George III v.11 (May 1774 – May 1775) p.237: PC 2/118/237


Colonial Courts

Supreme Court for the Delaware counties – April term 1773


Bickerton, Henry

Byrne, James

Finney, Ann Dorothy

Finney, David

Finney, Elizabeth

Finney, Robert

Martin, Mary (deceased widow of Patrick Martin)

Martin, Patrick (deceased husband of Mary Martin)


Land dispute among possible heirs with respondents Byrne, et al., according to Smith, claiming “as brothers and sisters of the half-blood of the intestate by virtue of a colonial act which was contrary to the common law and had not received royal approbation,” attempting to advance Winthrop v Lechmere as applicable.


Finney v Byrne was never argued due to the Revolutionary War, according to Smith (p.653).


During this period the lower Delaware counties were in fact a part of the colony of Pennsylvania, but they retained a fair amount of autonomy, including their own Supreme Court.

References in Smith, Appeals to the Privy Council from the American Plantations

Table of Cases (Finney v Byrne)

Additional Sources

The American Philosophical Society holds a manuscript copy of the appellant’s printed case. Also note that two letters from David Finney to Benjamin Franklin can be found in the Franklin Papers. The letter dated February 27, 1774 describes Finney’s request for Franklin’s assistance in proceeding with the appeal. The letter of July 10, 1781, long after the Declaration of Independence and as the Revolutionary War was still being waged, concerns Finney’s attempt to learn if a judgment was ever given by the Privy Council. An opinion of Richard Jackson on the Finney case rendered in May 1774 is also referenced as being included in the Franklin Papers.


Printed Cases

Not found

Privy Council Documents in PC 1 at The National Archives at Kew

Not found