Lillian May Virgin was born October 6, 1877 to Judge Daniel Webster Virgin and Mary Raycraft Virgin in Genoa, Douglas County, Nevada. Lillian was educated at the Nevada State University, graduating in 1897 and was a teacher in the Nevada towns of Clear Creek, Genoa, Glenbrook, Golconda and Goldfield. In February 1907 Lillian married Louis Serratt Finnegan, a prominent Goldfield businessman, at her home in Genoa. He is listed in the Goldfield Business Directory of 1907-08 as Secretary of the Goldfield North Star Mining Co.
In the Spring of 1914 Lillian Virgin Finnegan was a member of the Douglas County Equal Franchise Society. Anne Martin, Nevada Equal Franchise Society President, acknowledges Lillian’s work in her Memoirs.
Lillian and Louis built a small house on the property of her parents in Genoa, so they spent much time there. In 1919 Lillian suggested the idea of a dance and homemade candy sale to raise money to purchase street lights for Genoa, NV. This very successful event, now called the Genoa Candy Dance, will celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2019.
After Nevada women gained the right to vote Lillian remained active in civic matters. In 1933, Lillian was on the board of the Douglas County Civil Works Administration to choose the projects for 45 men given jobs there.
Louis S. Finnegan died on July 13,1926, while on business in Cisco, TX. Lillian died in Genoa, NV on February 6, 1938 at the age of 60. They are both buried in the Virgin family plot of the Genoa Cemetery in Douglas County, NV.
In August of 1919, Lillian Virgin Finnegan will be honored in Genoa, NV with a bronze statue in her likeness, to be placed on the Main Street of the town.
- Austin E. Hutcheson. “The Story of the Nevada Equal Suffrage Campaign: Memoirs of Anne Martin,” University of Nevada Bulletin Vol. XLII: No. 7 (August 1948).
- Douglas County Historical Society, Genoa Courthouse Museum – Courtroom, exhibit, 2014.
- Goldfield, Esmeralda Co., NV – 1907-1908 Business Directory. Usgwarchives.net
- Nevada State Journal. “…the latter on her way to Golconda…,” January 7, 1899, p. 3.
- Reno Evening Gazette. “45 Men Given Douglas Jobs,” December 5, 1933, p. 8.
- The Daily Appeal (Carson City, NV). “…Miss Lillian Virgin…of the Goldfield School”
- September 15, 1906, p. 1.
- The Daily Appeal (Carson City, NV). “A Well Known Lady Wedded.” February 27, 1907, p. 1.
- Town of Genoa, Nevada USA – Candy Dance Story. http://www.genoanevada.org/thecandydancestory.htm
- U.S. Censuses 1900, 1920, 1930. Ancestry.com
- Western States Marriage Index, 1908-2011. Ancestry.com