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Frederick Otto Gustav Fincke
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Birth: Jan. 8, 1848
Saxony (Sachsen), Germany
Death: Sep. 29, 1893
South Australia, Australia

Born in Germany, but left, for America, with his family at a very early age, due to the political strife in the country, at that time;s on of Frederick Gustav Fincke. His family lived at New York, at which city Frederick enlisted, on February 7, 1862, in the Union Navy, and went aboard the receiving vessel NORTH CAROLINA, at Brooklyn, for his basic induction in the service; at the time of his enlistment, he was shown as having hazel eyes, brown hair, fair complexion and standing 4 feet 8 ½ inches tall; transferred, as 3rd class boy, on February 20, 1862, to the gunboat, USS Cayuga, commanded by lieutenant commander Napoleon B. Harrison; the USS Cayuga was subsequently involved in the attack on Forts Jackson and St. Philip, below New Orleans, Louisiana; Fincke lost
his left leg (through amputation, below the knee) during this attack, when a shell exploded aboard the vessel, on April 24, 1862; Samuel Massa, the paymaster's clerk aboard the USS Cayuga at this time, mentions, in his journal of the events of that day, that Fincke was acting as powder boy, and was standing next to Massa when Fincke had his leg shot, and that, later that morning, Massa assisted in the amputation of Fincke's leg; the medical journal of the USS Cayuga, for April 24, 1862 shows that Fincke was admitted with a compound commuted fracture of both bones of the left leg, involving the ankle joint, and, after a consultation with assistant surgeon Robinson of the USS Katahdin, it was deemed necessary to amputate at the junction of the middle, and the lower third of the leg; on April 30, 1862, Fincke was sent to the Naval hospital at Pilot Town, on the Mississippi River, Louisiana, under the care of surgeon Philip S. Wales; while being carried ashore at Pilot Town, it was found that considerable secondary haemorrhage took place, from the medulla portion of the tibia, and Dr. Wales removed an additional piece of bone from the stump; then transferred, from June 7, 1862, to June 21, 1862, aboard the USS Connecticut, to the Naval hospital at Brooklyn, New York; Fincke was supplied with an artificial leg, and discharged from the Naval service at the New York Navy yard, on June 8, 1864; personal description at the time of discharge stated as 5 feet 2 inches tall, dark eyes, dark hair and dark complexion; in a letter dated at Brooklyn, New York, February 23, 1864, from a "Mamie E.M." to "Dear Uncles", a statement is made that "….I suppose they will heartily concur with me in thinking that Gustav Fincke is a very noble boy. I should think there were not many boys who would act as he has done….."; subsequently appointed as acting master's mate at the Naval rendezvous in North Square, Boston, Massachusetts, where he served from June, 1864, until May, 1865, when his appointment was revoked, his services being no longer required; during his time at the Boston Navy Yard, his treatment continued, as one statement on his Naval Hospital ticket, indicates that he was sent to the Naval Hospital at Chelsea, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1864, affected with "conical stump"; subsequent service from July 10, 1865, when he was ordered to New York, to September 27, 1865, when his appointment was once more revoked (according to Fincke the reason the appointment was revoked was unknown to him, but official documentation shows that he was caught stealing stamps, while working in the Naval post office); after leaving the service he went first to Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia, then to Adelaide, in South Australia, where he worked as a jeweller's assistant at P. Falk and Company; married Elizabeth Schroder, on January 1, 1874, at St. Paul's Church, Adelaide; Frederick filed for the United States government Naval invalid pension on June 23, 1875, from Adelaide, giving his postal address as Messrs. P. Falk and Company, of Gawler Place, Adelaide; at this time he appointed, as his lawful attorney, Frederick Gustav Fincke, Bellasylva, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, to prosecute his claim; Frederick, due to illness, lost his situation as a working jeweler, on September 1, 1886, and from then on, his situation rapidly declined, due to creditors; a legacy from his grandmother, of a hundred pounds, did not help at all; yet he was able to purchase a house and land at Goodwood Park, Adelaide, from M. H.A. Clark for 75 pounds cash, in February, 1888; however the house was subject to a further mortgage of one hundred and fifty pounds; some months later, in October of that same year, however, he transferred ownership of the house and land to Mrs. Eliza Griffin; declared as an insolvent, in the Insolvency Court, at Adelaide, in April, 1889, documents even showing that he owed his brother, Frederick Charles Fincke of Bellasylva, Pennsylvania, fifty pounds; Insolvency documents showing his assets and liabilities also indicate that he was allowed fifteen pounds every five years, by the United States government, to procure a new artificial leg; in January, 1891, Fincke's doctor, Hynes, stated, in a dispatch, that Fincke was totally disabled, and that his condition had worsened, and his amputated stump had begun to discharge; Hynes also indicated that Fincke was suffering from a pulmonary disorder, caused probably by purulent material from the bone in the tibia; Fincke was also shown to be a member, in 1891 and 1892, of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Adelaide district branch; another address that Fincke supplied to the pension department, in May, 1891, was care of G.H.C. Meyer, of the German Club, on Pirie Street, Adelaide; died at Nelson Street, Adelaide, on Friday, September 29, 1893; buried, on October 1, 1893, in a pauper's grave at the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide; after his death, his widow, Elizabeth (who was in destitute circumstances, and had to make a living washing), applied for, and continued to receive the pension, until she remarried on October 20, 1897; it was also found, after the death of Frederick, that he was not an American citizen as was thought, but a subject of the German empire, as noted in a letter from the American consul at Melbourne, dated May 28, 1896, and addressed to the assistant Secretary of States in Washington, D.C.; another letter, dated May 6, 1896, addressed to the Consul General in Melbourne, from Charles Murphy, the executor of Fincke's estate, revealed that Fincke's brother, in Pennsylvania, had actually sent over payment for a tombstone to be erected over the grave of Frederick O.G. Fincke, in the West Terrace Cemetery, and that a tombstone had actually been ordered, yet this was never done.


Record Group 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library – Orders – Acting Master's Mates, 1864-1890, National Archives; Navy Widows' Certificates, Frederick O.G. Fincke #11200;

Journal of Samuel Massa, paymaster's clerk aboard the CSS Cayuga, original held at the Syracuse University Library;

United States, Naval Hospital Tickets and Case Papers, 1825 – 1889, at;

Adelaide Advertiser dated Monday, 1 April, 1889, page 3 – Insolvency Court, Adelaide, and Wednesday, 21 January, 1891, page 6 – Friendly Societies;

South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide) dated Saturday, 23 January, 1892, page 9; Schedule…Estate of Frederick O.G. Fincke, Adelaide, Pensioner, 5855, filed in the Court of Insolvency, 18th April, 1899;

Adelaide Cemeteries Authority search facility at;

e-mail message from Pat Pflieger ( dated Thursday, 6 January, 2000. 
West Terrace Cemetery
South Australia, Australia
Plot: Remains interred in common ground, but a plaque, to mark his service, stands at the entrance to the cemetery.
Created by: Terry Foenander
Record added: Mar 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25009572
Frederick Otto <i>Gustav</i> Fincke
Added by: Terry Foenander
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