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Sgt William Franklin Finck

Sgt William Franklin Finck

Birth
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 5 Dec 1921 (aged 78)
Ohio, USA
Burial Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, USA
Plot 2, 22, 26
Memorial ID 648064 · View Source
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Memorial currently under development. Note: A fellow Find A Grave member recently suggested that William Finck was born in Paradise, Lancaster County based on family tree data discovered on Ancestry.com; however, this birth location is incorrect. According to "Genealogical Annals of Anthony and Barbara Eschbach," William Finck's mother, Sarah (Eschbach) Finck "was born at Paradise, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, July 6, 1812," and was confirmed and married at the Reformed Church near Paradise in Northumberland County (not to be confused with the community of Paradise in Lancaster County). Sarah and her husband "settled in Turbut Township, near the Paradise Church, and here all their children, six number [including William F. Finck], were born."


BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS

Born on 8 April 1843 in Turbot Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, William Franklin Finck was a son of David Finck and Sarah (Eschbach) Finck. Sarah, who had been born at Paradise in Norhumberland County and baptized there as an infant, was confirmed by Rev. Henry Wagner at the Reformed Church in Paradise in 1828. She was also united in marriage there by Rev. Wagner to her husband, David Fink, on 10 November 1831.

Baptized by Rev. Daniel Gring, William Franklin Finck was confirmed by Rev. George Wolff.

William spent his formative years in Northumberland County with his parents and siblings: Anthony Romig (born 30 October 1832, baptized at the Paradise Reformed Church in 1838); Barbara Sabina (born in Turbot Township 24 September 1834, also baptized by Rev. Wagner); Sarah Elizabeth (born 27 January 1836, died 21 November 1836, interred in the cemetery adjoining the Paradise Church); Abraham Jacob (born 26 July 1837, baptized by Rev. Gring); and David Eschbach (born 9 May 1839, also baptized by Rev. Gring).

William's oldest brother, Anthony Romig Finck, M.D., Ph.D., later received both his medical and an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Pennsylvania, married Maryland native, Susan Athalia Fechtig, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and had three sons, one of whom also became a physician. William's sister, Barbara Sabina Finck, married and was widowed by Ohio native, Isaac Higgins Rozelle, with whom she had three sons and four daughters. William's brother, Abraham Jacob, also served in the Civil War and also returned home to Milton in Northumberland County following his military service. William's brother, David Eschbach Finck, wed Maria Phillips on 21 March 1861. They welcomed six daughters and two sons to the world before she widowed him on 17 February 1881. Later that same year, on 27 October, David remarried - to Sarah Margaret Dewalt. (David Eschbach Finck and his second wife would welcome another six children to the world.)

CIVIL WAR MILITARY SERVICE

By the dawn of the Civil War, William F. Finck was still residing in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania - but in Sunbury, rather than at the Finck family home in Milton.

He enrolled for Civil War military service at Sunbury, Northumberland County on 19 August 1861 at the age of 18, and mustered in as a Private with Company C (the "Sunbury Guards") of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers on 2 September 1861 at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

Military records describe him as a being 5'8-1/2" tall with light hair, gray eyes and a light complexion who was employed at a farmer at the time of his enlistment.

Following a brief training period in light infantry tactics, William Finck and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians were shipped by rail to Washington, D.C. where they were initially stationed at Camp Kalorama in Georgetown about two miles from the White House. After being formally mustered in with his regiment to the U.S. Army, he and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians were marched onto Virginia soil where they ultimately made camp and defended the nation's capital through early January 1862.

1862 - 1863

Sent to the Deep South with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers in January 1862, William Finck and his regiment arrived at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida in early February. There, they garrisoned the fort, felled trees and built new roads until being shipped north to for duty in and around Beaufort and Hilton Head, South Carolina that summer.

Sent back to Florida in late September, William Finck and the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers participated in the capture of Saint John's Bluff, Florida from 1-3 October 1862 and the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina just a few short weeks later (from 21-23 October). Ordered to garrison duty again at Key West, Finck and half of the 47th Pennsylvania remained there through all of 1863 and the opening days of 1864 while the other half of the regiment was sent to garrison Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Florida, and one company - Company A, was sent to reinvigorate the federal fort at Fort Myers, Florida (in early January 1864).

While stationed at Fort Taylor in Key West, William F. Finck re-upped for another three-year tour of duty, re-mustering with the 47th's C Company on 13 October 1863.

1864

As bloody as the 1862 battle of Pocotaligo had been, it paled in comparison to the hardship William Finck and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians would experience throughout 1864. Shipped by steamer to Louisiana in February of 1864, the 47th Pennsylvanians became the only Pennsylvania regiment to fight in Union General Nathaniel Banks' Red River Campaign across Louisiana from March to May 1864.

During the Battles of Sabine Cross Roads/Mansfield and Pleasant Hill (8-9 April 1864), the 47th Pennsylvania incurred significant casualties with a number of men killed, severely wounded or captured by Confederate forces and forcibly marched 125 miles to the Confederate Army's prison camp (Camp Ford) near Tyler, Texas. Men were also felled by disease and the harsh climate.

Shipped north by steamer, the 47th Pennsylvania next participated in the fighting at Snicker's Gap under General David Hunter (mid-July 1864) before joining the Union's Army of the Shenandoah in August. Participating in legendary Union General Philip Sheridan's 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, William F. Finck and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians fought and were bloodied during the Battles of Berryville, Opequan and Fisher's Hill (September 1864) and the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia (19 October 1864).

Sometime, during his service with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, William Franklin Finck sustained gunshot wounds to both of his thighs. He was also about become a living witness to one of the most important periods in American history.

1865 - 1866

On 1 April 1865, William F. Finck was promoted to the Rank of Full Sergeant. Stationed with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers near Washington, D.C. during the spring of 1865, Sergeant Finck would have been acutely aware of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination and its aftermath. His regiment was one of those assigned to protect the nation's capital following Lincoln's murder, and newspaper accounts confirm that at least one of his fellow C Company members was given the honor of guarding the late president's funeral train. Additionally, men from the regiment were assigned to guard duties related to the imprisonment and trial of the assassination conspirators. Sergeant Finck and the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers also participated in the Union's Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, D.C. in May 1865.

Following these experiences, William Finck and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians were sent to the Deep South again in late May 1865, serving first in Savannah, Georgia and then in Charleston, South Carolina. Duties were largely Provost (military police) and Reconstruction-related (repairing railroads and other infrastructure which had been damaged or destroyed during the long war).

Finally, beginning on Christmas Day and continuing through early January 1866, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were gradually mustered out of military service, and shipped home to New York, via a stormy voyage, and then via rail to Camp Cadwalader in Philadelphia, where the men were given their official discharge papers.

On 14 January 1866, Sergeant William F. Finck was honorably discharged from the 47th Pennsylvania.

RETURN TO CIVILIAN LIFE

Following his honorable discharge from the military in January 1866, William F. Finck resumed his life in Pennsylvania, ultimately choosing to settle in Johnstown, Cambria County. Sadly, just a few months after becoming a civilian, his mother passed away at the Finck family home in Milton, Northumberland County on 9 March 1866. Interred at the Paradise Reformed Church cemetery in Northumberland County, she had been just a few months shy of her 54th birthday.

Nearly two decades later, on 13 December 1883, William Finck married Mary Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of John F. M. Johnson, an 1895 resident of McEwensville, Pennsylvania. (Note: Other sources list the marriage year as 1888.)

On 19 January 1887, William and Mary welcomed son Arthur Johnson Finck to the world; sons Anthony Romig, Frank Roland, and Walter Raymond followed on 6 July 1888, 11 November 1889, and 23 December 1891, respectively.

William's father, David Finck - who had been residing in Philadelphia with William's older brother, Anthony Romig, M.D. - would only live to see the birth of his first two grandsons. After a long full life, David Finck passed away in Philadelphia just shy of the age of 86 on 2 May 1890. He was then laid to rest with his wife in Paradise.

On 20 April 1893, William Finck and his wife, Mary, welcomed their daughter, Helen Catharine, to the Finck family home in Milton, Northumberland County. Son John Edward looked into their eyes for the first time on 29 October 1898.

LATER DISABILITY DUE TO WAR WOUNDS

A former resident of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, William F. Finck was admitted, discharged, and readmitted or transferred over more than a decade to a series of U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, beginning in 1895. These homes included the Soldiers' Homes at Hampton (Elizabeth City), Virginia; Dayton, Ohio; and Marion, Indiana.

William's wife, Mary, ws mentioned as a resident of Watsontown, Northumberland County on the ledger for the Marion Branch Home in Marion, Indiana. His physical description and other characteristics of note at age 52 were described on the ledger of the Central Branch in Dayton as: 5'8" tall, fair complexion, brown eyes, dark hair. Able to read and write. Religion: Protestant. Occupation: Insurance Agent. Next of Kin: His daughter, Miss Helen Finck, a resident of Dayton, Ohio. (The Dayton home's ledger also notes that he was widowed and that his father-in-law, John F. M. Johnson, was deceased.)

The 1900 Census indicates that was employed as a "Sawyer" in Virginia in 1900 while living at the soldiers' home in Elizabeth City. As of the 1910 Census, he resided at the Marion Branch soldiers' home in Marion, Grant County, Indiana. The U.S. National Homes for the Disabled ledger entry for this period confirms that he endured gunshot wounds to both thighs while serving with the 47th Pennsylvania, and suffered from multiple health complications afterward, including a "torpid liver" and "nervous system rundown."

Sergeant William F. Finck died on 5 December 1921, and was interred at the cemetery at the National Soldiers' Home in Dayton, Ohio.


Sources:
1. Bates' "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5."

2. Burial Ledgers, National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Army (Office of the Quartermaster General), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. National Archives.

3. Civil War Veterans' Card File, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

4. Eschbach, Edmund Rishel. "Genealogical Annals of Anthony and Barbara Eschbach." Frederick: 1902.

5. Ledgers, U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (Central Branch in Dayton, Ohio; Marion Branch in Marion, Indiana; Southern Branch in Chesapeake Township, Elizabeth City, Virginia).

6. "Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service Together with a List of Vessels Belonging to the United States," Volume 1.

7. U.S. Census (1900, 1910, 1920).

8. U.S. Civil War Pension Index (Application No.: 451160, Certificate No.: 299578, filed from Pennsylvania by the veteran on 3 June 1882).


Family Members

Spouse
Children

Inscription

SERGT.
WM. F. FINCK
CO. C
47 PA. INF.


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  • Maintained by: lesnyder1
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 648064
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt William Franklin Finck (8 Apr 1843–5 Dec 1921), Find A Grave Memorial no. 648064, citing Dayton National Cemetery, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by lesnyder1 (contributor 47451559) .