William Finkenbinder


This name is the synonym of excellence as a citizen and sterling worth as a man - a man whose career has been signalized by temperance, as applied both to habits and disposition, and who evinces in his makeup those qualities most needed in up-holding law and order in a community, thus keeping up the standard of well-regulated citizenship, and encouraging those elements which form the basis of all good society. As an agriculturist he Is thorough and skillful, and may be denominated as a man eminently successful in life. He has always wisely had a thought for the future, remembering that there comes a time when no man can work. He has thus secured a competency for his declining years, and surrounded himself and family with all the comforts of life. In religious matters he has been one of the most active members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, holding the various offices and contributing liberally to its support.

A native of Cumberland County, Pa., our subject was born near the town of Carlisle, Jan. 3, 1845. His early education was obtained by walking two and one-half miles to a log school-house, and was mostly conducted in the winter season. He remained at the home farm with his parents until reaching his majority, then determined to seek his fortune in the Great West. To this move he also persuaded his father, who sold the property, and the family started by rail for Illinois, reaching Lena, in Stephenson County, on the 21st of March, 1866. Thence not long afterward they came to this county, settling in Ward's Grove Township and William worked for his father until 1867. He then began farming for himself on rented land, but in the fall of that year became interested in a threshing machine, which he operated thereafter five years. He, however, occupied the land which he had rented until 1877. He then purchased eighty acres of his present farm, a part of which was improved, and moving upon it commenced in earnest the subjugation of the soil, and the erection of fences and buildings. He was prospered in his labors, and in 1882 purchased eighty acres adjoining-forty of which was in timber, and has cleared all of this with the exception of five acres. He has a good barn, corn-cribs, sheds, etc., and his land is amply watered from Ward's Branch. The Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railroad spoiled five acres for him. The farm is devoted to general agriculture, the raising of grain and stock, the latter consisting of Short-horn cattle, graded Clydesdale and Norman horses-of which he has about eight head, two teams being employed to operate the farm-and Poland-China swine.

Mr. Finkenbinder was first married at Lena, Ill., Dec. 14, 1869, to Miss Mary A. Bogenrief. This lady was born in Stephenson County, Aug. 6, 1847, and departed this life at her home in Ward's Grove, May. 6, 1887. Of this union there were born five children, namely: Martin L., Carrie B., John W., Philip M., and Jesse 0. They are all at home with their father. The present wife of our subject, to whom he was married in Ward's Grove, Jan. 22, 1889, was formerly Miss Henrietta Woker. She was horn in August, 1854, in Jefferson township, Stephenson County, Ill., and is the daughter of Charles F. and Henrietta (Feegie) Woker, who were natives of Germany, and are now in Stephenson County, Ill.

Mr. Finkenbinder, since a young man twenty years of age, has been a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kent, Stephenson County. He assisted in building the church, and has served as Treasurer and Secretary. He is one of the Elders of the Council, and has served as a Deacon, and Superintendent of the Sunday-school for a period of ten years. He is also Treasurer of the cemetery. Politically, be uniformly votes the Democratic ticket. He has served on the Grand and Petit Juries two terms each, and as School Director a period of eight years. He was for a time Clerk of the Board, Commissioner of Highways, and for the last eight years has been Road Supervisor. Socially, he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, Plum River Lodge at Morseville.

The parents of our subject were David and Lucy (Throne) Finkenbinder, both natives of Pennsylvania, the former born in Cumberland County and the latter in York County. The paternal grandfather, George Finkenbinder, also a native of the Keystone State, owned two farms there, and died in good circumstances, in 1857, at the age of seventy-two years. He was a member of the Lutheran Church. The maternal grandfather, Conrad Throne, also a native of Pennsylvania, owned a well-improved farm of 150 acres in Cumberland County, and was also well-to-do. He was a member of the Lutheran Church and died firm in the faith, in 1872, at the age of seventy-five years. He had married in early manhood Miss Elizabeth Long, whose father was a native of Germany, and emigrated to America about the time of the Revolutionary War, in which he served as a soldier, endured suffering and hardship, was captured by the British and shut up in an old log church, where he nearly starved to death. He survived this, however, and lived to be very old, passing away in 1847. Grandfather Throne later enlisted as a soldier in the War of 1812, but was not called upon to serve.

The father of our subject in early manhood learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed about five years, then turned his attention to the more congenial pursuits of farming and stock.raising. He came to this county in 1866 and purchased 160 acres of land in Ward's Grove Township, where he made good improvements. He is still living and owns 120 acres on another section; this latter being quite valuable. He also has thirty acres of timber. He is seventy-one years of age and a very active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Kent. He assisted largely in the erection of the church edifice, and pays $100 annually for the support of the society. Politically, he is a stanch Democrat. The mother is still spared to the partner of her youth and is now sixty-eight years old. The four children born to them are all living, our subject being the eldest. Emanuel, John, and David 0. are likewise residents of Ward's Grove Township; all farming and well-to-do.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)