52 Ancestors, Week 46: John William Finkbiner

Three generations:  JW Finkbiner, his son Robertson
and grandson Bayly, with their dog Sam Johnson in about 1912

John Willam Finkbiner was born in July 1843 in East Vincent, Pennsylvania, the 3rd son of Jacob Henry Finkbiner and Margaret Rambo.

JW enlisted on 18 Jul 1864 for 100 days as a Corporal in the Pennsylvania 194th Infantry Regiment, Company D. He mustered out on 06 Nov 1864 at Harrisburg, PA.  He also served in the Pennsylvania 26th Regiment, Company A. (dates unknown)

In 1870, JW was 27 and living at home on the farm with his parents, Jacob and Margaret and his sister Susan (14).

On 29 May 1873, JW (29) married Martha Eveline Hamilton (20).  She was born Nov 1852.

In 1880, John William was a minister in Middletown, PA, and he is enumerated along with his wife Martha and two kids: Hellen (3) Hamilton (8 months)

In about 1894, the family came to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Martha E. Hamilton Finkbiner lungs needed a higher climate, so the family moved from Maryland. The children were: oldest son, Bayly, then Robertson, then Nilson. Their father, Rev. John Wm. Finkbiner was a Lutheran Minister in Cumberland, Maryland at the time and became Minister of the Lutheran Church at Colorado Springs.      --Letter was written by Gertrude B Finkbiner, Fall of 1963

The census of 9 June 1900, in Colorado Springs, shows them renting a home at 309 E Platte Ave, and lists the children:

  • Bayly H (20), born Feb 1879
  • Robertson (18), born Oct 1881
  • Nilson (11), born June 1888

Martha said that she is the mother of 6 children, only 3 living.  One of them must have been little Hellen who was enumerated in the 1880 census.  We don’t know who the other two may have been.

The census of 1910 and 1920, in Colorado Springs, shows them owning their home at 315 E Platte Ave.  Today on Google Earth, there is a church there, but it doesn't look that old.

Martha Hamilton Finkbiner with grandson Bayly in about 1910

Martha (71) died in early 1923.

From a story printed in The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), 15 March 1923:


Sister of John B. Hamilton, Gettysburg, Passed Away
John B. Hamilton, of North Washington Street, has just received word of the death of his sister, Mrs. Martha Hamilton Finkbiner, of Cheyenne, Wyoming. She was born in Butler Township, this county, the daughter of William S. and Eveline Hamilton.

She is survived by her husband, the Rev. J.W. Finkbiner, and three sons, Nilson, of Salem, Oregon; Bayly of Cheyenne; and Robertson, of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. A sister, Mrs. Jerry Hummer, of Mummasburg, and a brother, John B. Hamilton, of Gettysburg, also survive. Burial was at Cheyenne.

On 11 Jul 1923, JW (age 80) died in Medicine Bow, WY, and was buried in Cheyenne.

Federal Census:  1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
Civil War Pension Index


  1. It's amazing and sad that so many young men like John William Finkbiner have to start their young adult lives by leaving home to go fight a war somewhere ... in his case, the Civil War.


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