Tuesday, January 1, 2013

David Finkle (1844-1915)


Eliza Jane (Pemberton) Finkle (1844-1927)
Sarah Maria (Pemberton) Morrison Jones (1851-1941)
I've been cleaning up source citations and events in my RootsMagic database, and I have been trying to blog about families as I clean them up. Previously, I wrote about the family of my 3rd great-grandfather's younger sister, Eliza Jane (Pemberton) Finkle. I alluded to the fact that I had done some additional research on Eliza's husband, David. This post is going to be about the research I've done on David's origins.

David and Eliza were married on 27 Apr 1865 in Clay Township, St. Clair, Michigan.

St. Clair County, Michigan, Marriage Book 2: 476, Fincle-Pemberton, 1865; FHL microfilm 976,870.
Recorded July 4th 1865
Geo. F. Collins, Clerk
State of Michigan
St. Clair County
I hereby certify that on the 27th day of April 1865, at Clay, I did join in marriage, David Fincle of this township of Clay aged 20 years, and Eliza Pemberton of the same place aged 19 years, in presence of two witnesses (to wit) Sylvester Sumners and Isaac Combs of Clay, St. Clair County Mich.
Isaac Klein
Justice of the Peace

According to the marriage record, David was 20 and Eliza was 19. This would suggest a birth date April 1844 and April 1845 for David. Witnesses were Sylvester Sumners and Isaac Coombs. Isaac Coombs was a farmer and the stepfather of Eliza's future brother-in-law, Joseph Phelps. Sylvester was a laborer who was born about 1820 in New York (1870 census - Clay, St. Clair, Michigan). I don't know of any relation between Sylvester and David or Sylvester and Eliza. The marriage was performed by Isaac Klein, Justice of the Peace.

When I was at the courthouse in St. Clair County in 2007, I found David's death record. Below is a transcription:

Decedent: David Finkel
Date of death: 1 Apr 1915
Place of death: Pt. Huron
Sex: M
Race: W
Marital Status: Married
Age: 70 y, 5 m, 1 d
Cause of death: Mitral Insufficiency
Birthplace: Mich.
Occupation: Retired
Father: John Finkel
Father's birthplace: Holland
Mother: Don't know
Mother's birthplace: Don't know
 Source: St. Clair County, Michigan, Death Book 5: 93, David Finkel, 1915; County Clerk, Port Huron.

David died from mitral insufficiency on 01 Apr 1915 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan. According to the death record, he was 70 years, 5 months, and 1 day at the time of his death. This would put his date of birth as 31 Oct 1844. His birthplace is given as Michigan. His father is listed as John Finkel, who was born in Holland. His mother's name and birthplace was not known.

I've also found his state death record online at the Seeking Michigan website. It has slightly different information than the county register. His age at death is the same, but it states his birth date as 10 Oct 1844. It gives his place of death as 1733 Stone St. in Port Huron. From WWI draft registrations of David's sons, we know this was the family home two years later in 1917. He was buried 03 Apr 1915 at Lakeside Cemetery in Port Huron. His  name is actually spelled "Finkle" rather than "Finkel" on the sate version of the death certificate. The informant was Mrs. David Finkle of Port Huron, Mich. His occupation is given as Ret. Farmer.

After finding his death record, I decided to search for David in the census records in 1850 and 1860, when he should have appeared in the household of his parents

I found a David Finkle, age 15, in 1860 living with David and Jenny Combs in Clay Township. He was of the right age to be my David Finkle. David Combs was an 82-year-old farmer who was born in Vermont. His wife, Jenny, was 80 years old and was also born in Vermont. Obviously, David and Jenny were too old to be his parents, and they did not share his surname. Could they be his maternal grandparents? Perhaps he was named after his grandfather. At this point, I started to wonder if David Combs had any relation to Isaac Coombs, the witness to David Finkle's marriage record and the stepfather of his wife's brother-in-law, Joseph Phelps. Oh, and did I mention that my 3rd great-grandfather, John Pemberton, married a woman named Mary Ann Coombs in 1865?

I did not immediately find a David Finkle in the 1850 census, but I did find Isaac Combs in the 1870 census.  

Isaac and his wife, Mary A. Combs, were living in Clay Township. Isaac, a farmer, was age 60 and was listed as born in Maine. Mary was age 61 and was listed as born in England. Also in the household was Janette Combs, age 90, born in Vermont. Was Janette the same person as Jenny Combs in 1860? Her age and birthplace match exactly. Furthermore, I cannot seem to find David and Jenny Combs in 1870. Was Janette the mother of Isaac? If Janette was the same person as Jenny, and she was Isaac's mother and David Finkle's maternal grandmother, then this means that David Finkle's mother and Isaac Combs were siblings.

As I was combing the marriage records for St. Clair County on microfilm at the local Family History Center, I came across a record for a John Finkle, age 34 of Clyde Township, and Nancy H. Comb, age 22 of Clay Township. 

They were married 15 Nov 1840 in Clyde at the home of David Donaldson. The witnesses were David and Clarissa Donaldson. Could these be David Finkle's parents? They were married just four years before his birth. I have not found John and Nancy in any census records.

I also found Isaac Combs' death record at FamilySearch.org. 

Date of death: May 5, 1879
Name: Isaac Coombs
Sex: Male
Race: White
Marital Status: Married
Age: 71
Place of death: Clay
Cause of death: Old Age and General Debility
Place of birth: Maine
Occupation: Farmer
Father: Unknown
Mother: Unknown
Parents' Residence: Unknown
Date of record: May 25, 1880
Unfortunately, it does not list his mother or father.

I eventually found a David "Coon" living in Clay Township in 1850 with David and Jenett "Coon."

He was age 5 and born in Michigan. This is in line with the age and birthplace of my David Finkle. The elder David Coon was listed as age 72 and born in Massachusetts. This is in line with the age of the David Combs, age 82, in 1860. His birthplace in 1860 was given as Maine, but at one point, Maine was part of Massachusetts. Jenett is listed as age 72, just two years off from Jenny Combs in 1860 and Janette Combs in 1870. Jenett's birthplace is given as Vermont. There is a Marie Coon, age 16, born in New York, also in the household. Perhaps this is another grandchild of David and Janette/Jenny Combs.

In 1840, I found a David Coombs living in Clay Township.

In the household is one male age 60-69 and one male age 20-29. There is one female age 20-29 and one female age 60-69. Presumable the older male and female are David and Jenny/Janette. Could the female age 20-29 be Nancy H. Comb? She was 22 years old in November 1840 when she married John Finkle. 

I need to research in probate records in St. Clair County to see if John Finkle or David Combs left a will. Perhaps the will or probate file would list David Finkle's relationship to the Combs family. I also need to look at land records for John and David. To sum up my research thus far:

  • David Finkle married Eliza Pemberton 27 Apr 1865 in Clay Township.
  • Isaac Coombs witnessed the marriage of David Finkle and Eliza Pemberton.
  • David Finkle died 01 Apr 1915 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.
  • David's date of birth on his death certificate is stated as 10 Oct 1844, but calculates to be 31 Oct 1844 based on his age at death.
  • David was likely born in Michigan. 
  • David's father is listed as John Finkle, born in Holland, on his death certificate.
  • David Finkle, age 15, lived with David and Jenny Combs in Clay Township in 1860.
  • David and Jenny are too old to be David's parents. Could be grandparents.
  • Janette Combs was living with Isaac Combs in 1870. She was the same age and had the same birthplace as Jenny Combs in 1860. 
  • David "Coon," age 5, lived with David and Jenett Coon in 1850 in Clay Township. This is likely David Finkle enumerated with the wrong surname.
  • John Finkle, age 34 of Clyde, married Nancy H. Comb, age 22 of Clay, 15 Nov 1840 in Clyde. Have not found them in any census record from 1850 onward.
  • There is a woman age 20-29 in the household of David Coombs in Clay Township in the 1840 census. Could be Nancy.
If anyone has further suggestions of where to take this research, please let me know.

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